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There are simple things we can all do to look after our mental health and wellbeing.
Looking after our mental wellbeing – sometimes referred to as self-care – will be different for everyone. Put simply, self-care is doing something for yourself.
It is about having some ‘me time’. Doing something that helps you relax and feel happier. Such as listening to your favourite music, watching your favourite film, going for a walk or a run, talking to friends or loved ones. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or cost money.
Try to spend more time doing the things that make you happy. Don’t feel guilty. Think of it as essential everyday maintenance.
Looking after yourself and your wellbeing will help you look after others
It’s especially important to look after yourself when you are looking after others – whether it’s families, friends or your job. You may have heard the saying: ‘You cannot pour from an empty cup’.
Our 10 Top Tips For Better Mental Wellbeing
Below are ’10 top tips’, from leading mental health organisations and experts, on how we can all look after our mental health and wellbeing.
Try to do as many as possible each day. The more you practice them, the easier they will become. They will start to become part of your regular daily routine.
1 to 5 – Self-Help Tips: The Five Ways to Wellbeing
There are 5 steps we can all do to improve our mental health and wellbeing. They are called the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’. They were developed by the New Economic Foundation.
- Connect with other people – It’s been proven that we get positive benefits from connecting with people around us.
- Be Active – Regular activity helps reduce stress and anxiety, boosts confidence, and improves energy levels.
- Take Notice – Paying attention to the present moment (also known as mindfulness) has been shown to improve your mental wellbeing.
- Keep Learning – Learning new skills can improve improve your confidence and self-esteem.
- Give – Expert studies suggest that being kind to others can help improve your mental wellbeing
See our topic on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing for more information.
As well as the Five Ways to Wellbeing the following things are important for good mental health:
6 – Self-help Tip: Eating Healthy Food and Keeping Hydrated
What we eat doesn’t just affect our physical health: it can also affect our mental health and wellbeing. There is a link between what we eat and how we feel. Eating well can improve your sense of wellbeing and mood. What you drink is also important. Research has found that even being mildly dehydrated can affect your mood and drinking too much caffeine can make people anxious.
If you want to find out more about the impact of food on our minds and bodies, see our healthy eating topic.
7 – Self-help Tip: Alcohol – Low Risk Drinking
Drinking alcohol, even a small amount, can affect your body and your mind. Some people drink alcohol to relax or help cope with daily stresses. Alcohol affects the part of your brain that controls inhibition. After a few drinks you will feel more relaxed, less anxious and more confident.
It is important to understand that alcohol is a depressant. It interferes with chemicals in your brain which affects your feelings, thoughts and behaviour.
Regular heavy drinking can change the chemical makeup of your brain. These changes can have many negative effects on our minds and bodies, including affecting our mood, energy levels, sleep and memory.
If you want to find out more about the impact of alcohol on our minds and bodies and/or if you are worried about someone’s drinking, visit our topic on alcohol.
8 – Self-Help Tip: Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Everyone needs sleep, but many of us experience sleep problems from time to time. There is a close relationship between sleep and mental health. Poor sleep can lead to worrying and worrying leads to poor sleep.
There are many reasons why we might have problems with our sleep. If you are experiencing poor sleep it may be causing problems with your day to day life – with relationships with family, friends or work. You might feel irritable, lack energy or struggle to concentrate.
Sleep problems over a period of time could result in you experiencing a common mental health problem such as anxiety or depression. And if you already have a mental health condition this could affect your sleep in a number of ways.
If you need help with your sleep, see our topic on Sleep for information, advice and resources.
9 – Self-Help Tip: Talk Things Through
Don’t struggle on your own if you are feeling low. Talk to someone about your feelings: whether it is a friend, a member of the family, a colleague or someone at the end of recognised helpline. Ask for help if you need it. See our helplines page.
10 – Self-Help Tip: Learn How to Manage Stress
Stress is our body’s response to pressure. It is a normal part of life. However, too much stress can leave you feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope. Stress can affect your mental and physical health.
Melo is here to help you, we have information, advice, resources and links to free courses which aim to help you manage stress. We have links to breathing exercises, Mindfulness Apps, information and courses to help you manage stress. See our topic on Stress.
Last updated: 11.01.2023