Small things you can start doing for better mental health

Small things you can start doing for better mental health 

Mental health affects all of us.  And Issues with relationships, work or school can  all affect our mental health. Yet as we are slowly coming out of a pandemic, it is more important than ever that we all pay attention to our own mental health, while looking out for those around us.   However the idea of us against the crazy world we are living in can seem rather overwhelming, and it can be hard to know what we can do to actually take care of ourselves.  Nonetheless there are a few small things which we can all start doing to improve the wellbeing of ourselves, as well as those around us.

1. Allow some time to do something that YOU ENJOY doing

Just putting aside a few hours a week for doing something enjoyable can really go a long way for our mental health. It is important that this activity is something which you really enjoy, rather than something like a side hustle. This is so you are able to take a real break from the challenging world we are all in.  This way, it certainly does not have to be something "productive", but anything enjoyable that gives you a break from everything else.  Activities can include something as simple as watching a film or a series, baking something or going on a walk.

2.  Reach out if you are struggling

It is important to be aware that this post is mainly aimed at things we can all do to improve our mental health, rather than being focused on things to help with any kind of mental illness.  Therefore please don't tell others whom you think or know are suffering from a mental illness, that they can just perform these steps.  Instead, if you think that you may be struggling, it is important to try to reach out for support.  Likewise, if you think that someone who you care about is struggling, then encourage them to do the same, while most importantly, provide a listening ear.

3. Allow yourself extra time

For over a year now, all of us have had to take in an overwhelming amount of new information, while most of us have had to adapt to new routines (often multiple times). This on its own is exhausting, while the majority of us also have many other stresses occurring in our lives. Therefore it is important to allow more time to yourself, and to allow yourself not to feel guilty if you are slightly less productive.

4. Support others and allow them to support you

What's meant by this, is that it is important that there are people out there who you can speak to frequently about how you are feeling. Likewise, to some degree, we are all in this together, therefore it is important that we can be there for others.

5. Schedule something in to your day that your looking forward to

Similar to what's been mentioned about doing things we enjoy, it is also important that there is something for us which we can look forward to.  Be it at the end of the day, end of the week, or ideally both.  This is to make going through the difficult times more bearable, and so that there are also some more positive things for us to think about.

6. Know when to say no

Ever felt overwhelmed about the number of tasks you are preoccupied with? Can this get to the stage where you are no longer able to fit in other activities which you enjoy, or you find that you are unable to spend time with those who you wish to. If this is the case, it is likely that you are either putting too much pressure on yourself, or you are allowing others to put too much pressure on you.  And while it is understandable as to why you would want to work toward something you wish to achieve, or to why you would want to help others out, when it gets to the stage when we are not giving ourselves the time which we all need, then we might be at the point where we need to start saying no.  So that we don't miss out on what we want to do the most, perhaps prioritise tasks in order of importance.

7. Spend time with other people

If you are able to, then something like a socially distanced walk (or picnic) with a friend can be really beneficial.  If not, then something as simple as a phone call, or a call on face time can really boost your mood.  While if you live with others, then why not go on a walk together, play a game or just watch a film?

8. Take breaks

Did anyone else use to dedicate the whole evening to being productive, yet come the end of the evening, you have hardly accomplished anything. You do feel rather guilty about it, but hey, at least you were working! Because if so, then I used to be the same. However the reason why this is the case, is generally going to be because you are tired and you are not allowing yourself the time to recharge.  Eventually as you can guess, this can lead to burnout.  Furthermore, when we are recharged, then we are able to get more done in a shorter space of time anyhow.  

9. Set boundaries 

This is probably the one which takes the most time to work on, as setting healthy boundaries with others is often a lot harder than someone in the outside may feel.  However while it certainly doesn't happen overnight, I think being aware on of the importance of setting boundaries with others can benefit us all, in knowing that we can not and should not accommodate what everyone wants from us. This should enable us to feel less guilty when we do set boundaries, while help us continue to create healthy boundaries with others.

10. Be healthy

Having a balanced and non restrictive diet can certainly give us that energy boost, while it can improve our mood.  Meanwhile exercise, which we are all too aware of the physical benefits, can also make us feel less stressed, and can actually be pretty enjoyable.

11.  Reach out if you are struggling

It is important to be aware that this post is mainly aimed at things we can all do to improve our mental health, rather than being focused on things to help with any kind of mental illness.  Therefore please don't tell others whom you think or know are suffering from a mental illness, that they can just perform these steps.  Instead, if you think that you may be struggling, it is important to try to reach out for support.  Likewise, if you think that someone who you care about is struggling, then encourage them to do the same, while most importantly, provide a listening ear.

I hope you find this helpful, and remember, it is really important to prioritise your mental health.