Looking after your mental health might not be at the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions going into 2020, but perhaps it should be.
As you enter a new decade it is important to leave the stigma surrounding mental health behind you and embrace your wellbeing as part of your daily routine. Long gone are the days of having to code your therapist appointments in your diary as ‘visits to the dentist’. There is no shame in getting help, you would see a doctor if you were physically unwell, so why would you not see a therapist too?
Mental health care does not have to be as official as therapy appointments, sometimes it isn’t even what you set out to do but a byproduct of your lifestyle. Meditation in your weekly yoga classes could be viewed as mental health care, cooking up a storm in the kitchen and giving your body and brain all its nutritional needs to function is a form of mental health care.
It is really easy to include caring for your mental health into your daily life. Here are a few ways in which you can do it:
It the most obvious way to help yourself and yet still people don’t do it. Because talking seems like such a mundane everyday activity you could be fooled into thinking that it is not helping you, this is not the case.
You don’t have to sit your friends and family down and have a huge group chat together, sometimes structuring your talking can have the opposite effect and everybody just clams up. Talking about your problems can develop naturally in conversation when you are alone with one person or perhaps doing a group activity. You would be enormously surprised with the amount of people who suffer with the same daily struggles as you, if you are just brave enough to ask them to talk.
- Eat and drink well
Diet plays an enormous role in keeping your body healthy and also has an enormous effect on your mental health as well. Your brain is just like any other organ in your body and needs to be fed and watered correctly. Eating foods that are packed with antioxidants, such as berries, boosts your body’s ability to repair cells. Oily fish which is full of Omega 3 fatty acids helps to stimulate both short- and long-term memory, which improves the overall health of your brain. Food is more than just fuel for your body, it is so beneficial for you to eat well.
You must also stay well hydrated. Alcoholic drinks are not the way forward when it comes to keeping your body hydrated. With their ability to alter your mood and the withdrawal symptoms you can suffer the day after, it is beneficial not to go for a boozy binge. Of course, occasional social drinking can be beneficial. Just ensure to keep within the recommended weekly limits.
- Accept who you are
Of all of the advice you could give someone trying to improve their mental health, this is the hardest one to follow. You are unique, you are special and you have value. From being able to erect a scaffold to the ability to lecture at a university, everyone has a different skill set and no two people are the same.
Having good self-esteem is crucial to this step and good self-esteem is hard to come by. Perhaps you are feeling uncomfortable with your growing bald spot and are looking for a cheap hair transplant to cover that up. Perhaps you would like to gain a little weight to improve your chances of conceiving. That’s OK. Because being comfortable in your body is crucial to becoming a happier and healthier person.
Accept your limitations and your achievements. It is often that people are too embarrassed to show off what they have achieved because they don’t want it to appear as though they are bragging. Change that this New Year, proudly show what you have done well and celebrate your successes with people around you.
Unlike bellbottom jeans, Zumba and penciled-on eyebrows, mental health care is not a fad. It is a genuinely important part of staying healthy and should be treated as such. If you are worried about your own mental health or you are concerned about the mental health of another person, speak up. You never know, taking the time to talk to someone might change their life.