5 Little Mental Health Tips
It’s been really heartening to see an increased focus on mental health and the importance it holds in our lives; there’s still a long way to go, but heightened awareness about various mental illnesses has allowed many of us to better navigate our lives and take care of ourselves. A lot of the ways in which we help ourselves happen in our day-to-day mundane lives, outside of therapists’ consultations (if you have any).
That being said, learning how to cope with a mental illness can be very different — and therefore more challenging — than a physical injury. It’s not visible, and unlike a clear-cut bruise, the symptoms tend to bleed into one another. This can make it difficult for anyone, regardless of age, to understand how to cruise about their daily lives when mental illnesses feel like too big of a hindrance.
If you’re really, really lost, I would strongly recommend checking in with a mental health professional and to take the steps necessary to improve your condition. That being said, there are small steps with big, meaningful impacts that you could take to act on your mental health.
1. Plan to take daily, relaxing walks — and actually carry through with them.
Sure, exercising is crucial for your mental health, even just calming, regular walks can pacify and placate the mind. It could also provide you with a refreshing break if you needed one. It’s important to step away from our work and life to wind down and get some air. It helps you get out of your head and step into the world, and works wonders when you feel overwhelmed and trapped in your own mind. Be it 10, 15, or 20 minutes, try to go for a walk regularly (if not daily) so you get an assigned downtime for you and your mind.
2. Have a self-care kit.
This does not have to be a physical kit at all. Everyone has a few tools and tricks up their sleeves to give them a little boost when they’re a little down. Keep these resources accessible for when you really need it. A collection of cat videos, your favourite sweatpants or a candle and your favourite book — whatever it is, don’t hesitate to take the time to indulge yourself and let yourself cool off. Often times we neglect ourselves as we get too caught up in life. It’s okay to take a step back.
3. Focus on the good stuff when you’re going down the negativity spiral-hole.
A lot easier said than done, I know. It can get really hard to think of anything else when you’re disconcerted or confused. If you recognise yourself going down a spiral of negativity, try to hit pause and broaden your focus. All you have to zero in on are two or three positive moments, achievements, days, people, objects, or anything, really. Something that puts a smile on your face and makes your heart feel full. These feelings can be strong and ease your negative emotions of anger and frustration. It could even be as menial as being grateful for the bus you caught on time that day.
4. Keep your people close.
With phones and the numerous applications that they bring us, it’s easy to get in touch with friends or family. All of us have the few people that we can reach out to when we need to. It helps to create a list of people you trust — especially if you’re prone to anxiety attacks — who you can talk to in times of need. It provides you with a sense of comfort when you realise you’re not alone. And if someone you love is not free, you readily have a list you can work down on.
5. Pen your thoughts down.
Venting, ranting, complaining — whichever your preferred terminology is — is a great way to get out your frustrations. Mental health journals are incredibly useful and helpful, and they let your look at your thoughts from a macro perspective. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or a chore. Just taking five minutes a day or so to write down your thoughts, ideas and feelings can empower you and make it easier for you to navigate around overwhelming days. It’s a space where you can be yourself completely, and it also enables you to track changes in moods and behaviours should you feel the need to do so.
The bottom line is this: there are a number of small but effective ways you can use to keep your mental health in check and improve it bit by bit every day. There are also countless of professionals and hotlines to help you out if you ever need. A healthy mind is a wealthy mind; don’t trivialise your mental health and always know there’s help available.