In England, 1 in 6 people will report experiencing a mental health problem in a week, according to Mind. Run by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week takes place this week (13-19 May). It’s main aim is to raise awareness of mental well-being and mental health problems.
Whilst it’s important to stay aware of mental health (both ours and others) from week to week, this week in particular helps get everyone involved and gets people talking.
So what can you do to take care of your mental health?
- Talk about it.
The hardest one, which is why I’ve chosen to put it at the top of the list. Talking to a close friend, family member or partner can really take the strain off yourself. Not only will it make you feel better but it can also open you up to options you didn’t realise were available to get the relevant help and support.
Bath Mind provides several wellbeing groups for all to get involved in. Two of these include Friends in Need and Open Opportunities, which I’ve written about in the past. Be sure to check out their website for more information on other groups.
2. Move Your Mood.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the word “exercise” as a form of advice for tackling mental health problems. From personal experience I know this can be frustrating as sometimes leaving the house can be an issue in itself. But, a new study being published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal has shown going for walks can have great benefits on your mental health.
3. Do a little of what you love.
Mental health problems can make it difficult to do day-to-day tasks let alone that of which you enjoy doing. But making time to do what you enjoy can improve mental health and well-being. According to Head to Health research has shown “people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, and depression”. Hobbies that enable you to get out and about can also improve your mood.
4. Don’t isolate yourself.
The most tempting thing to do but essentially the worst thing you can do for your mental health. A Time to Change campaigner, Denise Martin, recently told me the following – “human beings are social beings”. And it’s the ultimate truth. We aren’t designed to function solely on our own, we need that human interaction daily if possible. An article by The New York Times revealed that human interaction “helps to reduce the damaging effects of stress”
5. Pen and paper are your friend.
Whether you need to write a to-do list or pour thoughts from mind onto paper, writing it out to get it out works wonders. As somebody who struggles with anxiety I’ve certainly found this to be my best coping mechanism. When times have been tough my to-do’s have consisted of “eat something” or “leave the flat for 10 minutes” and there is absolutely no shame in that.
Whatever goes on to that piece of paper doesn’t have to be seen by anybody else unless you choose to do so. Forget writing sentences that make sense and simply write whatever comes to mind. I promise you it helps.
Ciao for now x