How to look after your Mental Well-Being
This last year has been tough on all of us. With drastic changes to our social lives, homeschooling, remote working and additional health measures; it may feel overwhelming. Even as most places move to reduce restrictions, that might not be enough to undo the damage done to our mental health over the last 18 months. If you’re interested in how to look after your mental well-being, we’ve collected some ideas that might help.
According to mental health charity, Mind, “Spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems including anxiety and depression. For example, research into ecotherapy (a type of formal treatment which involves doing activities outside in nature) has shown it can help with mild to moderate depression. This might be due to combining regular physical activity and social contact with being outside in nature.”
So look to combine time out in natural light with interaction with plants or animals for the most nourishing effect on your mind. Consider growing a garden if you have green space access or taking up a walking calendar at local beauty spots. Maybe birdwatching is for you or perhaps you might get a dog to encourage you to get out daily for walks. However you do it, there’s no doubt that going out in nature is good for you.
As the NHS states, “Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.” But chances are you’re not doing enough of it. Most of us aren’t. For adults, 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week is the goal. But you don’t have to look at it as hours of mindless running on a treadmill. Most gyms offer fitness classes that can allow you to meet new people and add structure to your day. Larger fitness centres may have pools, saunas and jacuzzis to allow you to zone out after a stressful day.
And you don’t even need to take your exercise at the gym to see the benefit. There are walking clubs, running clubs, sailing clubs, tennis clubs and all other sorts of outdoor activities that would allow you to combine the benefits of being outside with the mood-boosting endorphins of exercise.
Talk to your friends
We can’t always visit with our friends. But that’s okay. Turns out, a quick phone call may have nearly as many benefits. According to the Sydney Morning Herald the University of Texas at Austin backs the idea that voice calls are good for our mental health. When compared to text-based communication such as emails or messages, the researchers found voice calls have a distinct advantage.” Maybe this is because there is less chance of miscommunication; you can hear a laugh or a nervous sigh. It also removes a lot of distractions, allowing you to focus on deepening your connection to that person.
Time chatting with a friend is considered so vital, there’s a whole charity arm devoted to connecting OAPs with telephone friends. But remember to have a plan going into any call. Know how long you can speak for and what you’re calling about. And if the other person isn’t free, don’t worry. Plan a time to connect later.
You’ve probably heard the adage, ‘if you look good, you feel good.’ And it’s really true. According to Penn State, “It may seem silly to think that choosing an oversized t-shirt or sweatshirt over a nice top can reflect upon your mood, but recent studies have proven that “people who spend an abundance of time dressed in baggy, frumpy clothing tend to feel more depressed, whereas those who wear nicer clothing–such as higher quality tops and jeans–tend to feel happier.” So it follows that you should look after every part of your appearance. Maintain a healthy diet, wear clothing that you feel good in and tend to your skin, hair and nails.
Make sure your hair is clean, styled (even if you wear hair extensions) and fresh looking. Invest in your personal style with a shopping service or department store consultation. And maintain a skincare, haircare and fitness regime using in-home providers if that makes it easier to commit to your self-care routine or book locally with convenient appointment services.
Try out a new look
Spend the day finding your perfect shade with a digital try-on service like this one from NYX or visit your local department store makeup counter. Healthline columnist, Christal, says “Getting a haircut for me is like talk therapy, retail therapy, and self-care rolled into a two-hour session of unplugged pampering. Yes, please. A really good haircut can last me longer than three months if it’s cut right. And, at the end of the day, your [hairstylist] is kind of like the therapist you want —someone who’s always on your side, no matter how wild your story is.” So, perhaps a chop is in order.
Not ready to commit? Why not try our clip-in hair extensions? They are easy to do at home with a friend and give you that ‘new me’ feeling full of mood-boosting benefits.
Get a new hobby
According to Connect Health, “Engaging in creative activities such as [songwriting], knitting, visual art and musical performance have all been shown to increase positive moods. Particularly, engaging in such activities has resulted in an “upward spiral” of [increased] wellbeing in many young adults.” So, think of something you’ve always wanted to do or learn and find a way to get involved. Remember, you don’t have to be the best. You just need to enjoy doing it.
Talk to a professional
If you’re worried about your mental health, remember there are people you can talk to about it. There are many mental health charities. Or call the Samaritans, a registered mental health charity, on 116 123 right now to talk about anything that’s bothering you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Their goal is to prevent suicide.