As this is Mental Health Awareness week, here are our top tips for staying well:
1. Socialise and connect with others.
Develop and maintain strong relationships with people around you who will support and enrich your life. The quality of our personal relationships has a great effect on our wellbeing. Putting time and effort into building strong relationships can bring great rewards.
2. Take time to enjoy life.
Set aside some ‘me’ time for activities, hobbies and projects you enjoy. Do a crossword; take a walk in your local park; read a book; sew a quilt; draw pictures; play with your pets – whatever takes your fancy.
3. Participate and share interests.
Join a club or group of people who share your interests. Being part of a group of people with a common interest provides a sense of belonging and is good for your mental health. Join a sports club; a band; an evening walking group; a dance class; a theatre or choir group. Find the group that’s just right for you.
4. Contribute to your community.
Volunteer your time for a cause or issue that you care about. Help out a neighbour, work in a community garden or do something nice for a friend. There are many great ways to contribute that can help you feel good about yourself and your place in the world. An effort to improve the lives of others is sure to improve your life too.
5. Take care of yourself.
Be active and eat well – these help maintain a healthy body; you may not know but physical and mental health are closely linked. It’s easier to feel good about life if your body feels good.
6. Challenge yourself.
Learn a new skill or take on a challenge to meet a goal. You could commit to a fitness goal or learn to cook a new recipe. Learning improves your mental fitness, while striving to meet your own goals builds skills and confidence and gives you a sense of progress and achievement.
7. Deal with stress.
Be aware of what triggers your stress and how you react. You may be able to avoid some of the triggers and learn to prepare for or manage others. A balanced lifestyle can help you manage stress better. If you have trouble winding down, you may find that relaxation breathing, yoga or meditation can help.
8. Rest and refresh.
Get plenty of sleep. Keep a regular bedtime routine each day and practice good habits to get better sleep. Sleep restores both your mind and body.
9. Live in the present.
Take a moment to notice each of your senses each day. Simply ‘be’ in the moment – feel the sun and wind on your face and notice the air you are breathing.
10. Ask for help.
Everyone’s life journey has bumpy bits and the people around you can help. Don’t be afraid to ask.