Today we are celebrating World Mental Health Day!
We all have mental health, just as we have physical health. And, just like physical health, our mental health goes through ups and downs.
We all know the kinds of simple, daily things we need to do to maintain good physical health: getting enough sleep, eating healthily, brushing our teeth. It can be easy to forget that there are also simple daily things we can do to maintain good mental health and wellbeing!
It’s a comfort to remember that even the simplest things can help us to stay well in the long-term. Give some of these a try, or check out the Every Mind Matters ‘Your Mind Plan’ tool below, and let the ideas become as routine as brushing your teeth.
1. Start the day well
Give yourself enough time in the morning to get ready for the day ahead without being in a rush. Take time to enjoy your breakfast and treat it as a meal, rather than just ‘fuel’ for the day!
2. Write worries down
When you’re at home and you find yourself becoming stressed about something you cannot do anything about in that moment (such as a work meeting, an exam result, or a doctor’s appointment), try writing it down, then putting the paper to one side out of the way.
There is nothing you can do about it in that moment, so choose to spend your time positively rather than sinking into unproductive worry.
3. Give yourself a break
It can be tempting to work through your lunch break if things are busy at work and you are feeling under pressure. If you regularly skip your break, it can have a cumulative negative effect on your mental health (and also make you less productive!).
Make sure you take a proper break during your working day, even if only for a short time. You could try going for a walk, to take yourself away from your workspace and make your break clearly defined. Spending even just two hours per week in green spaces is shown to have huge benefits for our mental health.
You could also try having a phone-free break – chat to someone, read a book, or just sit back to consciously enjoy eating your lunch.
Make sure you keep moving at intervals throughout the day; try going to speak to a colleague rather than sending an email, or offer to do the office tea round!
4. Get some shut-eye
Your brain is an association machine, so make sure you use your bedroom for rest and sleeping! Avoid doing work, watching TV, or using your phone in bed; give yourself proper darkness and quiet for sleep.
TV and mobile phone screens use a ‘blue light’ which suppresses the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, so it’s a good idea to turn off your phone’s blue light, or switch it to ‘Night Shift’, when you go to bed (this can be done in the phone’s display settings). You could also switch it to aeroplane mode, to avoid getting distracting notifications through the night.
Need more support?
These tips are useful for helping us to stay well, but if you are finding it hard to cope day-to-day, it’s really important that you reach out – talk to those around you about how you are feeling and ask for support.
You can also refer yourself into a free talking therapy service. Our sister organisation, Insight Healthcare, provides free talking therapies across the country on behalf of the NHS: click here to find our talking therapy service contact details.
No one has to struggle on alone – we are here to make sure they don’t.