Mental Health Awareness Week (UK) is the 16th to 22nd May and this year’s theme is ‘relationships.’ Good relationships help you live longer and happier lives with fewer physical and mental health problems.
When it comes to mental wellbeing, different types of relationships are important. Probably the most important relationship is the one that you have with yourself. When mental health is poor, this is usually the first relationship to suffer and may be the hardest to fix. Things that you can do to help improve your relationship with yourself include:
Take Care of Yourself
There are several things you can do to improve the relationship with your mind and body. The most important of them all is probably taking good care of yourself. It may harder to do than it sounds, though, as you have to commit to practising the techniques every day or it is unlikely to work adequately. The key things we can do to take care of ourselves is to make time for:
Get adequate sleep.
If you are still exhausted when the alarm goes off, you have perhaps gone to bed too late. Get into the habit of going to bed an hour earlier for a whole week, no matter how busy you might be – this is about taking care of YOU! Adequate sleep could help improve your mood and energy level, as well as reducing the risk of health complications. Go on, treat yourself!
Improve your nutritional intake
This doesn’t mean ‘go on a diet,’ it just means aiming to choose foods with higher nutritional content, i.e. more vitamins and minerals. I am guilty of eating junk food and microwave meals for convenience and as a result, I without a doubt, have deficiencies. If you just can’t get a few portions of fruit and veg a day, consider visiting your doctor to get a blood test to check for specific deficiencies and address those. Or, take a multivitamin for a short period. The best thing to aim for, of course, is to consume foods that will provide the nutrients you need to give your body a fighting chance. Improving nutrition can reduce fatigue and help improve sleep quality.
Take some exercise.
This doesn’t mean go to the gym and work your ass off! If you are not in the habit of exercising, then just going for a brisk walk is the best thing to do. The fresh air and being outdoors might give your mood a boost, and the exercise may help improve your sleep quality. If you are a regular visitor to the gym, consider changing your routine to boost your workout. Chat to a member of staff at the gym to get some advice.
If you are already suffering from mental illness and struggling, these things are incredibly difficult to do – I know – I am struggling myself. But trying out these things in tiny steps might just give you a small boost. Let’s face it, when struggling, any boost is a bonus!
Searching the internet will reveal many different recommendations that can help you take care of yourself such as yoga, meditation, taking time out for yourself, practising a hobby, doing fun things, etc. the lists are almost endless. But, to be honest, trying to make too many changes at once can be overwhelming and may well sabotage your chances of any success. A few small changes at a time might give you a fighting chance of being successful at improving how you take care of yourself. Once you have mastered those above and are doing them all regularly, then perhaps consider slowly introducing additional things that interest you.
Your relationship with yourself and how you look after your mind and body is important. It is your life and your life is all about YOU. Put yourself first – you are worth it!
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