According to the NHS, one in four of us will suffer from mental health problems at some point in our lives and here are eight tips that I feel work for me…
Although it’s started to become more of the norm with talking about it, mental health is still considered one of those taboo subjects where it can be seen as a sign of weakness if you admit to suffering with mental health problems. What we need to remember is that mental health is incredibly important and we should take more time to ensure that we are actually okay and also the people around us.
I’m not by any stretch a mental health blogger and nor am I about to start diversing off into it but there are times when I feel my mental health suffers, so today’s post is going to be on how I try to look after my mental health. Neither have I been given a formal diagnosis for a mental health disorder but I do suffer from panic attacks, huge bouts of anxiety and low self-esteem quite frequently and these are tips on what I find works for me.
#1 Take a walk
When I’m in a mood or feeling down about something, I find leaving the house and going for a walk makes me feel calmer and like I have a sense of normality again.
#2 Look up at the stars
Something my Dad always told me was to look at the stars when you feel down or like everything’s getting too much for you. He did this with me once when I was a toddler as I couldn’t sleep so took us out to look at the stars and then again when I was about 19 when I was going through a hard time over a number of things. It may seem lame but just looking at the stars really puts it into perspective of how small we really are in comparison to the World and the Solar System.
#3 Watch one of your favourite films or watch an upbeat one you haven’t seen before.
This is a weird one for me as I always find Top Gun is my pick me up film. Why? Because it’s cheesy as heck and I was in the Sea Cadets, based on a naval air station, where flying was kind of our thing and I also got to fly with the Red Arrows so it’s kind of fitting. Who doesn’t love a bit of cheese to cheer themselves up, though?
#5 Make a cup of tea
The British have that weird saying of, “Let’s have a nice cup of tea!” as if somehow that will miraculously make everything better again. It won’t quite make everything better but having a cup of tea is probably one of those placebo things or at least for me anyway which when stressed is to firstly, have a cup of tea and then deal with the scenario afterwards. It kind of gives me that boost to say, “Okay, you got this!” before tackling the situation.
#6 Switch off from social media
Social media is a wonderful thing. I absolutely adore it and work with it as apart of my job and for my own pleasure everyday. However, there are times when it is the worst invention ever, it gets too much and I absolutely despise it. It’s full of fake news and can be full of absolute dickheads who just because they have an opinion on something think that they are some sort of expert without reading actual evidence and facts. Oh yeah, “alternative facts”? If this happens, I have to switch off from it all for a while by leaving my phone in a different room and doing one of the above if not all of them.
#7 Make time to see friends and family
I spend approximately 40 hours a week at work and a further 10-15 a week travelling to and from work as well as studying for a part-time Masters and volunteering. As you can imagine, this leaves very little time for a lot of time to socialise and it can also mean I get quite lonely often as I don’t get to see my friends and family as often as I would like to. Being an adult sucks in that sense and I don’t think I appreciated how often I saw both friends and family when I was younger.
#8 Don’t bottle things up
In my personal experience, bottling things up makes it worse. Sometimes you just need to let everything out by having a good rant at someone or writing it all down. I find speaking to a friend or family member about something and hearing some advice or a second perspective makes you feel a bit better. I also find writing helpful as it’s quite therapeutic and if I put my headphones on and get some banging tunes going, I can get lost in my own little world and then suddenly realise that I’ve been sat there tapping away for several hours.
And that’s my eight tips on how I try and look after myself.
I’m aware that these won’t necessarily help everyone and it won’t miraculously make any conditions go away but it may be of some help to someone. If you need someone to have a rant at or a natter with about things which are getting you down then I’m always happy to be that person.
However, if you’re looking for professional help then the NHS provides some useful information on who to contact and how to deal with it. There’s also charities such as Samaritans (Available 24/7) and CALM (Specifically aimed at men who are statistically less likely to call Samaritans).
How do you try and look after your own mental health?
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