What is good mental health?

Good mental health is characterised by a person’s ability to fulfil a number of key  activities, including; the ability to learn, the ability to feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions, the ability to form and maintain good relationships with others, the ability to cope with and manage change and uncertainty

For more information about good mental health and wellbeing visit the Mental Health Foundation website.

What is self care?

Self care is looking after yourself, physically, emotionally and mentally.

Its going to bed early when you’re tired, eating healthy (but then sneaking some chocolate). It’s not always easy, but it’s necessary. Small things we take for granted like writing in your journal, drawing or sketching and gaming are all part of self care.

To try and create a more positive outlook there are simple tasks you can do to feel better:

  • Name 3 things that went well today, especially on a bad day, you’d be surprised how one bad thing can take over when really the day was pretty good!
  • Name something you want to do that week, and do it!
  • Treat yourself to that CD, DVD or new bike that you’ve wanted for ages!

Self care tips for good mental health

Many of these tips will seem simple, and will often take a while to start to truly feel the benefits:

  • Eat a good healthy diet. This means getting your 5-a-day, and staying away from energy drinks, too many sweets and drinking more water.
  • Be physically active
  • Sleep. Create a night time routine to help you unwind and let your body know its time to sleep.
  • Meditation. This will help quiet your mind, and be present in the moment.
  • Drink sensibly. Alcohol is a depressant and can drastically effect your mood. Drinking less alcohol can make you feel more positive and sleep better. Stay hydrated with water.
  • Do something you enjoy! Get out your pencils to draw, run a bath and have a soak, dance around your house like no ones watching and feel better as you do something fun!
  • Do nothing at all. Sometimes you need to switch off, lye down and watch Netflix and that’s ok. Recharge and try again tomorrow.

A great resource for ideas for self care and depression is Blurt It Out.

5 Ways to Wellness

1. Connect with other people. Talk to your family and friends in your home, connect online with like-minded people on chats, discord and discussion forums, have a specified tea time with your family.

2. Being active. It is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing

3. Learn a new skill. Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem, helping you to build a sense of purpose and helping you to connect with others. This could be learning to cook a new recipe, trying a new hobby like bike maintenance or enrolling on a college course.

4. Give to others. It could be small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in your local community. This could be as simple as asking someone how they’re doing and really listening to them, saying thank you to someone, helping with a project or make something.

5. Pay attention to the present moment. Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you.

Visit the NHS website for more information.

Covid-19 Mental Wellbeing Advice

Covid-19, like any disease outbreak, is scary. While it is important to stay informed about advice and guidance, we also need to look after our mental health during this time.

Use our 10 Top Tips to help cope with the changes to your day to day life:

1. Stay connected with people

Maintaining healthy relationships with people we trust is important for our mental wellbeing, so think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family while needing to stay at home.

You could try phone calls, video calls or social media instead of meeting in person – whether it’s with people you normally see often or connecting with old friends.

2. Talk about your worries

It’s normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember: it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust – and doing so may help them too.

If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead.

3. Help others

Helping someone else can benefit you as well as them, so try to be a little more understanding of other people’s concerns, worries or behaviours at this time.

Try to think of things you can do to help those around you. Is there a friend or family member nearby you could message? Are there any community groups you could join to support others locally?

Remember, it is important to do this in line with official coronavirus guidance to keep everyone safe.

4. Feel prepared

Working through the implications of staying at home should help you feel more prepared and less concerned. Think through a normal week: how will it be affected and what do you need to do to solve any problems?

If you have not already, you might want to talk with your employer, understand your sick pay and benefits rights, and get hold of some essentials for while you are at home.

You could also think about who you can get help from locally – as well as people you know, lots of local and community help groups are being set up. Try to remember this disruption should only be temporary.

5. Look after your body

Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse.

Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol.

You can leave your house, alone or with members of your household, for 1 form of exercise a day – like a walk, run or bike ride. But make you keep a safe 2-metre distance from others. Or you could try one of our easy 10-minute home workouts.

6. Stick to the facts

Find a credible source you can trust – such as GOV.UK or the NHS website – and fact-check information you get from newsfeeds, social media or other people.

Think about how possibly inaccurate information could affect others too. Try not to share information without fact-checking against credible sources.

You might also want to consider limiting the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak, including on social media, and think about turning off breaking-news alerts on your phone.

You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to a couple of checks a day.

7. Stay on-top of difficult feelings

Concern about the coronavirus outbreak is perfectly normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their daily life.

Try to focus on the things you can control, such as your behaviour, who you speak to, and where and how often you get information.

It’s fine to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, but if constant thoughts about coronavirus are making you feel anxious or overwhelmed, try some ideas to help manage your anxiety or listening to an audio guide.

8. Do things you enjoy

If we are feeling worried, anxious or low, we might stop doing things we usually enjoy. Focusing on your favourite hobby, relaxing indoors or connecting with others can help with anxious thoughts and feelings.

If you cannot do the things you normally enjoy because you are staying at home, think about how you could adapt them, or try something new.

There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, and people are coming up with inventive new ways to do things, like hosting online pub quizzes and music concerts.

9. Focus on the present

Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can help with difficult emotions and improve our wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help some people deal with feelings of anxiety, or you could try our mindful breathing video.

10. Look after your sleep

Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel mentally and physically, so it is important to get enough.

Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep up good sleep hygiene practices – like avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment. See our sleep page for more advice.

Top Tips information taken from NHS Every Mind Matters website.