The Joy Club member Susanna shares her tips on how we can all maintain our mental health…
It is a known fact that we take more care over our physical health than we do our mental health and yet poor mental health can have such a devastating effect on our life if we do not address it. According to Mind, the mental health charity, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem in our life.
Talking about mental health used to carry such a stigma, but not anymore. We are now being actively encouraged to talk and seek help for any mental health issues we may be experiencing. It makes sense to remain engaged with improving our mental health before it gets to a critical stage, so here are my top tips for helping to care for your mental health.
Sleep is essential for both our physical and mental wellbeing. According to UK-based The Sleep Charity, it is estimated that 40% of the population suffer with sleep issues which can have a serious negative affect on our overall health.
If you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep make sure you reduce screen time of electrical devices at least an hour before you retire to bed. This is because technology releases a blue light which can suppress your melatonin levels which in turn interferes with your sleep pattern and can cause insomnia. Create a cosy atmosphere in your bedroom which is conducive to sleep. Clear away any clutter and have only relaxing objects around your bed such as plants and family photos.
We all know a healthy diet is crucial to our overall health and it really can help improve our mental health. Eat a well balanced diet consisting of plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and other healthy fats including avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Drinking water to keep hydrated is so important as dehydration can make us feel sluggish, lethargic and can contribute to low mood.
Connecting with others
We all felt the strain of lockdown during the pandemic and it made us realize quite how important it is to connect with others. With the wonderful technology that we all have access to, connecting with others is easier than it used to be. The Joy Club offers so many wonderful classes which encourage us to interact with each other – and the beauty of online classes is that we can join them from anywhere in the world.
It is also wonderful to connect with others in person, even if it is just saying hello to someone in your local corner shop. This interaction with other human beings is so important for our mental health and should never be underestimated.
Just thirty minutes a day taken over three to five days a week can significantly improve mental health issues such as anxiety or low mood. It can be something as simple as walking in the park or gentle yoga. The Joy Club offers a fantastic range of different classes that can be done in the comfort of your own home and that you can take at your own pace.
Get out into nature
It is well documented that walking outside in nature can have an uplifting effect on our mood. In fact, any green space will help improve our mood and make you feel happier. So, even if you live in a city, why not seek out your local park and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
If you can’t get outside then try watching nature documentaries as this can at least simulate being out in nature.
Journaling / writing
Writing for wellbeing is now a well-known therapy for improving mental health. It can be helpful to write every day in a journal. Simply take time to write your feelings, emotions or just your thoughts about your day and see how it helps you deal with any stresses or worries you may have had.
Meditation is a wonderful practice that can help us slow down the chattering mind that often leads us into stress and anxiety. Breathing exercises are often included in meditation which can be so helpful in destressing the body and mind.
Reduce unhealthy habits
We all have unhealthy habits from time to time but if these are constant in our life they can have a negative affect on our mental health. Too much caffeine, alcohol, smoking and poor diet are just some of the unhealthy habits that we adopt that can play havoc with our mental health.
Being creative is proven to lower our stress hormones and can raise our serotonin which helps to lift our mood. Why not look at taking up a new creative hobby such as art, crafts or even learn a new language. Not only will you feel a sense of achievement at learning something new but you will also make new friends. Have a look at the list of creative classes available at The Joy Club and try your hand at something new.
Talk to a friend
Talking to a good friend will always be one of my favourite ways to feel better if I am feeling low. We have so many ways to communicate with each other, so whether you see your friend in person or just a quick telephone call, it really can help you feel instantly better and lift your mood.
I hope you will try these tried and tested tips for helping improve your mental health. Please remember you are not alone and please talk to your GP, health care worker or charity helpline if you feel that you cannot cope with your feelings and emotions. There is always someone who can help you so please never be afraid to reach out.
Mental health resources
Samaritans – free to call on 116 123.
If you’re looking to approach your mental health in a more creative way, please do come along to Susanna’s ‘Women’s reflective writing group’ on Thursday 10th November 3.00pm.