“Keeping Well” – Look after your mental health
We’re used to hearing about the importance of looking after our physical health – such as the advice to eat five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables per day – but we’re less used to talking about keeping mentally well. However, there are lots of things we can all do to look after our mental health – whether or not we’ve had any kind of long-term health condition.
We share here a number of practical ways that we can all promote our best possible mental health. And rather than thinking of good mental health as the lack of mental illness or the absence of worry and stress, it should really be seen as a set of coping resources that helps us deal with everyday life better.
Practical ways to look after your mental health
We provide below some practical suggestions of the kinds of steps you can take to keep well and look after your mental health
There are five steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing. If you approach them with an open mind and try them out, you can judge the results yourself.
- Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships.
- Be active – you don't have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find the activity that you njoy and make it a part of your life.
- Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence.
- Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new relationships.
- Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your feelings and thoughts, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness", and it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
You can get further ideas here, with tips from Mind’s Five Ways to Wellbeing resource:
Also, the Mental Health Foundation has produced a guide: “How to Look After Your Mental Health” which you can download for free. This contains 10 practical areas that you can take action on.
The above list is not exhaustive. In order to maintain and strengthen your mental and emotional health, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Check out our section on Mind Waves as well, with some extra “keeping well” tips and ideas, created by local people - Community Voices for Wellbeing.