Tips for Mental Health
Life is full of ups and downs and we all go through challenging periods. This is not something to be ashamed about, it is a part of being human. Thankfully, there are a bunch of things we can do to look after our mental health. Here’s some ideas that might help.
Look after your body: Our physical health and mental health are linked. How often do you feel joyful when you have a bad cold? Eating well, getting enough sleep and moving our bodies is good for us! Don’t aim for perfection, just improvement. Maybe a little less sugar, a little more sleep, and an extra brisk walk around the block. The important thing is to introduce steps that are realistic – perhaps even things you enjoy.
Look after your mind: Mindset is central to our mental health. What are your beliefs about your life and what happens to you? You might have heard about a “growth mindset”, popularised by Carol Dweck. Learning from setbacks and challenges can become a powerful tool. Other ways to look after our minds include meditation, breathing exercises, journaling or starting a gratitude practice. Reflecting on you values can be useful if it’s not something you’ve done before. Take a look at this article from Transitioning Well for a practical approach to values.
Practice coping strategies: We cope with a situation through what we do and how we feel about it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed then stop to check in on the assumptions you’re making. (Step 1) Is there anything you can do to change your situation? Can you fix the problem that’s causing you stress? (Step 2) How can you change the way you see your situation? Try taking a different perspective and reframe what’s happening. (Step 3) What can you do to reduce your stress? Take a look at the blog about coping for more ideas on ways to reduce stress.
Connect with others: When going through a challenging time it can be tempting to shut ourselves away. However, human beings are wired for connection and it is a crucial part of mental health. Although it can be difficult at times, try to stay connected to others schedule in time: catch-up for coffee, give someone a phone call, email an old friend or strike up a conversation with the barista. Any connection counts. It’s important to practice empathy and supporting others makes us feel good too!
When it comes to our mental health, we don’t need to go at it alone. Your local GP can be a great place to start if you are experiencing distress. They may be able to provide you with further referrals and a mental health care plan. In addition, there are lots of free and helpful resources out there, take a look at:
- Beyond Blue: One of Australia’s leading mental health organisations, the website is full of great information and advice for people from all walks of life.
- Black Dog Institute: Another leading mental health organisation that provides a lot of great resources and information.
- Head to Health: Provided by the Australian Department of Health, Head to Health can help you find digital mental health services from some of Australia’s most trusted mental health organisations.
- Lifeline: Provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Phone 13 11 14
- National Seniors Australia: A great place to stay informed about the issues impacting older Australians.
- Smiling Mind: Numerous studies have shown that mindfulness can help us navigate challenging times. There are a range of useful mindfulness apps available such as Smiling Mind, which you can download for free.
- SuperFriend: Try this confidential quiz to check-in on your wellbeing, includes tips on managing your mental health and making your own self-care action plan.
Looking after our mental health is essential. We all go through challenges but with the right support and advice we can get through it.