Today is the 10th of October, or 10/10. It is also World Mental Health Day. So here at Haggie Partners we have put together 10 areas to consider that could support good mental health:
1. Be kind
Research shows that kindness is great for all parties involved. It can improve our mood, ease loneliness and strengthen our connections with others. Even starting small with a smile or a compliment can make someone else’s day – and your own.
Good quality sleep makes a great deal of difference to our body’s and mind’s ability to function. For many, sleep is the first aspect of life to be impacted by mental health struggles. It’s helpful to develop a relaxing routine to help wind down before bed, avoiding caffeine and screens too late. Consistency is also important.
Food can make a significant difference to your mental and physical health. Thiamine, niacin, zinc, and folate are all linked to better mental health and can be found in many easily available foods. Whole grains and meat contain thiamine, niacin and zinc; while folate features in fruity and leafy greens.
4. Plan things to look forward to
Having something to look forward to can help with managing difficult situations. Making small plans, such as your favourite meal for dinner once a week, treating yourself to a new book or facemask, or even something bigger like tickets to see your favourite artist, can be an encouraging light in a gloomy time
Whether it is to a friend, a doctor or a support line, talking is one of the best ways to take yourself out of crisis and work through the thoughts and feelings you’re experiencing. Contact details for charities and counselling are at the end of this blog.
6. Connect with others
Spending time with friends, family or pets can help combat loneliness or simply serve as a distraction to stress. If you feel there is nobody you can spend time with, look for events or groups in your local area. A social sports team or a church might be the place where you meet your next best friend. Volunteering opportunities abound and can also help us to feel valuable and that we have something to offer.
7. Set goals
Setting goals can be a great way to track your progress and give you something to work towards. A sense of achievement is beneficial to mental health and our ability to handling stress. Perhaps aim to learn a new skill or revisit an old hobby. If that seems too much, simply starting with the aim of making your bed every day and seeing yourself accomplish your goal at the start of the day can be encouraging.
8. Get active
The endorphins released when you exercise improve mental health. This doesn’t require becoming an Olympian overnight, however! Going to a yoga class, walking in a park or following some pilates on YouTube are great ways to ease yourself in, while knowing that you’ve been active that day is an excellent boost for self-esteem
9. Get closer to nature
Nature can have a very calming effect. It can help you to slow down and feel more hopeful and happy. During the first wave of the Covid pandemic, going for a walk was UK adults’ favourite way of coping with stress. Taking this further is the Japanese practice of ‘Shinrin-Yoku,’ a therapeutic method which translates to ‘forest bathing’, designed to enhance wellbeing and joy.
10. Practice mindfulness
It’s so easy to let life happen around us and forget to be in the present. Known as mindfulness, noticing our thoughts and feelings in the moment can help gain a better perspective on life. The NHS website explains that “Mindfulness allows us to become more aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings that we experience, and to see how we can become entangled in that stream in ways that are not helpful. This lets us stand back from our thoughts and start to see their patterns. Gradually, we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over and realise that thoughts are simply “mental events” that do not have to control us.”
If you or someone you know needs help with their mental health, the following contacts may be helpful. Remember also that many companies’ health insurance programmes include access to a confidential advice line.
Samaritans – 24 hour confidential help and support
Mind – advice and support on conditions and treatment
Tel: 0300 123 3393
NHS counselling information
Counselling – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Find an NHS psychological therapies service
Find an NHS psychological therapies service (IAPT) – NHS (www.nhs.uk)