8 Habits to Help Your Mental Health
Between New Year’s resolutions and the start of Lent there is a lot of talk of
breaking bad habits and ‘giving things up’. But feeling like we are depriving or punishing ourselves can be hard on our mental health.
It takes the same amount of time to create a habit as to break one, so why not try something new and use this time as an opportunity to be more mindful of our wellbeing?
Here are some healthy habits to help you mind your mental health that you can start right now:
1. Restructure your bedtime routine
We often forget about the connection between sleep and our mental health, but feeling well rested improves our ability to cope with everyday stresses. Whether it be limiting screen time before bed, taking the time to wind down, or a little lavender on your pillow, small changes to your bedtime routine can make a huge difference. Read more about how you can improve your bed-time routine here.
2. Be mindful
Taking time out of our busy day to be in the moment can really help ground us and help us to focus. Meditation, mindfulness and breathing exercises can also be helpful when we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Another plus is that you can practice anywhere – and for as little or as much time as you have. There are lots of free apps which you can find in our Toolbox.
3. Move more
We all know physical activity is important for our physical health, but it can make such a huge difference to maintaining positive mental health too. In fact, just 30 minutes, three times a week can have huge mental health benefits and can be a great reliever of stress. Find out more about the impact exercise can have and tips to get started here.
4. Start a gratitude diary
When life gets stressful, or we are feeling down, we sometimes forget to stop and smell the roses. Jotting down three positive things that happened in your day – or a short list of things that you are thankful for – can really help us lift our mood. It helps us to notice and appreciate positive little moments or interactions throughout the day. We don’t have life-changing events every day, but noticing the feeling of sunshine on your face, enjoying the book you are reading or a smile from a stranger can really change how we feel about our day.
5. Connect with your support network
In wintertime, or when we are feeling down, it can be all too tempting to hibernate with Netflix and a bag of cookies. But staying connected to people we care about is so important for our mental health. A cup of tea and a chat with a friend or family member (even over FaceTime, if it really is too cold out!) can help us to feel connected and supported.
6. Compliment yourself
Write down something every day that you like about yourself. Maybe you achieved something you are proud of – even if it’s just managing to get out of the house, or getting through a stressful day. Maybe you are proud of yourself for doing some self-care. In a world where we are all our own harshest critics, sometimes we have to learn how to be our own cheerleader. You can do it!
7. Keep a mood diary
Keeping a record of how we are feeling can really help us to understand our own mental health – what helps us and what isn’t helpful. Mental health and self-care is different for everyone. It’s important to learn – and to identify – what works for you.
8. Reach Out
We all need a little extra support from time to time. If you are feeling a little stressed, down or just not yourself, reach out to someone. You don’t have to deal with everything all on your own, and sometimes even just saying it out loud can help relieve tension. Find out more about reaching out to friends and family or a professional.