Minding Your Mental Health
Mental health is something we should take steps to protect in the same way we guard our physical health. Good mental health allows us to get the most out of spending time with family and friends and it helps us through difficult times.
Here are some tips on things you can do to improve your own mental health:
Don’t be afraid to accept yourself for what you are. Nobody’s perfect, we all have our good points and bad points. Many different things including personality, background, race, gender, religion and sexuality make us who we are. Everyone has something to offer and everyone is entitled to respect.
Try to meet more people, build a network of friends and get involved in activities. It makes all the difference in maintaining good mental health. Join a club, socialise more often, do a course - there are many options if you look around.
Try to incorporate regular exercise into your daily or weekly routine – even a 30 minute walk makes a surprising difference. It’s most effective on the very days when you don’t feel your best so try to make the effort even when you don’t feel like it. Group activities are great because everyone helps to motivate each other.
A healthy diet will not only help the way you feel, but also the way you think. Try to eat regularly and aim to eat a balanced diet every day. Good food is essential for your mind and body to work properly.(www.safefood.eu) (www.indi.ie).
Keep in contact
As we are busy getting on with our lives we may forget to stay in touch with our friends. Good friends will always be there for each other and we should make the effort to maintain contact. We don't have to cope on our own all the time.
Try to make time to relax. Fit things into your day that help you unwind like listening to music, reading, watching TV or treating yourself to a luxurious bubble-bath. Find something that you enjoy that works for you. In a busy workday even 10 minutes of downtime away from your desk can help you manage stress better.
Do something creative
All kinds of creative things can help when you are feeling anxious or low. Activities or hobbies like writing, painting, cooking and gardening can absorb your attention so much that you forget all other negative thoughts. Experiment until you find something that suits you.
Don't binge drink
Drinking alcohol to deal with problems will only make things worse. It is best to drink only in moderation and to avoid binge-drinking. Overdoing it can damage your health and won't help deal with the cause of your worries. Just the opposite - excess alcohol can increase anxiety and lead to depression.
Talk about it
Anyone can feel isolated and overwhelmed by problems. Talking about it always helps. Even though sometimes we may feel so bad we don’t want to bother friends or family, just remember that they care and would want to help. If you feel unable to talk to those close to you, then you can call a helpline such as the Samaritans - 1850 60 90 90.
Ask for help
If you were feeling physically sick you would see a doctor – and the same applies to mental health. Don’t think that just because a mental health issue can’t be seen it doesn’t count, or that you are wasting the Doctor’s time. It’s OK to accept you may not always be able to cope. Mental health issues are much more common than you might think, even among people who may seem strong. We all need help from time to time.