It’s 2018 and many of us have gym memberships, fitness class subscriptions, and healthy eating plans to pay for each month. It’s fair to say that we’re taking pretty good care of our physical health. There’s no doubt about how crucial looking after your body is on a day to day basis. From working out to watching what you eat, there are many simple ways to make a positive change in your life… and don’t we know it.
But, wait just a minute, health is not all about physical fitness. What about mental health and well-being? A surprising new survey found that Brits spend 50% less time and money on their mental health than they do on their physical health. Even more worryingly, the same study found that one in four of us don’t even know where to start when it comes to improving our everyday mental health.
Overlooking your mental health is a mistake for a wealth of reasons. From depression to anxiety, the population is rife with all manner of problems, many of which we just don’t address. That means that there are thousands upon thousands of people out there who are suffering in silence and unsure of where to turn.
And, even if you feel as though you’re mentally fine and dandy, it still makes sense to take care of this aspect of your lifestyle. Sure, you may think that you already are, but consider what you actually do for your own well-being. When was the last times that you gave this some genuine thought? When was the last time that you actively took steps to improve your sense of security and mental health? If you can’t remember, that could be a problem.
The truth of the matter is that mental health is just as important as physical health. It’s that simple. When you overlook this aspect of your lifestyle, you are doing yourself a disservice. When ignored, mental ailments only get worse and worse. By making small, yet significant changes in your life, you can avoid some of the most common conditions out there before they ever need to affect you at all.
One of the things that you can do for yourself is to invest in your mental health now. That may mean spending a little money on it, but it should be worth it in the end. Just as you likely have no issue paying a gym membership or a fitness class, you should assign a budget to looking after your mental well-being too. Doing so will mean that you are taking the very best care of yourself and your mental state. It may seem a tad over dramatic, but if you deal with this now, it could make all the difference.
How To Improve Your Mental Health
Try online counselling
If you happen to be struggling with a certain issue, but don’t know who to turn to, this could well be the answer. There are many online counseling services out there, which means that you should have no problem finding one that happens to suit you. Of course, there are free ones that you may like to try, but there’s so much more to it than that. Some of the leading online services offer a subscription fee, which means that you can use them whenever you please. It’s worth looking around to see what’s out there.
One of the best is the 7cups system, which is super easy to access. The service lets you talk to a ‘listener’ whenever you please. That person will help you to talk out your issues and come to a solution. If that’s not enough, you can also sign up to their full counselling service, which gives you access to trained professionals.
Join a walking group
When was the last time that you went for a good old-fashioned walk outside? Think about it. It may have been far, far too long. In fact, the same survey found that one in three people in the UK have never been for a walk in the great outdoors. That’s a shocking number, especially since a massive 92% of us acknowledge that getting outdoors is important for our sense of mental wellness.
If you’re worried about walking by yourself, there are plenty of ways to get around that. Why not take a look online and see what walking groups there are in your area. Sure, you may have to pay a small fee to join a group, but it will mean that you get out there and socialise while doing something that will boost your mental well-being in no time.
Check out: Ramblers Walking Groups
When was the last time that you were completely still and relaxed? If you can’t remember, that could be a rather serious issue. Meditation is a way of unburdening your mind so that you can truly switch off and get a break from your day-to-day struggles. If that doesn’t sound like pure bliss, we don’t know what does. So, where should you start when you want to embark on your journey into the weird and wonderful world of meditation?
Well, there are apps out there, such as Headspace, which can help you to get a short burst of this practice on a daily basis. If that’s not enough for you, though, you may find that a class will work better. Since meditation is a major thing these days, you should have no problem finding a class near you.
Take a quick look online and see what you can find. Remember, there are many different styles to the activity – from religious to fitness-focussed classes. Choose one that aligns with what you want to get out of it.
Start a gratitude diary
What are you grateful for? Come on! There must be something! Every single day, there’s sure to be something that makes you smile or cheers you up. Often enough, people overlook the things that brighten up their day but doing so is a real mistake. Whether it’s a great deal you got at the supermarket or a friendly stranger who moved out your way in the street, all these small things make a huge difference to how you feel. You should acknowledge them and remember them.
Keeping a gratitude diary means taking the time to reflect on what has made you happy each and every day. When you have a journal, you can make sure that you understand how much these little things really do matter. For instance, you could set aside 20 minutes at the end of each day to fill it out. Then, when the time comes to look back over it, you will feel more joyful and, crucially, content than ever before.
Get a good night’s sleep
How are you sleeping at night right now? Are you counting sheep at night? If you struggle to nod off when night falls, something is wrong. Resting and recovering from your daily activities is essential. This is the period when your mind switches off and you can get ready for the day that lies ahead. So, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that if you’re getting to sleep at 2am each night, that you’re not giving your body what it really needs.
Of course, there are many ways that you can take your sleep game to the very next level. For example, investing in a new, more comfortable mattress could the answer. Equally, you may want to download an app that helps you rethink the way that you sleep. Apps such as Shleep and Sleep Cycle could be the answer. Try out a few and see what works for you. Everyone is different and so everyone’s sleep style is unique.
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Get a pet!
Okay, this one may sound a little odd, but stick with me here. Have you considered getting a pet? According to the Mental Health Foundation, getting a pet can help reduce mental problems such as stress and anxiety. That means that having a companion in your home could be the answer to your mental woes. What’s more, you will get to look after something and take care of it. That in itself is a mentally healthy thing to do!
So, where should you start? Well, figure out what type of pet you’d like to get. If you’ve never had a pet before, it may be worth going with something low-maintenance, such as a hamster or rat. Alternately, you could get a cat or dog, if you have more time to spare to look after the animal. Consider your lifestyle and what would work for you.
Note: You may want to go to a pet shelter to get a rescue animal! Doing so is one of the kindest ways to get a pet as you give a poor creature a new home. What could be better than that?
Warning: Please ensure you can afford a pet and have the time to care for one. An animal left alone all day because you’re at work isn’t ideal either.