It’s important for everyone to take care of their mental and physical health but when researching, it can be overwhelming and you may not know where to start.
Our mental health and sport & physical activity project manager, Nicola, has shared her top tips to help you.
Connect with others
Staying connected with others is so important and the feelings of being close to somebody, being valued and appreciated can really help to improve our mood and overall sense of wellbeing. Having strong social relationships is something many of us need and it means a lot to know we are not on our own and that there is somebody to connect with. ‘Connect’ also forms part of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and there are so many different ways we can connect with others.
For example, have a chat with a friend or family member on the phone, do an activity such as a quiz with others whilst on the phone or a video call, write a letter to a friend, family member or neighbour or you can even play online games on Facebook messenger and houseparty.
There is also something quite different to try, called ‘Mayathon’, which is a free app. This is an initiative designed to help people to connect virtually with someone whilst getting active and as a result, feeling happier and healthier. Take a look at the link below for more information:
Be Kind to Yourself
Being kind to yourself is a really important action to take to help improve your mental health and overall wellbeing. Sometimes life can move so fast it can feel like things are going at a hundred miles per hour… which can make it hard to catch a breath and slow down. However, making a conscious effort to take a step back from the busy, sometimes quite chaotic and confusing day to day life, can help us to reset and relax our minds and bodies. This can be quite a challenging thing to do but it is important to remember that we all need time to ourselves to unwind, slow down and recharge.
If you make a plan to do something or achieve a task but don’t quite manage it, don’t feel guilty or give yourself a hard time as every new day presents a new opportunity and a chance to fulfill plans or tasks. By listening to our bodies, we will start to recognise what we need to do to make steps to look after our physical and mental health and how to be kind to ourselves.
Try to move more and sit down less
It is well documented that physical activity, moving more and sitting down less can not only improve our physical health but can be so beneficial to our mental health. Something to really take note of is the fact that anything counts… however small it may seem! You don’t have to run a marathon or set your targets too high; do something that you are comfortable with, enjoy, and that allows you to have fun!
Examples of ways to move more can include walking a dog at a brisk pace, dancing to your favourite music, gardening, putting some extra effort into the housework, getting up from your desk to walk around and stretch and walking up and down the stairs or around the garden. Being physically active, exercising and moving will release endorphins, which are hormones that make us feel good and happy; therefore helping to boost our wellbeing and improve mental health.
Establish a routine
Having a daily routine can give you structure and may help with motivation towards achieving goals or targets. When thinking about establishing a routine, it is important to find out what works for you and what will suit your lifestyle. Things to consider when creating a routine can be:
- The time you get up every day
- Setting regular meal times
- Finding the best time for you to be active / exercise
- When to access social media and when to switch off
- Setting time aside to unwind, relax and recharge
- The time you go to bed every day
Remember, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t stick rigidly to anything you set yourself or if some days your usual routine is just not working; this can happen in our ever-changing world. However, having some kind of structure and daily routine in place to refer back to is beneficial and can help to refocus your mind.
This page will be updated regularly with new tips to help you with your physical and mental health.