Mental health for life, not just for Christmas
Mental health, just like physical health, needs looking after all year round.
Training for that 10 K that one summer and then hanging up your runners does not make you fit for life, sorry! Health needs constant maintenance.
Equally, you need to actively put some time and energy into working on your sense of wellbeing, throughout the year.
How can I work on my mental health?
There are a range of ways you can mind your mental health and it’s not just about talking to someone when things are getting you down. I
t’s about taking measures regularly so you can manage stressful situations, get involved in things you enjoy and have a good sense of self-esteem.
Regular exercise and eat well
We’re not saying it will cure everything, or replace other ways of managing mental health problems but looking after yourself physically does go a long way to building your resilience.
Sleep, sleep, sleep
How many times a day do you, or someone you know say “I’m wrecked!”. There’s a lot going on these days to damage our sleep, what with smartphones, Netflix and gaming. Not getting enough quality sleep hinders our concentration and sense of perspective.
Check out if you are getting enough sleep.
Identify your trigger points
If there are situations that cause you to get angry or upset, try to work out what it is exactly that causes you to feel this way. Only then can you work out some solutions or coping mechanisms.
Is it a friend making the same joke at your expense, over and over? If you bring it up with them, in a controlled way when you’re not angry or upset, by saying something like “Listen, it really bothers me that you won’t let that one go…” They may not have realised and drop it.
If it’s a case where you have expectations of someone and you consistently feel let down by them, try to work out if these are reasonable and can they be communicated.
Take a look at problem solving for more on this, but sometimes just identifying what it is that upsets or annoys you, means you look at it differently.
Write stuff down
To help identify things that upset and you and why, get in the habit of writing stuff down. Trying to formulate sentences to explain how and why something annoys can really shine a light on what the real issue is.
Equally, if you get in the habit of writing down the good stuff too, what you’re grateful for, you’ll really appreciate the little things.
Be social, the way you want to
There’s a lot of stuff on the internet about introverts and extroverts, but really nothing is that black and white. We all have situations where we feel most comfortable and ones where we don’t and they can change depending on our mood and the environment.
It is important to be social though, in the way you want. If old enough to being going to pubs or night clubs, and they’re not you’re thing, it doesn’t mean you should be hermit. Although it can feel like it in this country sometimes.
Try to find ways to connect and spend time with others, like going for walks, meeting for coffee, joining a sports club, gym or a youth club, starting a book/photography/baking/crafts club.
If you don’t being in large groups, find activities where you can minimise that. Bear in mind though, if you do like being in large groups, and thrive on night life, make sure to actually take time out on your own too.
This is not a finite list. Just a guide to activities you should make a habit of to look after your mental health and wellbeing, for life and not just for Christmas.