Self-care: Looking after your mental health
Having good mental health helps us relax, achieve our goals and enjoy our lives more. Whether you’re struggling with your mental health right now or not, it’s always a good idea to take care of your wellbeing.
The good news is there are loads of things you can do to keep yourself mentally healthy.
Look after your body to help your mind
Our bodies and minds are connected, and taking care of our physical health puts us in a much better place to deal with life’s challenges.
Making sure you get enough sleep is a good place to start. Try reading or listening to music before bed, instead of scrolling on your phone, to help you wind down.
Exercising regularly releases feel-good chemicals and helps your body to use up any extra energy if you’re feeling anxious.
What you eat matters, too. There’s nothing wrong with the odd treat, but getting plenty of fresh fruit and veg into your diet and limiting the amount of sweets, fizzy drinks and caffeine you have will help you feel good from the inside out.
Take care of yourself on social media
Social media can be great for connecting with friends, family and like-minded people, but sometimes it can play havoc with our mental health.
If you find yourself scrolling endlessly, or feeling overwhelmed, angry or unhappy when you put your phone down, there are things you can do to make social media work better for you.
Next time you’re scrolling through Instagram or TikTok, pay attention to how you feel when you see certain posts. Remember - you’re in control. Unfollow or mute any accounts you notice are making you feel anxious or bad about yourself.
Avoid getting caught up in endless scrolling. When you pick up your phone to go on social media, decide how long you want to scroll for and stick to it.
Set yourself a time to log-off at night, and try to allow an hour with no social media before bedtime. This will make sure your mind has time to wind down before bed, and set you up for a good night’s sleep.
Keep a journal
Journalling means keeping a record of your thoughts and feelings in writing.
Sometimes just getting things out of your head can help you feel less overwhelmed. Journalling can also help you to learn more about what makes you feel happy, sad and anxious.
Understanding these patterns is a great first step to feeling more in control of your mind and your feelings.
You can simply use a pen and paper to write things down.
Be more mindful
Paying more attention to the present moment – to what’s happening around you, and how you’re thinking and feeling, – can help your mental wellbeing. This is known as mindfulness.
Reminding yourself to notice your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the world around you is the first step to mindfulness.
There are lots of ways to practice being mindful. Yoga, meditation and tai chi are just some of them.