The 18th-24th of May is Mental Health Awareness Week. The idea is to raise awareness of mental health and mental health problems and to inspire action and promote the message of good mental health for everything. Now more than ever, more people are suffering from their mental health. To help we’re sharing some tips and advice to keep yourself mentally healthy.
Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is so important for our health – physical and mental. Healthy sleeping habits can make a big difference in your quality of life so it’s essential you’re getting a good amount of sleep, as well as going to sleep and waking up at the same times. There’s plenty of advice and tips for ‘healthy sleeping’ over at the Sleep Foundation – check them out if you’re struggling.
Eating well not only improves your physical health but your mental health. Too much junk food or caffeine can impact how we feel. If you lack in minerals such as iron or vitamin B12 it can be the cause of having low moods. Try to eat a healthy and balanced diet to improve your overall health. Head to the Eatwell Guide from the NHS for more info.
Soak up the sunshine
We’ve been experiencing some lovely weather lately and it’s important to soak up as much sun and vitamin D as possible. Vitamin D helps your brain release chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin which improve moods! You don’t have to sit in the sun all day every day, but between 30 minutes to a couple of hours a day is ideal. Be sure to keep your skin and eyes safe in the sun by wearing sunglasses and sun creams.
Activity and exercise
Keeping active is essential in maintaining good all-round mental health. Not only will you get a sense of achievement from being active but you’ll also boost chemicals in your brain putting you in a good mood. Exercise has been proven to eliminate low mood, anxiety, stress and the feeling of being tired and lazy. We’re not saying you need to run a marathon a day, but even gentle activity will keep your mood up.
In light of COVID-19 more than ever we need to look out for each other and helping others has so many benefits. Not only do the people you’re helping benefit, but you will too. Feeling like you’re part of a community can make you feel good about your place in the world. It can lift your self-esteem and give you a purpose you may have been looking for. Check in on friends, neighbours and see what you can do for them – it may make all the difference.
Do things you enjoy
Making time for yourself is so important in keeping your body and mind healthy. Whether it’s going for a walk, watching the latest Netflix series you’re dying to see, baking – whatever it may be. Set yourself some time in the day to ensure you’re taking care of yourself and what you want to do, not just what others want.
Ask for help
One of, if not the most important ways to keep yourself mentally healthy is to recognise when you’re not feeling good and getting some help. There is absolutely no shame in asking for support if you’re feeling low or stressed. Just in the same way that if you were physically ill you would go to a doctor, reaching out is essential. If you feel like your mental health is getting on top of you, you can speak to your GP to ask for help. Just give them a call and ask for an appointment either in person or over the phone – whichever works best for you.
If you’re experiencing anxiety for the first time to due COVID-19, check out our blog with advice to help. If your anxiety is mainly around driving, we’ve also got lots of articles to help on the Mental Health Advice section of our Driver Hub.