Top tips for looking after your mental health
World Mental Health Day takes place on 10th October every year. It’s a chance for us all to reflect on our own mental health, learn about mental health issues, and understand the importance of reaching out for help if we need it.
The modern world and our busy lives can sometimes mean that we neglect our own wellbeing and don’t take care of ourselves in the way we should. This can mean that our mental health can suffer. Here, we explore some of the warning signs that suggest you may need to look after your mental health more, and provide top tips on how you can care for your mental wellbeing.
Signs that you need to take more care of yourself
If you find that you’re experiencing emotional problems that are having an impact on your wellbeing and your day-to-day life, this might be a sign that you need to look after your mental health more.
You may find that you are:
- Generally feeling overwhelmed with everything
- Feeling anxious and worried all the time
- Feeling as though you’re unable to ‘switch off’ from your thoughts, and overthinking in a lot of situations
- Feeling low and more tearful than usual
- Getting angry over small issues
- Struggling to regulate your emotions
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Feeling tired all the time
- Finding that your appetite has increased or decreased
- Not wanting to socialise with other people
- Uninterested in activities or hobbies you used to enjoy
- Struggling to concentrate or feel motivated at work, university or school
- Feeling hopeless about the future
- Experiencing unexplained physical issues such as aches and pains, or gastrointestinal problems
These symptoms may have started for no clear reason, or it may be that you’ve recently gone through something stressful and this is affecting how you’re feeling at the moment. Alternatively, these may all be signs of an existing mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, stress or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Whatever the cause, if these issues are affecting your daily life, it’s really important that you take steps to look after your wellbeing and get back on track.
Top tips for caring for your mental wellbeing
Here, we have put together some tips on how you can look after your mental health on a daily basis. These can help if you’re experiencing any of the negative feelings mentioned above, and can also help you to maintain your mental wellbeing moving forwards.
Commit to it
- Acknowledge the importance of focusing on your wellbeing – by acknowledging that you need to look after yourself better, you’ll be able to commit to putting plans in place to make this happen. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health and should be a priority for everyone
Look after yourself physically to feel good mentally
- Try and exercise every day - exercise boosts the ‘happy chemicals’ in the brain which helps to improve your mood. It’s important that you try to do some form of exercise every day if you can. This doesn’t have to be a lot - even walking for a few minutes can help. If this can happen outside within nature and the fresh air, that’s even better!
- Eat healthily and try not to overeat – try to eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water every day. It can be easy to fall into the trap of eating junk food or ‘comfort eating’, when we’re not feeling ourselves, but a healthy diet can help our mind and mood in lots of ways
- Try to get enough sleep – most adults need seven or more hours of sleep each night. If you’re not getting this amount of sleep, it can have a detrimental impact on your mood and wellbeing. However, there are steps you can take if you’re struggling:
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even at the weekend
- Remove distractions and electronics such as your phone, tablet and the TV from your bedroom
- Avoid napping during the day if you can
- Look after your appearance and hygiene – small things like having a shower, brushing your teeth and getting dressed might not seem that important, but they can make you feel so much more positive on a daily basis
Connect with others
- Speak to a family member or a friend – it’s important to open up to someone you trust if you’re struggling with your mental wellbeing. They’ll be able to support you to feel better and by keeping lines of communication open, you’ll have someone to go to in the future if you ever need a boost to your mental health. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved
- Get yourself ‘out there’ – doing something new can be a great way to increase your confidence, motivation and overall sense of wellbeing. You could try joining a group or a club based on something you’ve always wanted to try or something you enjoy. For example, you could join a book club, a volunteering organisation or you could even learn to play a musical instrument. Having a hobby can give you purpose, allows you to meet new people and can help break negative thought patterns that might be holding you back – all of which can improve your mental health
Build self-care into your life
- Practise positivity – a great way to boost your mental wellbeing on a daily basis is to write down three positive things about your life every night before going to bed and reflect on these when you wake up in the morning
- Discover what brings you joy – try to include as many of the things that make you happy (these could be people, places, activities or pets) in your daily life. Having something to look forward to during the day, no matter how small, can do wonders for your mental health
- Treat yourself – make sure you take the time out to do things for yourself. These should be things you enjoy, such as reading your favourite book, listening to some music, or having a hot bath
Even though these tips can help you to look after your mental wellbeing in your daily life, if you find that you’re struggling a lot of the time or your negative feelings are becoming worse, it may be that you need professional support.
Our Priory Aspris Wellbeing Centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are able to help you to address your mental health concerns and take steps towards a full and lasting recovery. You don’t have to suffer in silence; help is available.