Seven ways to look after your mental health

Your mental health can have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing. It affects your physical health, how you cope with challenges and your ability to build and maintain relationships. 

Looking after your mental health doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll always be happy or that you won't experience problems, such as depression and anxiety, but it will help you to cope with these situations better. 

While some factors that affect your mental health will be down to your individual needs, here are seven tips to improve your overall wellbeing.

1. Connect with people

Forming and maintaining relationships with other people can be a big part of looking after your mental health. Spending time with others provides you with a support network and gives you a great opportunity to share both positive and negative experiences. 

Whether you see friends or family, these connections can help you feel like you belong and increase your self-worth, which is an important factor in mental wellbeing. 

Try to make time to be with other people in person, where possible, rather than relying on digital connections. Making plans with friends, spending time catching up with family at the end of the day, getting away from your desk to eat lunch with a colleague and even writing letters or having video calls with people you’ve not seen in a while can all be hugely beneficial. 

2. Stay active

Staying active not only looks after your body, but it also looks after your mind. Regular exercise can help you sleep better, feel happier, improve concentration and make you feel better about yourself. It also looks after your physical health, which can have a knock-on positive effect when it comes to your mental wellbeing. 

This doesn’t mean that you need to hit the gym every day. Light exercise can be just as beneficial to your mental and physical health. Going for walks regularly, taking up swimming, finding a weekly exercise class in your area or cycling to and from work will help to boost your activity levels. 

3. Keep learning

Studies have found that developing new skills or continuing with some form of education can have a big impact on your mental wellbeing. Dedicating time to self–development can help improve your self–esteem, allow you to connect with people and give you a sense of purpose.

Learning doesn’t always need to happen in a classroom and it doesn’t have to be something big; simply allowing yourself to find out more about your interests and engage your brain can be incredibly beneficial. Set yourself small goals, such as reading a book a month or finding a new recipe to cook. You can also work your way up to larger goals that fit your schedule and ability level.

4. Reduce stress

Stress can have a huge impact on your mental health, as well as negatively affecting your physical wellbeing. Stress can result in:

  • Anxiety and low moods
  • Frequent illness eg colds and infections
  • Headaches and an inability to focus
  • Poor sleep and low energy
  • Tense muscles
  • Upset stomach

Reducing your stress levels can lighten your mood and help you feel more positive, which will improve your mental health. This is why stress management is important. 

While some stress is unavoidable, there are plenty of ways to mitigate its effects, such as talking to someone, prioritising self-care and leisure time, saying no when you need to and avoiding unhealthy habits. 

5. Take a break

Giving yourself a break and taking a mental health day when you need one can help you feel calmer and more mentally balanced. A mental health day allows you to recharge and relax, without the worries of work or anything else getting in the way. 

Catching up on doing things you enjoy and getting out of the house can help you feel happier. Improving your mood will also likely make you more productive in the following days. 

As well as full days off, it’s important to ensure you give yourself at least a small break every day. This will allow you to relax, meditate or do something you enjoy. This is a small way to practice self-care on a daily basis. 

6. Give back

Research has found that being kind to others can positively affect your mental health. Whether you give a gift, make a donation or show kindness to another person, it can have a positive impact. 

Giving to others can:

  • Give you a sense of reward
  • Give you a feeling of purpose
  • Help you connect with others
  • Improve your self-worth
  • Make you feel more positive

Simple things, such as saying thank you, spending time with people who need company or paying someone a compliment can make a big difference. You might also want to consider volunteering in your community. 

7. Talk to someone

If you’re struggling with your mental health, it can help to talk to someone about it. Talking about what you’re having problems with, whether it's with a friend, family member or professional, such as your GP or a counsellor, can help you work through your feelings. 

One of the worst things you can do is keep your mental health struggles to yourself. Sharing your mental health challenges can make a big difference to your ability to overcome them, as well as help combat the feelings of isolation that often come with mental health struggles. 

You can visit the mental health charity Mind for more information on how to look after your mental health and what support is available.

We hope you've found this article useful, however, it cannot be a substitute for a consultation with a specialist

If you're concerned about symptoms you're experiencing or require further information on the subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Spire hospital.

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Author Information

Cahoot Care Marketing

Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.

Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.

Their writers and editors include care sector workers, healthcare copywriting specialists and NHS trainers, who thoroughly research all topics using reputable sources including the NHS, NICE, relevant Royal Colleges and medical associations.

The Spire Content Hub project was managed by:

Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager

Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences. Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.

Catriona Shaw, Lead Editor

Catriona has an English degree from the University of Southampton and more than 12 years’ experience copy editing across a range of complex topics. She works with a diverse team of writers to create clear and compelling copy to educate and inform.

Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing

Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing. He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.