Taking care of your mental wellbeing is essential for good health, but many of us fail to fill our own cups. And you don’t have to be feeling stressed, anxious or worried to prioritise your mental health. Everyone, regardless of whether they are experiencing a mental health condition or not, needs to focus on their mental wellbeing to stay balanced and healthy in life.
“Everyone needs to focus on their mental wellbeing to stay balanced and healthy in life.”
We’re all different, and there’s no silver bullet when it comes to improving your mental wellbeing. But there is a range of activities that are known to have beneficial effects on mental health. Here are some popular strategies to help boost your mood, calm your nerves, reduce stress or promote happiness.
Tips to improve your mental wellbeing
Regular physical activity keeps you fit and healthy. Exercise supports better mood, concentration, sleep and overall health. But not everybody loves running, going to the gym, swimming or biking. And there’s no point committing to an exercise you don’t enjoy. It’s important to find a physical activity you can commit to regularly – one that makes you happy and keeps you interested. Being active with a friend or family member can help you enjoy being active more than exercising alone. You’re sharing the experience with someone you trust and like. Plus, you’ll have an accountability buddy who can motivate you and keep you focused when times get tough.
Get enough “me” time
When you’re busy and caught up with life, it’s easy to overlook your mental health. But if your daily routine isn’t leaving you any time to focus on yourself, it’s time to pull back on your commitments. “Me time” doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive (though there’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence!). A warm bath, bushwalk, short meditation, or quiet time away from your family or housemates are simple steps that can help you to relax and rejuvenate. “Me time” allows you to separate yourself from the busyness of life, slow down, be mindful and quiet your mind.
Connect with people around you
Community builds connection, and humans are social creatures – yet in modern life, many of us are spending increasing amounts of time alone. Working at home, raising young families and COVID-19 restrictions can limit the opportunities we have to interact with other people in real life. Connecting online or in person with friends and family members you trust, and bring out the best in you, will help support a better mood. Schedule a regular time to reach out to your connections. If you’re able to meet up in person, go for walks, meet for coffee or just sit and talk. If you’re limited to online interactions, try chatting while going for a walk or spending time outdoors.
Volunteer your time
Volunteering helps you feel good because you’re helping others and asking for nothing in return. See if a local charity needs help, or clean out your closet and donate your unwanted clothes. Even the simple act of picking up rubbish with your kids may help boost your mood, knowing you’ve done something small that makes a huge difference. Just be aware that giving too much of yourself to others can feel draining. Before you commit to dedicate to a volunteer organisation, make sure you have enough time.
Nourish your body
Just as a healthy diet supports a healthy mind and body, an unhealthy diet makes you feel worse – inside and out. Aim to eat mostly fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Avoid processed foods high in salt and sugar, and limit alcohol and caffeine. Drink plenty of water and speak to a GP, dietitian or nutritionist if you want help putting together a healthy eating plan.
Ask for help
If you’re struggling to cope, it’s essential to talk about your feelings and ask for help. The first and often hardest step is acknowledging there is a problem and asking for help. Reach out to friends, family, or a trusted health professional. You can also phone the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and speak to a counsellor.
Suicide Call Back Service is a nationwide telephone and online counselling service. The service provides free support to anyone who is affected by suicide. Our professional counsellors have specialist skills in working with suicide-related issues and can help clients to work through the pain and distress they may be feeling.
If it is an emergency, please call 000.