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Useful Articles - 12 Ways to Maintain Mental Wellbeing and Combat Depression

We all have mental health just as we all have physical health. We all know about how to keep ourselves in good physical shape, some people do this well and others not so well. But do we all know how to keep ourselves in good mental shape?

This guide will suggest 12 practical ways of looking after your mental health.

1. Keep Physically Active

Scientists believe that exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Frequent exercising can help raise your levels of self-confidence and self-esteem as well as keeping your brain and other vital body organs in good shape. All it takes is just 30 minutes of exercise a day for a minimum of 5 days a week.

2. Eat Well

A well-balanced diet that is good for your body is also good for your brain and, ultimately, your mental health. A healthy diet could include:

  • Lots of water
  • Oily fish
  • A wide variety of vegetables and fruit
  • Wholegrain cereals and bread
  • Raw nuts and seeds
  • Dairy products (in moderation)

Restrict the amount of alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks as these can have a detrimental effect on you.

3. Drink in Moderation

For some alcohol helps reduce fear and a feeling of loneliness but whatever the reason for consuming it, the effect is short-lived. The recommended daily limits are as follows and you would be wise to stick within these guidelines:

  • Two to three units a day for women.
  • Three to four units a day for men.

4. Value Yourself and Others

When you look around you, you will notice that some people are good at one thing, such as making people laugh, or several things, such as cookery, gardening, sport, and so on. We are all unique and just because we might not have the same skills as others does not mean that we can undervalue ourselves.

5. Talk About Your Feelings

Contrary to what you may believe, talking about your feelings is very mentally healthy and will help you deal with difficult times. Talking to others about what you are going through means you are taking control of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy. It is not a sign of weakness; it is rather a sign of strength. Think about the old saying “two heads are better than one” is so true, talking to others about.

6. Keep in Touch With Family and Friends

The stresses of life can feel much easier with the love and support of close family and good friends. Being among family and friends will give you a sense of inclusion and of being cared for, they can provide different perspectives on what you may be going through, offer advice or personal experience that may be relevant for you.

7. Care for Others

There will be times when people around you need help and support and someone to listen to their troubles. Helping others in their time of need can be very rewarding and uplifting for you and help you forget about your difficulties at the same time.

8. Get Involved, Make a Contribution

Taking an active part in family life, with your friends, the community and in the workplace can really enhance your sense of belonging and give you purpose in your life. Rather than shrinking away from these activities, throw yourself into them with real enthusiasm, be the instigator or organizer and watch how you self-esteem and self-confidence grows.

9. Learn a New Skill

Learning a new skill can be like learning to walk again. It exposes you to new concepts, new ideas, new experiences and can be great fun along the way. Many of us have things we have always wanted to do but never got around to it. What is yours and consider what it is that has stopped us pursuing our dream.

When you are in the process of learning, you will experience a sense of achievement and ultimately success when you have mastered the new skill and this will further feed your feelings of self-worth, self-confidence and personal value.

10. Do Something Creative

In addition to learning a new skill, many of us have existing pastimes that we love doing but sometimes don’t get chance to practice. Lots of people like being creative, developing things from scratch and enjoying the process of completing the task.

11. Take a Break

Sometimes we can be so involved in our work and busy life that we forget to take a break. Sometimes we kid ourselves we take a break when we eat lunch at the desk or have hot drinks on the go, but this is an illusion and is detrimental to good mental health. What it really needs is a change of scenery, a short walk, a sit down during housekeeping, or even a long weekend away. This is the time you can de-stress and have some much needed ‘me time’.

12. Ask for Help

We all have mental health and we are all humans. Everyone can get overwhelmed at times by what is going on around them or within their head. Not everything goes according to plan, or always goes right or we always feel well. Your family and friends may be the right people to talk to but there are many other options as well, such as:

  • Support groups for weight, alcohol or drugs
  • Coaches, counselors, or therapists
  • Citizen advice bureau
  • Mental health charities, such as MIND, the Depression Alliance, the Mental Health Foundation and Stand to Reason
  • The Samaritans
  • Local authorities