So, we have entered a new decade! I can hardly believe it is 2020. Where has the time gone? As usual, social media is flooded with new year resolutions ranging from weight loss to walking the dog more. I wonder how many people put pressure on themselves to stick to resolutions that are never really achievable? With this in mind, I thought I would put together a few basic resolutions that will help improve your overall mental health. After all, if our mental health is good, then the rest of our life will also improve. It is thought that over 70% of UK adults feel so overwhelmed with stress at any one time that they feel they cannot cope. This inability to cope can spiral into anxiety and depression very quickly, so it is important to address the issues before they become out of control.
1 EAT WELL – A healthy diet is crucial for good mental health. Yes, it’s OK every now and then to have treats (including that piece of cake!) but try limit your sugar intake. Food can affect our mood and having a good supply of the right nutrients and water can help stabilize our mental health.
2 EXERCISE – Physical activity is a proven way of improving our mental health. Movement and exercise reduces stress and raises our level of endorphins which subsequently raises our mood. There are many ways of exercising such as walking the dog, tennis and joining the gym. Perhaps find a new form of exercise that you haven’t tried before? Personally, I love the gym as I enjoy the group classes as it gives me the feeling that I am part of a community. For more information on this please click here to read a previous blog post I wrote.
3 RELAX – At this time of year we are all rushing back to work and within no time we are back in the habit of letting work take over our life. It is really important not to let work become the most important thing in your life. Take time away from work at regular intervals, even if it is just an afternoon. I know for many people this will be a new way of thinking but it is worth it. Think LIFE-WORK balance, NOT work-life balance!
4 LISTEN TO YOUR BODY – Our body and mind are very clever in letting us know when they are tired or worn out. Listen to those aches and pains as they are trying to tell you something. Listen to your irritability with others as that may be your cue that you are overdoing it. Slow things down and take time out when your body tells you to do so.
5 SLEEP – Sleep is very important to refresh our body and mind but thousands of people have poor sleep. Try get into the habit of relaxing on a evening instead of working on your lap top. Turn your phone off so you are not distracted by social media or other things that stress you out. Try get into bed at a reasonable time and read a good book till you fall asleep. The ideal sleep time is around 7-8 hours so try and work your evening to allow for this.
6 – Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself. It is easy to look around at others and think they have the perfect life. They don’t! You are you and you can only do so much. Don’t aspire to be like others you see on social media. This will only lower your mood and incite feelings of inadequacy. If you have a bad day then that is fine. It really is OK to have a bad day. Just accept it for what it is and move on. You are wonderful as you are!
So, there are just a few simple tips to help you get through the first few weeks of January. If you are struggling with mental health issues then please seek help. There is lots of help out there and I promise you, you can feel better. I understand from personal experience how poor mental health can really affect us. Please don’t ever feel like you are alone. In the first instance speak to a friend or your GP. Don’t forget the Samaritans are there 24/7 and will always provide a listening ear. Nothing is EVER too much for them.
I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2020!
Until next time dear friends