In the midst of a pandemic we’ve all become overtly aware of our own (and each other’s) mental health. If nothing else, COVID-19 has been a stark reminder that it’s our health and happiness that matters the most. May is officially known as Mental Health Awareness Month. Did you know May has been Mental Health Awareness Month since way back in 1949? This month, we're helping to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues so many experience.
So, what can you do to look after your mental health?
1. Lean on family and friends
Surround yourself with a great support circle and, most importantly, keep in touch. Calls, video calls, messages, meet for walks in the park and coffees. They’re all going to help combat loneliness. It’s all about helping one another and your support system is there to help you during rough times.
2. Stay active
That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hit the gym hard—unless that’s your thing. It simply means putting some music on and dancing around the living room or doing some cleaning. Most of us don’t have a home gym but there are some great apps and videos to help you stay active. Here’s 20 minutes to get you started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0YBDXB8dv4
3. Get some sun
Getting some sun is a great way to improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress. That doesn’t mean you need to sunbathe for hours. Just make sure you’re opening your curtains every morning to let as much light in as possible. Or even arrange a new comfortable place to sit by a window to soak up that sunlight. What’s more, the sun’s a great source of Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet—sot there’s another reason for getting some rays.
4. Book in some me-time
It’s important to make sure you’re filling your time in ways that make you happy. Cleaning or homework works for some. But books, magazines and podcasts are great ways to escape. While learning something new, getting crafty and solving puzzles can give you a real sense of achievement. Or, maybe just hanging out and watching movies is your jam. Whatever you prefer, don't forget to save yourself some me-time to relax.
5. Check your media consumption
Doomscrolling. It’s a real thing and we’re all guilty of it at some point or another. “[It’s] mindlessly scrolling through negative news articles, social media posts, or other content-sharing platforms. Essentially, it's reading one negative story after another.” - verywellmind.com.
6. Limit your social media intake
Social media has a tendency to make us feel inferior. When friends and family are posting the great things they’re doing we can feel like we’re missing out but it’s important to remind ourselves that people only post the good things that are happening, not the times that they also might be feeling down. If the news and social media channels are making you feel anxious or confused, switch it off or limit what you’re consuming each day.
Try one or two or a few of these things. You might be surprised how much they might help with your mood and inevitably your mental health.
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