• Mental Health Matters

May 12, 2021

Top 10 Mental Health Tips 

This week is mental health awareness week and while our mental health & wellbeing is always incredibly important, never more so than today after over a year of living in a pandemic and lockdowns and adapting to a life that has been anything but 'normal'.

What is Mental Health?

Mental Health is important for everyone.  Whether you call it 'mental health' or  ‘emotional health’ and well-being .. it is just as important as our physical health.  In short, it refers to the thoughts we think or feelings we are experiencing and becoming aware of these so that we can identify when they are not serving us and need some attention.  

Our mental health can change depending on the circumstances we are in at  different stages of our lives.

We all experience times when we feel down, fearful, stressed or angry.  Most of the time these feelings pass but sometimes they can become a more serious problem and we may find ourselves stuck in a negative spiral.

As individuals, we are all different so everyone will be affected by life events in a different way, depending on what they are already juggling in their lives.

 

This year the theme is 'Nature' and how being in nature can be a really great way to help us all move towards positive mental health and wellness. 

Even if we feel tired, unmotivated and have little desire to get out, the effort made is always worth the results as nature is such a wonderful source of calm and well-being. 

Here we have identified a list of 10 Top Tips to look after your Mental Health - not just this week, but always.  Life today is incredibly stressful with far more challenges that we can imagine.  Increasing the amount of effort your put into maintaining your mental health is something we all benefit from.  It also teaches those around us to follow our example and everyone benefits.

Top 10 Tips to Boost Your Mental Health

1. Connection With Others

We are social beings and connecting with others is incredibly important.  With a global pandemic this has been made very difficult, however as we are allowed to meet up again, arrange to connect again with friends.  Join a group, reach out to friends and family and continue to embrace connecting digitally, whether on the phone or using links such a zoom. 

2. Physical Exercise

Very few of us are motivated to get moving and exercise when we are in a relaxed state, but the benefits to you mental and physical body afterwards make it incredibly important to move our bodies daily!  Keep your focus on how you will feel at the end of your exercise and do something you enjoy.  Why not make it fun by walking or working out with a friend, or taking up a challenge that you can manage physically.  Our bodies have been designed to move and it is a wonderful way to boost our mental health too.  

3. Self Care

No longer a fluffy phrase, self-care is now widely accepted as vital.  We cannot pour from an empty cup and with so many demand on us today, it is important to increase the amount of self-care you can fit into your life. 

Simply put, self-care is anything which recharges you, that you enjoy and that enhances your wellbeing.  Whether that is watching your favourite series, reading, meeting a friend, taking a long bubble bath or doing yoga/ meditation/ spin class ... write out a lit of things that make you feel better .. ... and do some of these - daily!

4. Quality Sleep

Our bodies NEED sleep.  More than that, it needs a healthy, regular sleep routine.  While each of us vary on the amount of sleep we need, it is important to know how many hours your body needs - and ensure that you honour your health and wellbeing, by giving it this amount regularly. 

Check out our previous blog for better sleep for more tips!

5. Emotional Awareness

Throughout the day, depending on what we are dealing with, we all experience a range of emotions. From joy to frustration, anger, tiredness and everything in between!

As human beings, emotions are a normal, natural part of who we are.  However, we often don't pause long enough to pay attention to these emotional state so that we can honour it and process any feelings that need attention.  

Starting to become aware of our emotional state is a wonderful way to get more in tune with our mental & physical wellbeing. Thoughts become feelings and feelings can manifest in our bodies in many ways, from tension to fatigue to illness over time.  Talking, journaling, tapping - there are many tools out there, but to start with become aware and acknowledge those feelings. Each one is valid. There is no 'wrong' or 'right' way to feel - it just is. 

6. Finding Purpose 

One of the most important aspects of wellbeing that is often overlooked is finding a sense of purpose in what we do. When we can identify and incorporate a sense of meaning into our daily lives, we are far more likely to feel fulfilled, content and a sense of peace.  

Our purpose doesn't need to be a lofty, unattainable goal, it can be smaller things, that make us feel more energized and connected to our lives.  This can be incredibly helpful to our mental wellbeing and help us cope better in the midst of everyday stress and life challenges.  

7. Time in Nature

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year is nature.  We all know that time is nature is a wonderful antidote for stress.  Apart from the benefit of fresh air, moving our bodies and taking a break from routine, it also has many other benefits including;

  • lowering blood pressure
  • reducing stress hormone levels
  • reduce anxiety
  • boost immune system,
  • improve sense of wellbeing

Simply getting out and spending time in nature is one of the most wonderful ways to help rebalance and recharge from our busy, often stressful daily lives. Whether it's visiting one of the many beautiful parks, nature reserves, hills, rivers or  simply staying local - make time in nature as often as you can, ideally daily!

8. Eating Well

As they say 'eat the rainbow' and you'll be well on your way to feeling great.  Unfortunately, during times of stress, we often crave the unhealthy, high sugar, high fat foods, that often that instant rush, but really only make us feel worse in the long run. 

If you don't prepare, you prepare to fail.  Planning your meals and snacks ahead for the week not only saves money but also means that you can ensure you have healthy options easily available.  Colourful fruit and vegetables give our bodies and mind the nutrients it needs to function optimally! Yes, we can all enjoy that glass of wine, coffee or piece of chocolate but make most of your meals ones that nourish you and you will feel the benefit. 

9. Get Creative

Creativity has long been used to restore balance and wellbeing.  Remembering those wonderful creative projects we enjoyed as a child, or new ones we've always had a desire to take up, is a wonderful way of allowing our creative mind the freedom to express itself in otherwise busy, challenging daily lives.

Like meditation, the immersive nature of being creative can help you to focus your mind and control your thoughts.  Research shows that creativity affects the brain and body leading to benefits such as increased mood, decreased anxiety, improved immune health and reduced risk of chronic illnesses.  Learning something new is also a wonderful way to create new neural pathways in our brains, helping to prevent degenerative diseases such as dementia in later life.

So get creative, take up a new hobby, art, drawing, piano .. .whatever it is you enjoy. Go for it and enjoy the benefits.

10. Breathe

Just breathe. Slow, deep inhale and slow long exhale.  Repeat for several cycles and focus simply on the breath - first filling up your lungs and then releasing until your lungs feel empty. 

Research shows that breathing deeply significantly improves our physical and mental health similarly to how physical exercise does: through increasing oxygen, clearing the mind and calming us.

A lot has been written about breath-work, from varying the length of your inhale and exhale to counting, holding and even alternating blocking one nostril for each breath.   But, however you decide to practice it, simply adding your attention and becoming mindful will already bring you the benefits of feeling calmer. 

If you are struggling with mental health issues today, know that you are never alone.  There are many organisations out there who want to help you.

SAMARITANS - 116 123
MIND - 0300 123 3393 
CALM - 0800 58 58 58

We really hope this article has helped you and encourage you to share with anyone who may benefit from any of these tips too.

Enjoy This? You may like to check out our other blogs for more tips and tools, from sleep to healthy recipes that can all help towards a healthier, more balanced mind, body and soul. 

 





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