It’s been amazing to see so much awareness around world mental health day over the weekend. But what we must remember is this isn’t an issue that occurs once a year. Its not just a certain group of people who live through struggles affecting their mental health. Some triggers can involve the time of year, month, bereavement, or unemployment. This list is endless. And while we know the supports are available and there’s charities that do some amazing work, what can we do take care of ourselves daily? And how can we manage our mental health?
Firstly, “recognition”. There’s certain maintenance we do with our cars before things go wrong, right? We schedule a service, we check the tyres, keep an eye on coolant levels.
What about our waistbands? Before we go on that sun holiday we get “beach bod” ready, post-Christmas the signs of indulgence might start creeping in. The difference between these and our mental health is its not always visible. So how do we recognise when somethings not quite right? Maybe we should be looking at what we can do for general maintenance rather than waiting until we need external help. I spoke to yoga, fitness and wellness coach Deirdre Fitzpatrick from Better My Body for some daily tips we can all practice.
“Ya so we can do some simple little things without any equipment and most of these are free. Here’s my top recommendations:
Become aware of your breath. When you’re driving, when you’re watching TV, in the shower, at your desk, just take a few deep breaths. You may realise you’ve been taking short sharp breaths. You’ll almost immediately feel your shoulders drop and relax.
Calm app is one of my favourites for meditation, relaxation and nature sounds to recommend to beginners. If you’re new to meditation, there’s some fantastic guided courses to get you started.
There are tonnes of videos on YouTube for some gentle stretches. If you don’t have the time or cash to attend regular yoga classes, try a few short videos from YouTube. The difference they’ll make will be immense.
Try upping your water intake. Set a reminder on your phone if you need to, aim for 2 litres a day.
Nature is a great source of downtime, take to the sea for a dip, a walk in the woods, just being outdoors. And in Ireland there’s no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing choices.
Technology can be damaging to our mental health, try unplug for one day from social media and remove unnecessary distractions. Its ok to be bored.
And finally, try a relaxing bath or burning some essential oils. Just enjoy time out, keep it simple”.
Hopefully, some of these tips can remind us to take better care of our mental health.