Most of us are pretty clued up about physical health. We know what we should do to keep ourselves fit and healthy (whether or not we actually do it is another story, but you get what I’m saying), but what about looking after our mental health?
Some people will be reading this and thinking, “I don’t have a mental illness I don’t need to worry about that”, and to those people I want to say… oh honey, no.
We ALL have mental health and we ALL need to look after it.
Mental health doesn’t just cover conditions or ‘disorders’, it covers stress, loneliness, grief, feeling anxious, low self-confidence…. everything.
After experiencing my own mental health issues and working at the Counselling Directory for years, I’ve learnt a huge amount. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt though is probably that looking after ourselves and practicing self-care is key to helping prevent small concerns turning into all-consuming crises.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. This is why I’m so keen to talk about both aspects in the ‘health‘ category of Blue Jay. To feel well and ‘healthy’ in life, we must look at the whole picture.
OK, so now I’ve lectured you all about the importance of mental health – how can we actually go about looking after it?
Below are a few things that may help. Just remember though, we’re all beautiful unique little snowflakes, so what works for me may not work for you. Take these suggestions as inspiration and see how you get on.
Looking after your mental health:
simple self-care practices
- Check in with yourself. So often we don’t realise something is wrong until we have a physical symptom. If I’m suffering from a lot of headaches, it’s a sign that I’m stressed (or hungry… but that’s basically the same as stressed, right?). So rather than waiting for your body to say ‘hey, something aint right here’, try to check in with yourself every now and then. How are you feeling? What’s going right? What’s going wrong? What do you need?
- Spend some quality time with you. As great as it is to be social, sometimes we all need a little alone time to process things. Why not have a night in to read your favourite book? Or go to the cinema solo to see that film your boyfriend isn’t interested in (and get all the popcorn).
- Spend some quality time with others. Yeah, this is (contradictorily) important too. Sometimes when we’re feeling a bit off we shy away from others. If you’re feeling isolated call a friend and go for coffee. Have a chat and be honest about your feelings. You’ll be surprised how much a good chat can help.
- Journal. I know, I always harp on about this, but I honestly think it does wonders for your mental health. Note down when things aren’t feeling right and try to spot any patterns, or just jot down some things you’re grateful for.
- Surround yourself with positivity. Follow inspirational people on social media, read uplifting magazines, watch a film that makes you smile. The world can be a scary place, sometimes we need to protect ourselves.
- Reach out. Sometimes, we simply need an extra hand of support. This could be from a family member, a friend, someone on an online forum or a counsellor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it is a testament to your strength and courage.
Bonus tip – surround yourself with cute cats and pretty plants to remind yourself life is good.
Nothing ground-breaking here I know, but it’s incredible how often we let our mental health fall off our priority list.
Let’s pick that bad boy up and put it to the top.