Mental Health Awareness Week insight
This week is mental health awareness week and, with the difficulties we are all facing currently, we thought it was a great time to pull together some tips and ideas for supporting our mood and overall mental health.
We have 17 tips – for no particular reason than that was the number of ideas we had – we’ll add to the list when we have more suggestions.
- Spend as much time as you can outside in the sunshine – the sun’s rays on the skin enable a chemical reaction through which we produce vitamin D, which is vital to support our immune system and has a variety of other functions in the body. Expose as much skin as possible to the sun’s rays with no sunscreen for up to 20 minutes at a time (and longer if you have dark skin).
- Even if the sun is not shining, spend time outdoors each day and walk barefoot, on grass or sand if possible, for 10-15 minutes. This action has been shown to help ‘ground’ us and to boost our energy levels.
- Take time for yourself each day – even if its five minutes each morning to sit and meditate or deep breath or drink a cup of tea or coffee quietly on your own.
- Work on your sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to supporting our mental health. There are a number of things that we can do to support this, including going to bed and getting at around the same time each day, installing blackout curtains or blinds, implementing a night-time wind-down routine and reducing blue light exposure in the evenings. See our blog on 12 tips for better sleep here
- Take a small step towards a goal each day. Some people refer to this as ‘eating the elephant’ – it’s impossible all in one go, but by taking one bite each day, in time the elephant will get smaller and eventually be gone. Just do one thing each day, no matter how small, to help support your mood – take a walk, visit the ocean or the forest, take a bath or meditate for five minutes.
- Include some exercise or movement in your day. Exercise produces endorphins, which help us to feel better. Incorporating 20 minutes of walking, running, swimming, cycling or working out daily is a great start.
- Hug someone – and hold them for more than 20 seconds. This has been shown to release oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that helps us to feel safe, secure and connected.
- Eat a couple of pieces of dark chocolate each day – the higher the cocoa content the better as the flavonoids, caffeine and theobromine in the chocolate help to improve alertness and support immunity.
- Speak to someone – a friend, family member, counsellor or a member of an online group that you are part of. Telling somebody else how you feel can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and provide some relief.
- Join a group of like-minded people. Social media now contains groups for anything and everything and it is easier to find people who are open to what you are feeling.
- Colouring can help to relieve boredom and stress, helping us to focus on something other than negative feelings of anxiety and worry. It is a simple activity that can help to remind us of childhood and is something we do for simplicity and joy. There are many colouring books available specifically for both children and adults.
- Laughter helps to reduce anxiety – watching a comedy can help or chat with a friend who you know makes you laugh.
- Identify what helps you to relax and do it – whether it’s taking a bath (add Epsom salts and essential oils for additional soothing), going for a walk, exercise, meditate, spend time in nature.
- Journaling or writing things down. Like colouring, this provides a physical outlet that can take the mind off our stressful thoughts for a time. Writing our thoughts on paper may also help us to solve problems and identify new ways to tackle an issue that is bothering us.
- Get a dog or another pet. Having a companion who will love you unconditionally provides lots of emotional (and physical) benefits and can help us to relax. See our blog on Why we should all get a pet.
- Eat as well as you are able. Whilst it can be difficult to find the energy to prepare healthy food when we are feeling low, it is worth it. Even if it means throwing together an easy salad that includes green leaves, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, nuts, seeds and perhaps tinned salmon or a boiled egg – this will take 5 minutes and is so much better for us than a piece of toast.
- Include supplements. Particularly if we are not eating well, it may be helpful to supplement omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals and of course friendly bacteria to support our gut (and our gut-brain axis).
To find out more about mental health awareness:
- Time to change website – Mental Health Awareness Week
- Mental Health Organisation – Mental Health Awareness Week
- Mind Organisation – This Mental Health Awareness Week
Want to know more?
Pro-Ven Probiotics aim to provide the best support for both you and your health. If you wish to know more about gut health and staying healthy with your mental health awareness please do not hesitate to call us on 01639 825107 or alternatively, learn more via our blogs or in-depth proven research.
ProVen Probiotics, Unit 2 Christchurch Road, Baglan Industrial Park, Port Talbot, SA12 7DJ. Tel: 01639 825107