There’s no denying that the last 3 years have been anything but plain sailing. The change of routine, health concerns and limitations on socialising have undoubtedly taken their toll on everyone.
According to a study by Mind, of the 12,000 people who were surveyed, 65% of adults and 68% of young people with mental health concerns said their mental health had worsened since the first national lockdown.
Now more than ever, your mental health and wellbeing matters! Which is why, this Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve put together some top tips on how to take care of number one (AKA you!)
As big advocates of mental wellbeing, we want self-care to become more than something that is spoken about, but something we practise every day. Because you matter, always.
It’s important to bear in mind that everyone’s mind works in different ways and we’re all unique - it’s what makes everyone so special. One thing we do have in common, however, is that we all have mental health. Discover simple ways to improve your mental health below.
1. GET PLENTY OF SLEEP
Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. As tempting as it is to get sucked in by social media or binge watch your favourite Netflix series, our sleep quality has a direct impact on our mood and how we interact with others.
It’s recommended that we should aim for between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night to allow our body and mind to properly recharge. Without enough beauty sleep, you may find it difficult to concentrate or think clearly.
If you’re struggling to get enough shut-eye, check out our top sleep tips here.
2. KEEP ACTIVE
It’s rare that we need an excuse to exercise, but knowing that it has a positive impact on both our physical and mental health is more than enough reason to keep active.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours on end in the gym or attend every exercise class going. As always, the best way to take charge of your fitness is on your own terms. So, whether you fancy a heavy weight session or a walk through the park, taking part in regular exercise can give your mood and self-esteem a natural boost.
3. TALK ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL
Girls, we can’t stress enough how important it is to talk about how you feel.
We appreciate mental health is a sensitive subject and that opening up is sometimes easier said than done, but whether good or bad, talking about your feelings provides a great opportunity for you to build more self-awareness. Besides, a problem shared is a problem halved!
Talk to your besties, your loved ones or if this makes you feel uncomfortable, there are plenty of services, such as your local GP, to offer the right support for you. You could even try writing your thoughts down in a journal to begin with. Remember, you should never feel ashamed for opening up about how you feel.
4. SPEND TIME WITH LOVED ONES
This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is loneliness, an issue which is said to be affecting more and more people in the UK.
The best way to tackle this is, quite simply, to spend time with the people you love. Taking care of your mental health is a lot easier when you stay connected with those that have your best interests at heart and encourage you to be the best version of yourself.
So, whether it’s a coffee date with your girl gang, a sweaty training session with your gym buddy or cooking with your family, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a spot of company.
5. EAT WELL
What you eat and how you feel go hand in hand. As with any organ in your body, your brain requires a balanced mix of nutrients to stay healthy.
While we can all admit that nothing beats a sweet treat every now and then, focusing your diet around nutritious, whole foods is one of the simplest ways to improve your mental and physical health. That being said, that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your favourite food altogether, it just means it should be eaten in moderation.
That goes for alcohol and caffeine too! It’s safe to say, we all love a celebratory cocktail or a brew to wake us up in the morning, but drinking an excessive amount of either can negatively impact your body and mind in the long-term. It’s true, there really can be too much of a good thing!
6. DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY
A lot of anxiety and stress stems from being unable to live in the moment. Discover something you enjoy and allow yourself to be fully present in the moment. Without even realising, you’ll soon forget about your worries - even if only temporarily. This could be a pamper session for one, a spin class or even something as simple as journaling.
Doing something you enjoy often means you’re good at it too and feeling a sense of achievement is another great way to boost your self-esteem.
7. ACCEPT YOURSELF AND SHOW GRATITUDE
You are strong, you are powerful and above all, you are enough.
The bottom line is, ladies, we’re all different and that’s exactly how it’s meant to be. Some of us have six packs while some of us have belly rolls, some of us tell funny jokes while others write inspirational stories. Whatever the case, you are perfect just the way you are.
The first step to a more positive mindset is to embrace everything that makes you, you. Besides, feeling good on the outside is all about feeling good on the inside!
Showing gratitude can also be a great way to feel good about yourself and boost your mental wellbeing. It’s easy to become wrapped up in negativity and forget all of the good things that we sometimes take for granted, especially with everything that’s going on in the world. Which is why it’s important to take a few minutes to reflect on the things you’re grateful for to help you develop a more optimistic outlook on life.
8. PERMIT YOURSELF TO REST
Nobody knows your own body better than you do and deep down, we all know just how important it is to give your body and mind time to reboot. So, why do we always feel so reluctant to do so?
Unfortunately, society has glorified the notion of being busy all the time when in reality, you need rest and time to allow your body to catch up so that you can feel refreshed.
Meditation is a great way to enjoy a few moments of calm and focus on the present. Our beginner’s guide has everything you need to channel your inner zen.
Our lives are filled with ups and downs and it may be that sometimes you need a little bit of extra support. If that’s the case, it’s perfectly okay and we’re here for you!
We never want you to feel alone and should you feel it necessary, you may benefit from seeking help. There is always somebody out there who will listen to you and it’s always better to talk to someone than keep your feelings hidden. Remember, your body is a temple, so treat it like one!