How to look after your mental health

Our mental wellbeing is just as important as our physical health, so it’s important that we all take steps to make sure we take good care of it.

That’s why as part of Mental Health Awareness week, we’re providing our readers with five practical and simple ways to look after their mental health.

Making these small changes to how you live won’t take up lots of time or cost a small fortune. They are designed so that anyone can follow them. Why not start today?

1. Talk, talk, talk!

We know it’s often not easy to talk to other when you feel troubled, but it really does help. And it isn’t a sign of weakness. It takes courage to let others know when you’re struggling, and you’ll feel much better for it.

Rather than keeping things to yourself, confide in someone close to you. Just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone.

And it works both ways. If you open up, it might encourage others to do the same.

2. Get active

Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. It is also proven to be great for mental wellbeing, helping to reduce anxiety and stress, combatting low mood and increasing self-esteem.

And the great news is you don’t need to start marathon training to reap the benefits. Low intensity exercise works great to. The most important thing to consider is finding something you enjoy, whether that’s going for a walk or taking up a new sport or hobby.

3. Quality sleep

It’s widely acknowledged that sleep plays a large role in a person’s mental wellbeing. After all, there’s a reason it’s said that someone in a bad mood “woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

Sleep is closely connected to mental health and has demonstrated links to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other conditions.

There are simple ways to improve your sleep which anybody can do. These include maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding alcohol, caffeine and tobacco in the evening and dimming lights as you begin to unwind.

Also, refrain from using electronic devices such as mobiles and tablets for an hour before bed.

4. Discard negative relationships

Negative relationships are highly detrimental to a person’s mental health. Whether with a partner, friend or family, it’s important that you invest your time in people that make you feel good about yourself and add value to your life.

Being in relationships where you are judged, put down or dismissed can impact your mood, self-esteem and ultimately make you anxious or depressed.

Try to remedy relationships where possible, but if you feel any of the above when you spend time with someone, it may be time to draw a line and move on.

5. Learn a new skill

Every day provides the opportunity to do something different or learn something.

Knowledge fuels self-confidence. Research has proven that lifelong learning, whether acquiring a skill like learning a new language or taking up an activity like bird watching or a pastime like pottery, can greatly improve your mental wellbeing as it adds meaning to life.

It also allows you to escape any worries or concerns you may have, and focus all your attention on something new and something you enjoy.

Set yourself a challenge, no matter how big or small.