Modern life can be hard and stressful, even more so if you suffer from a mental health condition. I’ve suffered from anxiety pretty much as far back as I can remember and received treatment for a pretty chronic anxiety condition last year. But ‘mental health’ isn’t just a term we should use if we have a diagnosis or for those that feel they have a mental health condition. Guess what guys? Everyone has mental health! Our mind is equally as important as our bodies, they work as one (I find it puzzling when people act as though they are separate entities). Ill mental health can effect anyone and everyone, not just those that seem to be wired slightly differently.
Anyway, what i’m getting at is it’s useful to know ways we can aid our mental health, like you would take paracetamol for a headache, or put a plaster on a cut. I’ve put the list below together for anyone that’s a little stressed, feeling anxious, down, depressed, or all of the above. These are a few things that I genuinely think help boost my mood, make me feel better or even just distract me from my anxiety.
Maintain your personal hygiene/ pamper yourself.
Pampering isn’t something I do regularly. When I’m feeling a bit off or down I like to put some effort into pampering myself. You know when you feel physically unwell with a cold, a hot bath or shower makes you feel so much better? It can work the same for your mental health too, I like feeling the water hit my face in the shower – it seems to clear the mind. This is also my biggest tip for anyone really struggling with mental health, sometimes just getting out of bed can be difficult, getting the basics done is your go to here. And you should be proud if you can get them done when it feels like you can’t (small victories! Yay!)
Not to anything big and expensive, let’s not make rash decision here! But buying yourself your favourite chocolate bar, a luxury tea, some flowers, a new pair of socks or something to just sit and appreciate is a nice way to treat yourself. Often it’s the small things that make a difference, savouring something small and seemingly insignificant can sometimes put things into perspective and just help you to relax.
Go for a walk
Again this totally depends on how bad you are feeling. If I am generally feeling okay, but a little down, a really long walk helps to clear my mind, focus on other things, feel at one with nature, and if I’m with someone else – have a good old chin wag! Pretty much every doctor you see will tell you to try to do exercise to combat ill mental health, I don’t know whether they are right, but going on a walk and engaging with nature definitely helps ( I think people often call this ‘grounding’)
Change your bed sheets
This is kind of along the same lines as pamper yourself, but it’s definitely something that whether I’m feeling bad or not makes me so happy. There’s just nothing quite like fresh bed sheets…. Well maybe new pyjamas, they are pretty great as well.
Watch your favourite film
Snuggle up in bed and just watch your favourite film you have seen 5000 times. I like to watch animations when I am feeling poorly, and there is nothing more comforting than watching a film in bed, with a tea in your favourite mug.
Make a Self Care Box
I got this idea from buddy box – At the time I couldn’t afford to sign up and I also thought “who knows what would cheer me up better than myself?”. So I’ve stolen the idea and decided to make my own. For me having a small colouring in book, fancy teabags, a slab of chocolate, photos of lovely things, a scented candle, some pens and a face mask is a good start. Tailor it to your own needs and preferences. It’s also a good way of taking care of yourself in advance, we often neglect our own needs because of all the external stresses in life. Take some time to care for yourself and reap the rewards.
Sit in a coffee shop/cafe and watch the world go by
Take a book/sketchbook/laptop or whatever. Buy yourself a coffee and just take some time to relax. Watch people, watch cars, watch the birds, watch the staff. I don’t know why I find this relaxing, but it’s some great me time, without thinking too much about yourself.
Get some rest + drink water
It’s taken me a long time to realise how important these two things are, but I have, this week to be precise. Sunday/Monday my anxiety was as high as a kite, yesterday I fell asleep at 9.30 and I really needed it. I often find myself getting distracted in the evenings to the point where I lose track of time and suddenly it’s 12 o clock. Getting enough sleep is so important for our health and our general wellbeing, and I feel so much better today having caught up. I always hated the taste of water (huh?) but I’ve found that drinking it out of a water bottle is the best way for me to get enough water, some people like to drink a pint in the mornings or when they eat, whatever suits you, just do it!
Last but not last
Don’t be so hard on yourself