How to boost your mental health

How to boost your mental health

By Liz Lockhart

The things that we do, the actions that we take and the way we think have an impact on our mental health.  With the leaves falling from the trees and the days getting shorter it is easy to feel the urge to pull the quilt over our heads and go into hibernation mode.

Good mental health brings with it feelings that we are able to cope and resilience when facing difficulties.  It does not mean that we will feel constantly happy and never feel sad or worried – these are normal feelings which occur in everyone’s lives. 

As World Mental Health Day was marked this week it could help us all to consider ways in which we can boost our mental health and, by doing so, increase our happiness and physical health at the same time.

Here are some top tips which are easy to achieve and can impact greatly on our mental wellbeing.:

Get active

Getting active does not mean that you have to become an athlete.  Find an activity that you actually enjoy.  Walking is great for your physical and mental health and you can make your walks as long or short as you like.  Although we don’t have the joy of summer sunshine to help us on our way the changing colours of the trees and the chance to get daylight on our faces is reward enough. You could also benefit by getting your friends to join you. There are great tips on other exercise options on our fitness pages

Good diet

If you think of your body as a ‘power house’ or an engine then you can easily see why the fuel that you put into it is so essential.  Put in too much oil and low-grade fuel and it will malfunction. 

Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, home-made meals and drink plenty of water would be a great way to fill up.  Preparing your own meals can be just as quick and more economical than ready-prepared foods.  Another benefit is that you actually know what you are consuming.  You can find great tips and recipes to help you by clicking on the 'food' tab at the top of this page.

Stay connected with friends and family

As stated earlier it is all too easy to go into hibernation mode as winter approaches.  You get warm in front of the television and it can seem like too much effort to go out.  The benefits that can be reaped from developing relationships with friends, colleagues and neighbours are so emotionally rewarding.  These relationships can be invaluable in hard times.  Friendship is not something that you deserve it is something that you earn so, even if it means leaving your comfort zone, don't neglect the importance of relationships.

Learn new skills

Use these long winter nights to learn something new.  Having a new skill can give you a sense of achievement and boost your confidence.  Maybe learning to cook or getting physically fit would kill several birds with one stone. Learning new things also helps to keep your brain active and keeps you young.

Be good to yourself

In this busy world in which we live we can sometimes rush around at such a pace that we don’t find the time to stop and consider our feelings.  We fail to notice what is happing around us.

Take time out to be kind to yourself.  Luxuriate in a deep, hot bath full of bubbles.  Light some scented candles and chill out with a book. 

Recognise that your needs are as important as everyone else’s and don’t overlook them.  OK watch the diet but an early night with a good film, magazine or book and a box of chocolates is fine once in a while. 

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