Just like your physical health, there are actions you can take to improve your mental health. Having great mental health means being able to adjust to whatever life throws at you and feeling confident to be able to rise to any challenges that you face. You could be on your way to stressing less by following a few small steps…
Try to have some fun.
Make sure to spend time doing things that you enjoy. Hobbies, activities and interests help you to focus on the enjoyable things in life and give you a break from stresses and worries that may be impacting you. Ride a bike, read a book, draw, sew, go bowling, go to the movies, play with your kids and pets, do whatever you think might be fun. There are no “right” ways to have fun so just pick something that you think you might like.
Engage with others.
Spending time with others can help to improve your personal wellbeing. Strong personal relationships can help to buffer feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. If you don’t feel as though you have enough supportive people in your life try to improve your personal connections with others, or make some new personal connections.
Seek out people with common interests.
It can be helpful to our wellbeing to have people in our lives that share the same interests as ourselves. Joining the local sports club, birding club, craft group, book club, walking group, car club or alternative group can be a good way to connect with others and help us feel a sense of belonging to our community.
Helping those around us can assist us to feel good about ourselves and can help reduce our focus on the stresses in our own lives. There are numerous ways we can help those around us. Help a friend, family member or a neighbour, volunteer to support a charity, get involved at your child’s school or become part of a community management committee whose aims you support.
Exercising helps to produce hormones that help us to feel good and stress less. All types of physical activity can be helpful. Go for a walk or a run, bikeride, go kayaking, surf, dance, bushwalk or swim. You don’t need any fancy gym equipment, just get yourself moving!
Don’t forget sleep is important!
Get plenty of regular sleep. Sleep allows us to recharge and prepare ourselves for the following day. The amount of sleep that people need is variable but aim to have enough sleep so that you don’t feel excessively tired during the day and can focus on the tasks that you wish to undertake. If you find yourself getting easily overwhelmed and not coping well with things, it could be an indicator that you are not getting enough sleep.
Learn something new.
Learning new skills and undertaking new challenges can help to give us a sense of progress and achievement in life. It doesn’t have to be complicated if you don’t want it to be, it can be a simple as learning a new recipe, taking on a new work task, or learning how to change a car tyre.
Manage any stress you do feel.
There are various ways to manage the stress that you experience. You might be able to better manage the triggers to your stress by engaging in better time management, for example. Alternatively, if you can’t change the source of your stress you might be able to try stress management strategies like engaging in yoga, relaxation, breathing techniques or meditation.
Notice the here and now.
Spend time paying attention to what is going on right now. Most people find it difficult to just enjoy the present time and can get caught up in thinking about the future or the past, which can increase our stress levels. One technique that can be helpful is to notice our breathing and focus our full attention on it. Try not to focus on anything else for a while.
Ask for help if needed.
Don’t feel as if you have to cope on your own. If life gets tough, remember there are people around who can help you. If you don’t feel as though family or friends can assist there are others that can help. A good option is to talk to a Psychologist or doctor. Let them know what is bothering you. You might be surprised to learn that you have a number of options to deal with your concerns.