Take five minutes to google 'How to look after your Mental Health' and you will find endless articles repeating similar bullet point statements suggesting you eat well, get a good night's sleep and get some exercise. These suggestions are all useful, but they are hardly holistic, in fact, they seem rather impersonal. Looking after your mental health is not as simple as such articles make out, and many readers are probably left wondering, what do other people do to look after their Mental Health?
"How do you look after your Mental Health?"
So I decided to reach out and ask people on social media how they look after their Mental Health. The idea behind it was that by sharing how you look after your Mental Health, you could be helping other people who are struggling or don’t know what to do to keep themselves healthy. It might give them ideas that they would not have thought of on their own, or make them think about their mental health with a new perspective. Everyone has mental health, it’s whether your mental health is in a good state or not that differs. One in four of us experience poor mental health at some point in our lives, so it is relevant to all of us, that we find ways to look after ourselves. Everyone is different, so everyone finds different things useful. All those who participated and are shown below agreed to share their responses with you the reader. The responses include a range of activities and views on mental health. Hopefully, you will find something that resonates with you.
Self-care, staying out of situations which might be problematic (as best I can)
— Jim Hawkins (@jimallthetime) July 14, 2017
Climbing! Lots & lots of climbing! And cutting out all the destructive people in my life to keep myself in a positive place as possible
— Tyrannosaurus Lex (@lexxx142) July 14, 2017
Acupuncture and Qigong (Chinese exercise) for me! Studies show acupuncture more effective than pills and safer for anxiety & depression.
— Corinium Acupuncture (@CoriniumAcu) July 14, 2017
I go out walking first thing to feel relaxed yet raring to go for the day. I leave my laptop at lunch & have a proper screen break
— Charlotte Moore (@SmoothiePR) July 14, 2017
Medication, exercise, self care, being kind to myself. Talking openly.
— Claudia Barnett (@claudiaharriet_) July 14, 2017
No drink, or drugs, healthy foods, exercise, do something you love and be with people who love you
— stephanie chivers (@ichange21) July 14, 2017
To reduce anxiety I take regular short breaks from the internet, spend time outside and do things with my hands – crafting, knitting etc
— You can call me V (@vspearson85) July 14, 2017
for bipolar I need to make sure I eat and sleep at regular times. Or just spend time in a dark room if I can't sleep.
— snowze (@slowze_) July 14, 2017
Deep breathing, yoga, gratitude, long walks in nature, sharing worries rather than letting shame consume me, sobriety (2.5yrs sober)
— Esther Nagle (@Esthernagle) July 14, 2017
— Michaella's Kitchen (@MichaellasKtchn) July 15, 2017
Run, climb things, spend an hour cooking spag bol… lots of 'healthy body, healthy mind' things
— Jamie Leiva (@JamieLeiva21) July 14, 2017
Meditation 10 mins a day. Calms mind chatter. Even 60s helps. Had 2 books published on it 28 Day Meditation Challenge & 52 Mindful Moments.
— Clare Josa (@clare_josa) July 14, 2017
Time spent doing the things I enjoy and reminding myself that thoughts are not indicative of the truth. Good sleep important too.
— Rachel Hawkins (@ourrachblogs) July 14, 2017
After a breakdown in 2010 I'm now very careful with my mental health. Supplements; walking; me time.
— Vicky Charles (@SingleMAhoy) July 14, 2017
I write!!! Journaling every day keeps the doctor away
— Charlotte (@CurativityBlog) July 14, 2017
I work out every day as it has huge impact on mental health, I journal, meditate and stay away from negative nellys.
— Lena (@iamlenakay) July 14, 2017
Exercise, meditation, massages, walks in the park, dog cuddles, riding my horse, socialising with loved ones & plenty of rest.
Walks with my dog, sketch for fun, read, stay away from social media!
— Pragya Agarwal (@hedgehogprints) July 14, 2017
1: Allow myself to feel sad/down 2: Avoid Twitter for a few days.
— Leon (@RedChilli_) July 14, 2017
Keeping busy, remembering family is what is important. Perhaps bizarrely talking to strangers as reminds me how great humanity can be!
— Lucia (@butterflys1974) July 15, 2017
I meditate using @Headspace and do beach yoga every week. I also actively make 'me time' to just relax.
— Ruth Walker (@ruthawalker) July 17, 2017
Swim outdoors twice a week & powerwalk.
— Faye Smith KYF (@FayeFork) July 14, 2017
Read, walk, meditate, and use products (aromatherapy)
— Sophie Davis (@sophiessuitcse) July 24, 2017
Megan McTiffin – Practice mindfulness, small things can make a big difference for some people.
Vickiie Oliphant – Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed if you feel you need to take a mental health day. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health – your body and your brain will thank you if you remember that. There’s no shame in taking time to just out your headspace if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Mel Buxton – My honest answer would be being honest with people. The worst thing I did was keep my feelings to myself. I used to think that if I told people they wouldn’t believe me, unfortunately that is true for some. But what I realised was, the more people I talked to, the more people I had supporting me and I didn’t feel embarrassed about it anymore. I don’t yet know what the answer is to ‘fixing’ this, but I am so glad that I started telling people that I feel anxious and depressed sometimes because keeping it secret was the worst mistake I made. I’m sure many others would say the same.
Rob Long – I believe there is too much pressure to view things the same way as others and constantly be happy. I felt less anxious in general when I accepted I’m going to feel unhappy sometimes, I will have dark thoughts, I don’t need to smile all the time to be content. I try to use a unique way of viewing the world to find peace within my own mind.
David Beechey – My sage advice is two-fold. Firstly (speaking as a manager) if you feel you can be open with your manager- then do it. There’s a fair chance they’ve managed someone before who has had issues around mental health, or mental health issues themselves. And secondly, try and look after yourself, having issues around eating (like me) just makes everything seem worse with plummeting blood sugar, I go for bland food and call it fuel when I’m feeling down and make a real point of enjoying food when I’m up. Oh – and don’t underestimate the power of sunshine…
Ayrton Smith – Mines more social anxiety and the concept of existence which used to cause panic attacks. I tried tablets which made me feel awful and simply reinforced the idea ‘you’ve got a disorder’ thus feeding the fire. I now look at it completely differently. A panic attack is your body telling you it’s scared and wants to protect you but it doesn’t know what to do. I now embrace fear, I run towards it. Fear is just an idea it can’t hurt me, if my body wants to protect me then I’ll show it that it’s ok. Panic attacks and anxiety are my friend and allow me to see things others don’t. My mental health builds my character and is like my superpower! And now I embrace I haven’t had a single panic attack since New Year’s. It’s a wound to be healed not a life long suffering. I’ll still have bad days but eh the adrenaline is welcomed when I’m tired! It’s the same feeling as excitement it’s just perception!
Evie Coleman – Mental Health Podcast recommendations!
4) Dear Sugar
My top tip is to listen to these while out on a walk or cleaning the house – both things that I need to do to keep mentally healthy but that I find hard to do sometimes. Listening to podcasts makes self-care tasks easier to get on with. In regards to more “standard” things like therapy and medication, I think they have a time and a place. There have been points in my life where it was absolutely necessary and other points where it wasn’t serving me well. Determining what will help you is half the struggle.
Lorna Denman – When I shower I try to think about how to separate my emotions from practical problems (problems I have no control over for example being upset about paying out to fix a car is pointless.) I try to plan ahead so I don’t get stressed out at the last minute. I push myself to do things which scare me, last year I visited Poland alone. I also listen to the radio to remind me life’s going on outside my mind. And visiting the ocean or mountains puts things into perspective for me.
Charlotte Samantha – Gardening, it’s definitely the most therapeutic method I’ve found!
Jodie Frost – I try to keep a routine where possible. Especially for sleep. A rested mind is the foundation to a logical mind. The more able I am to reason the better I deal with difficulties and triggers. Exercise is key to the sleep routine also as it reduces night terrors, stress and anxiety to manageable levels. I find the best exercises for my mental health are running long distance (even inside on gym equipment) and heavy gardening (planting, harvesting and hedge pruning). I try to keep in contact with my family and friends as these connections ground me. Learning a new skill or recipe also helps manage my depression and PTSD as they give me positive things to focus on and help feed my mind and body. Clearing things out of the house that are unnecessary, giving old things new purpose or new homes are also handy ways.
Nomi Dordoy – The best thing I’ve ever done for my mental health was purge the toxic people which is the biggest cliché and the hardest thing to do. Reflection is a really good way of looking after my mental health. For a while, I kept a bullet journal and the creativity of that was soothing for my mental health. I see my mental health as levels and as I feel I hit lower and lower I try to pull it back before it gets too bad. I do this by listening to my favourite songs, going out for tea and cake or just seeing people. It’s important to have good people and I’m the luckiest when it comes to friends and family, I’m well aware that not everyone is as fortunate as it’s so easy to push people away when you’re struggling with mental health.
Junita Brannan – I have experienced anxiety (still do), it was once at the point where I couldn’t leave my house. I managed to overcome that by allowing the panic to come over me, accepting it for what it is and letting it pass on its own. I have tried many things for my mental health, now I socialise a bit more, if I stress I take a step back and think – okay I need to do this and this and this – which one is more important. I also go to my mums for dinner once a week and dedicate a few evenings to doing things I love – mostly training my pup because a) he needs it and b) I love it! I draw, anything at all, something I see, think of, feel, touch, anything at all. I study full time also and instead of reading up on my modules, I read a ‘fun’ book, a book I have chosen to read because it has given me interest. I am practising mindfulness and consider what I am doing and realising that at that moment, I am doing that one thing- nothing else.
If you'd like to join in the conversation, leave your thoughts in the comments box below or tweet us @KettleMag, we'd love to hear from you.