Mental health. We all have it, just some of us look after it better than others. Some of us take care of it fine, but life happens. Smacks us in the face and knocks us right off our tracks. When your physical health isn't great, you go to a doctor. So that means that when our mental health isn't great, we go to a doctor right?
Well actually no, due to lack of understanding, funding and stigma, many people suffering from poor mental health suffer in silence, fighting their demons alone because the thought of getting help or speaking up about what they are going through is too terrifying, to even bare thinking about.
MENTAL HEALTH IS AS IMPORTANT AS PHYSICAL HEALTH. END OF. FULL STOP. BOOK CLOSED. NO MORE SEQUELS.
I think you get my point. So why if mental health is just as important as physical health, why do 1 in 4 of us suffer from some form of mental health problem? Because people don't know that it is as important and there are so many different ways you can look after it. We are not taught the importance of self-care in school which I can never quite get my head around. This is why I wanted to share, 10 simple and basic tips, which you probably know already but neglect. There is nothing groundbreaking in this post, just straight forward advice most of us do not implement in our daily lives.
The hardest one of them all. Admitting that there is something wrong with your mental health is scary. But it's the first and most crucial step to recovery. No mental illness ever got better by denying it existed and pushing it under the carpet. You don't have to talk to your parents if the mere thought of doing so scares you. You can talk to a friend, an auntie or a confidential helpline such as The Samaritans. You can get in contact with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You do not need to be suicidal to get help.
2. Seek professional help
Some may prefer to ask for help and talk things through first with a doctor before telling friends and family. If that's you, that is totally okay! Speaking to your doctor about your mental health is just as important as your physical health. You shouldn't be embarrassed, scared or worried that they're going to laugh you out of their surgery. Don't let other people's negative experiences put you off, trust me, it's going to be okay and if it isn't you book in to see another doctor and another one until you get the help you need. They will be able to offer you medication for your mental health and refer you on to therapy or specialised clinics and services.
3. Take some time off
Having a work-life balance is so important. No one is a robot. No one can work 24 hours a day seven days a week without a break or rest. It's important to take small regular breaks throughout the day but also having longer periods of chill time when you find yourself very anxious, stressed or depressed. You should never feel guilty for taking time off after all it's for your best interests and will benefit you in the long run.
4. Do some gentle exercise
Says the person who like honestly never does exercise. If ya like me and your school PE days put you off sport altogether, you don't need to worry. Exercise can take lots of different forms. From full on hardcore gym sessions to gentle walks in the evening. When I work from home, I find it really hard to get to sleep at night, and I feel more down because I've been stuck in the office all day. Just taking 10 minutes out to stretch your legs is so important. If you do a 9-5 job and the idea of exercise isn't going to work, try getting off the bus one stop earlier or parking your car further from your home. It's the little things that make all the difference.
5. Work on your sleep routine
Sleep is so important and valuable; something which I think a lot of people underestimate. I've always had a good sleep routine, and it generally does help. Most people wake up feeling refreshed after a full nights sleep and ready to tackle the day. Sleep helps improve memory, mood and controls weight. For some reason, I don't seem to be able to ever wake up refreshed, but that is definitely just me! Sleep is essential, 7-9 hours is what the average adult needs.
6. Drink some water
I sound so preachy, it is actually hard to write! But seriously though water is great for you. I envy people who live in Wales and Cornwall because your tap water is LUSH. Come to Wiltshire, and it's as hard and dull as those rocks that everyone comes to see and raves about in our county. I hate drinking water, so I try and find low-calorie alternatives which kind of do the same thing. Ya know what I mean!
7. Eat a healthy meal
You don't have to be smart to know that foods with high intakes of salt, sugar and fat are not going to be good for you. Now, I'm not saying become a vegan, eating plants and grass all day. I mean if you want to, that is cool too, but I think balance is essential. Dark chocolate, for example, is a great alternative to milk chocolate. The effects of sugar rushes are never cool, so you know maybe swap out that chocolate bar for a banana and I'm sure you will notice all the difference.
8. Get some fresh air
This kind of links back to point four. I could never go for a 5-mile run or a walk up some mountain in the middle of nowhere. My excuse is I'm asthmatic. My real reason is just that I'm really unfit. LOL! However, you don't have to go on ridiculous long walks or runs to get your fix of exercise, just simply getting out the house every day and walking around the block, taking the time to breathe...... will help you clear your headspace and do wonders for your mental health.
9. Do some research
By research I don't mean, write a 5000-word essay or make a detailed presentation about your findings. This research is to benefit you and you only. There is so many amazing bloggers, Youtubers and authors who have done some fantastic work, reducing the stigma, spreading awareness and supporting anyone and everyone with a mental illness. By looking into your mental illness, finding out more about, you will soon realise that you are not alone. In fact, you will see that your part of a very big club.
By doing number nine, hopefully, it will help you understand that it is okay to not be okay. The more I've been open about my mental health, the more conversations I have had with friends and family about mental health. Realising that mental illness is in fact just as common as colds and the flu. Once you open up and meet people who have or are currently having similar experiences as you, you will understand that you are not alone and in fact, it's okay to not be okay.
I hope you found these tips helpful. I know some of them were pretty basic, but I think it is the basic tips we often overlook and forget the importance of. I would love to know any tips you have for looking after your mental health in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, as always X