Many discussions on mental health focus on mental ill health. Like our physical health, we need to care for our mental health. Here are a few ways everyone can easily incorporate mental health self-care into their daily lives:
1. Exercise. I know it can be hard to find time, but if a twenty-minute walk or run is the difference between a good day and a terrific one, it’s something you need to find the time for.
2. When you’re feeling down – or feeling you might slide towards feeling down, don’t read or listen to the news. News is usually negative, and when we’re mentally and / or emotionally vulnerable or fragile, the negativity eats at us more than it would otherwise.
3. Have something that soothes your soul – knitting, needlework, painting, reading or photography – nearby and use it to help you when you need it to.
4. Don’t use your to do list as a tool to beat yourself with and scream ‘Failure!’ at you. Only allow things on your to-do list that really need to be done today.
5. Don’t berate yourself for being sad. You feel how you feel and you don’t have to apologise for it – not even to yourself.
6. Keep a gratitude journal. In it, write down the things you are grateful for. On your sad days, look through it and realise how blessed you are.
7. Whenever someone pays you a compliment, or comments favourably on something you’ve done, make a note of it. If you start to feel down, refer to the list.
8. Add to the list with things you notice and like about yourself.
9. Treat yourself. Every day do something nice for yourself; buy yourself flowers, run yourself a bath, talk to a friend, read a book, watch a movie you love, cheat at solitaire….whatever makes you feel you good. You deserve to feel good.
10. Eat well. A good, nutritious diet will help you feel good and will strengthen your immune system. All of which will help you feel good inside and out.