A Guide On
The Benefits of Staying Well
When we enjoy good mental health, we will find it easier to learn, be creative, be more productive, have better relationships with others, have better physical health and it may even improve our life expectancy.
On the other hand, if we are struggling with a mental health condition, it can cause us distress, affects our daily life and relationships, it may contribute to a worsening of our physical health and lead to a shorter life expectancy.
Our mental health is quite complex in nature. Even if we are not struggling with a mental health condition, our mental health may still not be at its best. It can also be true to say that even if we struggle with a mental health condition, we can still feel that we are psychologically in a good place.
We need to be aware of our stress levels in order to maintain a balance that is more conducive to our mental well-being. We can monitor and control our stress levels better by being physically active, eating well, reducing alcohol and non-prescribed drugs. It’s important to be aware and intervene as soon as you recognise the signs that your mental health needs more help.
Experiencing setbacks is normal. We need to learn how to tackle them so that we don’t feel stuck with them. Our loved ones and friends may be of the utmost importance in providing us with the practical and emotional support, as well as being there to listen.
Resilience is about bouncing back when you encounter difficult times. It is an inner strength that helps you rebound from a challenge, a job loss, illness, stress, loved one’s death. Lacking resilience, one might easily over think problems, feel overwhelmed, and turn to unhealthy self-supports such as binge eating and substance abuse. Some good news for you is that resilience is an attitude that anyone can learn. Here are some tips to improve your resilience;
- Get Connected – build positive and strong relationships with loved ones and friends, who can give you the support you need and accept you for who you are in good and bad times.
- Make Every Day Meaningful – do something that gives you a sense of satisfaction and purpose on a daily basis. Set goals, and plan your days.
- Learn from Experience – be open to learn, from any experience be it good or bad. Some of the most life changing lessons are derived from the difficult times.
- Remain Hopeful – the past cannot be changed, but by looking towards the future, and prepare to face and accept change, supports you to adapt and view challenges with less anxiety.
- Self-Care – acknowledge your feelings and your needs. Make sure that you dedicate time to do activities you enjoy, be it; rest, a healthy diet, exercise, a game. This reduces stress, and supports you in feeling revived.
- Be Proactive – do not sit on your problems, but set a plan how to tackle the problem. If it becomes overwhelming, remember to seek help. Seeking help, is a crucial part of becoming resilient.
It takes time to be resilient, and sometimes it feels that progress is not being made. Remember that this is an excercise that takes time and requires daily practice, the same way you would need to practise if you wanted to try a new sport.
We often hear how excercise can help us feel better physically and mentally. A study compared people’s moods after excercising or moving, such as working out or doing housework, and a period of inactivity, such as reading or watching TV. The results showed that people who had just been active were calmer and felt more alert and content when compared to the other group. They also found that the lower the mood was initially, the better it was by the end of the period.
Apart from improving moods, physical activity can also help you get a good night’s sleep and help you feel more energetic throughout the day. Exercising with other people can combat loneliness, and it can also help offer a distraction from worrying or negative thoughts.
Examples of activities to include in your routine:
- Go for a walk or bike ride
- Do some gardening
- Go swimming
- Go to the gym
- Have a bubble bath
- Buy some flowers
- Lie on the beach and read a book
- Get a massage
- Have a home spa day (face mask, manicure, etc)
- Invite a friend over
- Visit a neighbour
- Phone a friend for a chat
- Take your children/pets to the playground or the park.
- Read a book
- Listen to a podcast
- Take up a hobby
- Learn something new
Around the House
- Cook something new
- Listen to music or the radio
- Plan a home improvement project
Away from home
- Help others – Volunteer
- Visit a friend
- Join a class, club or group
- Go to a market
- Visit a museum/art gallery/library
- Go to a movie
What if I’m Really Not Feeling Well?
Self-care is often the hardest to do when you need it the most. When going thorugh a rough patch, it might be difficult to feel motivated to get moving, and you might be frustrated when people urge you to exercise.
Remember that it’s okay to not be okay. It can be easy to start beating yourself up or feel guilty about not doing enough, which often feeds a vicious cycle of making you feel more down.
Check in with yourself to see what you need and give yourself permission to take care of your needs. You might need to rest for a couple of days before you feel well enough to get going again; the most important part is paying attention to what your mind and body is telling you and being mindful of how you decide to care for yourself.