04.05.17
Health & wellbeing

Tips to look after your mental health

man celebrating with arms up in sunset

May is Mental Health Awareness month, which is an important drive to generate awareness of mental health conditions and provide people with information and support. Anyone is at risk of developing a mental health condition during their lifetime, but children, young people and older adults are particularly vulnerable. 

Although there is still some stigma surrounding mental health, it is becoming less of a taboo subject to discuss. Famous athletes are even showing their support and talking about their own struggles. Recently, QPR academy coach Manisha Tailor spoke about the positive impact playing football has on mental health, while England Athletics launched a #runandtalk campaign which aims to help people share their problems and connect with others through running. 

Taking care of your mental health is just as important as looking after your physical health. Just as there are steps you take to maintain your physical health, such as eating nutritious food and getting plenty of exercise, there are steps you can take to look after your mental wellbeing too. In this post, we want to look at things you can do to boost mental health.  

Regular physical activity

While mental health conditions are very complex, studies have shown that regular physical activity can help to reduce the risk and even the effects of depression and anxiety. When you’re active, your body releases hormones called endorphins which relieve stress and help you to feel happier. Many people state that activity, such as running, helps them to clear their mind. Plus, doing an activity that you enjoy, like playing football with your friends, is great fun!

Spend time outside

Being outside in the fresh air is vital for our wellbeing. Even if it’s just taking a 10-minute walk to the post-box near your house or strolling around the building you work in, it will do you some good to see the sky and get your body moving. Getting outside at least once a day is especially important for older adults who are less mobile, as some people may become used to staying inside and not moving regularly which has a negative effect on wellbeing. 

Be sociable 

Humans thrive with social interaction and companionship, we love to meet other people and chat. Try and engage with people daily, whether its strangers, colleagues, or friends and schedule time to see the people who make you happy. This will help you to talk about any problems you’re having and make new connections. 

Join a sports team

Team sports are ideal for boosting good mental health. They allow you to be active, sociable and become part of a supportive team with good morale. If you aren’t able to join a sports team, create a group of your own that’s based around activity, such as a arm chair dance group for older adults in residential homes. 

Get plenty of sleep

A good night’s rest is crucial to your mental health. When you lose sleep, you may struggle to function the next day which can affect mood and self-esteem. Establish a routine so you go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at roughly the same time every day, as this will help you create a pattern to prepare your body.  Relax before going to bed so your mind is calm by using breathing exercises or reading a book. Avoid screens with blue light which can stimulate your brain and keep you up.  

These are just a few of the ways that you can look after your mental health. The main thing is to listen to your body, do things that make you happy and talk to people about how you feel if you are struggling with mental health issues. 

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