This week (10th – 16th May) is Mental Health Awareness Week. During this pandemic, millions of us have experienced a mental health problem, or seen a loved one struggle. Some of us have seen our already fragile mental health plummet, while the support networks around us disappear. 

Here I’d like to share some practical tips and advice to ensure you’re taking care of your mental health. Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s important!  

 

Tip 1 – Focus on what you can control

Part of why we’re feeling so uneasy at the moment is that there’s far too much in the air that we have no way of controlling. Whether it’s when we’ll get to see friends and family again, when that wedding will be able to happen or when we’ll get to travel the world again. Focusing on what we can’t control will only leave us anxious.  

Make a conscious effort to put your mind towards what you can control: set a daily routine that feels good; set a to-do list that feels plausible so that it’s easy to check it off and feel accomplished; commit to exercising once per day; do a thorough spring clean (one room at a time if the whole house feels like too much of a task); check in with friends and family for a chat. 

 

Tip 2 – Practise gratitude

Start developing an attitude of gratitude. Whether you voice your gratitude out loud or jot it down in a journal at the end of every day, the simple act of giving thanks even for the smallest things will shift your mindset. Don’t let the bad parts of your day make you feel bitter, instead celebrate the good every time it happens. Eventually, you’ll start to notice the good much more and realise that life’s still great. There is always something to be thankful for.

 

Tip 3 – Breathe

It can be difficult to commit to half an hour to a full hour meditation or yoga session, but there are few who can’t commit to five minutes of breathing mindfully each day, and even this simple thing can do wonders for your mental health. 

Simply take yourself to a quiet part of your house (even if it’s just your bathroom!), set a timer for five minutes and get comfortable. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four seconds, hold for another four, breathe out for another four and hold for four more. Repeat until the timer runs out. Try to focus on the rhythm of your breathing and the beating of your heart. Take a few moments to wriggle your fingers and toes. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the here and now. All of this can really bring a sense of calm to your mind that’ll help you tackle the rest of your day head on.

 

Tip 4 – Nourish your body

Taking good care of your body can really help to lift your mood. While it may be all too easy to default to comfort food when things feel a little doom and gloom, you’ll actually feel all the better for eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water and getting a good amount of exercise each day. 

Not sure where to start? I’d be delighted to see if I could help. Please get in touch.