Every one of us has a life. As such, it also means that we’re often stretching ourselves to complete all our daily tasks; getting ready for the day, dropping the kids to school, getting the washing done, going out to work, travelling to see different people, all whilst trying to eat our 5-a-day, get in those steps and go to the gym.
But guess what?
No one is perfect, and so if sometimes things become too much and you feel at a loss, just remember that everyone gets those feelings at some point and there are places specifically designed so that anyone can go and get help.
We’re all human and sometimes we just need to focus on ourselves.
I haven’t injured myself so why should I prioritise my mental health?
Just because you can’t SEE your mental health doesn’t mean you don’t need to care of it. If you hurt your arm one you would seek help pretty soon afterwards, right?
Your mental health issues may start out as ‘small’ and something you ignore but, as discussed in our previous blog, little things can soon become big problems and begin to take over your life in all the worst ways.
Allowing ourselves to prioritise self-care it means we have a greater chance of protecting our mental health and avoiding a burnout.
How can I prioritise my mental health needs?
Everyone is different and, as such, their needs are different.
You need to find works best for you.
We’ve compiled a list of suggestions below:
It is OK not to be OK
It would be unnatural for us as humans to be happy all the time. We need those times of sadness to let out our emotions. You are not ‘weak’ for needing that time to reflect or reach out to others for help. If you think you that then would you think the same if a friend reached out to you? Recognising you are not OK is the start of helping you to get back to a place where you are.
Keep a mood diary
A mood diary is a place where you can track your mood on a daily basis. As an example, you could keep it simple and have a traffic light system (e.g. Red is a bad day, Orange is an okay day and Green is a good day). Or, some people like to assign different colours to different types of emotions (e.g. Pink as anxious, Yellow as relaxed, Purple as angry etc.) as a more detailed option.
If you’re not sure where to start then there are different websites online to get you started such as Mood Panda for example.
Ugh! I know. For some people, exercising is the last thing you want to do but, many studies have show that it can significantly improve mental health issues including anxiety and depression.
When you exercise your body releases endorphins which help relieve pain and stress. Exercise also causes your body to release dopamine and serotonin, both of which help to regulate your mood.
Talk to other people
There’s no hard and fast rules about this one. You can speak to whoever you feel most comfortable talking to whether that’s a family member, friend, colleague or medical professional.
Ever heard the saying ‘a problem shared if a problem halved’? Of course, this can’t apply to everything but, sharing your thoughts with someone can make it feel like less of a burden to you. When you say things out loud to another person (even if you’ve said it over and over in your head), it allows for discussion; to talk things through. You never know, they may have some suggestions which could help.
If nothing else, you’ll likely feel better just for having vented.
Some examples are:
When we choose an activity that we find relaxing it helps us to clear our mind and think more positively, which then aids us when we need to concentrate or make decisions.
It also slows down our heart rate which then reduces our blood pressure and lowers the risk of health conditions in the future.
This is often put on the bottom of many people’s priority list and yet it’s just as important as eating, exercising and breathing.
If you are having problems sleeping this can lead to feelings of anxiousness, depression or even suicidal thoughts.
Therefore, it’s important that you…
1) Get a routine in place
2) Aim for 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night
3) Wind down before bed by:
– Avoiding screens and coffee and instead try reading or another relaxing activity
– Get anything on your mind written down so you don’t have to think about it