The 15th – 21st of May marks Mental Health Awareness Week, and it’s time to pay greater attention to this essential aspect of our overall well-being. Read on for our top tips for looking after your mental health
What is mental health?
It refers to our psychological, emotional, and social well-being, and affects how we think, feel, and act in our daily lives. Mental health problems can range from mild to severe and can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or social status. However, mental health is often stigmatised, and people are reluctant to seek help, leading to increased suffering and reduced quality of life.
As a health coach my aim is to help you understand the importance of maintaining good mental health, and in this post I am going to offer some of my top tips to help you.
Why is mental health important?
Mental health is essential for a fulfilling and happy life. It affects our relationships, work, and overall standard of living. Poor mental health can lead to a range of problems, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide. Thus, we must step the necessary measures to preserve our mental wellness.
There are several strategies for maintaining optimal mental health, but the journey starts with following a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and regular exercise are all highly beneficial for our wellbeing. Leading a healthy lifestyle is an effective tool for keeping our stress levels in check, boosting our mood and physical energy level.
There is also an important link between social relationships and health and wellness. Humans are social animals, and we need social connections to thrive in a complex world. Building and maintaining positive relationships with others can help to buffer us from the negative impact of life events and provide emotional support during difficult times, in addition to providing a sense of belonging and purpose.
Seeking help for your mental health is brave
Seeking help when needed is often the first step towards recovery. Talking to a professional provides the opportunity to reflect and process our feelings and thoughts as well as helping us to learn the skills necessary to strengthen our mental fitness.
Here are some simple yet effective ways to take better care of your mental well-being:
Self-care involves taking the time to do things that improve our physical, emotional and mental health. Simple things like being active, laughing more and taking time for relaxation and hobbies all contribute to a happy and healthy life.
Connect with others
People who are well connected socially tend to be less prone to mental health issues. This could involve spending time with family, friends, or joining social groups related to your interests, all of which can provide valuable emotional support and belongingness. If you are struggling with social anxiety or have difficulty making connections, reach out to me and I’d be happy to help you become more socially confident.
Mindfulness is a technique that helps you develop an intense awareness of what you are experiencing and feeling in the moment, and can have a wonderful impact on your sense of wellbeing. Meditation, yoga, or even taking a walk in nature are all effective mindfulness practices.
Take a break!
With the ever-increasing demands of work and life, it is vital to take regular breaks to restore our energy and mental resources. And don’t underestimate the power of simple pleasures, something as simple as stretching, reading a book, or having a cup of tea can work wonders on our wellness.
Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms
It is always advisable to replace negative coping strategies like drugs, alcohol, or baneful eating habits with healthier alternatives. While these may provide temporary relief, they are extremely damaging in the long run. Instead, try adopting some more fruitful coping skills such as deep breathing, journaling, or confiding in a trusted friend or family member.
Seek professional help
Any form of mental health disorder can be debilitating, and it’s crucial that you don’t struggle alone. Seeking help is a sign of strength, and the sooner you take steps to address the challenges you are facing, the sooner you’ll be on the road to recovery.
Stress can be detrimental to our mental health. Thus, it’s critical to identify and enact effective stress relievers such as breathing exercises, prioritisation, self-care and meditation.
Finally, mental health awareness week is a reminder to us all that we must continue to promote the need for action on mental health and to reduce the stigma associated with mental health disorders. If you or someone you care about is suffering, do encourage them to seek help, never suffer in silence. We all deserve to lead joyous and fulfilling lives!
To learn more about self-care strategies for the preservation of your well-being, you may be interested in reading my book Stepping Stones to Self-Care.
If after reading my top tips for looking after your mental health you’d like some support with taking better care of yourself, please contact me here.
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