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It is fair to say that the last year has not been easy, and many of us feel uncertain about the future. If you are anxious, there are things you can do to look after your mental wellbeing. Self-care describes those activities that make us feel better. If you know what works for you, then you are halfway there! Understanding the steps you can take to improve your mood and reduce your anxiety is key to having a good relationship with yourself and others. So, here are a few suggestions to help you stay positive.
Sleep affects your mind and body, so having a healthy sleep pattern will help you to cope with difficult feelings and experiences. Stress and other distractions can wreak havoc on your sleep, so ensure you stay away from sugar and caffeine before bed, put the technology away, and draw your curtains to maximise your slumber time.
Taking steps to look after your physical health can have a positive impact on your mental health too. Daily exercise, whether it’s a walk, run or yoga session, will help to ease stress, so it’s a really good idea to find time to get those endorphins (happy hormones) flowing.
You may already know what helps you to relax. It could be a bubble bath, a good book or a favourite movie. Incorporating relaxation techniques into your everyday life will do wonders for your mental wellbeing.
Getting into nature or a green environment (such as your local park) is really good for you. Studies have shown that spending time outside helps to lower your blood pressure and reduces fatigue, so you can really benefit from taking part in outdoor activities such as gardening, hiking and cycling.
You are what you eat, as they say, so your diet can make a big difference to how well you feel. Eating the right foods will help to boost your mood, and if you prepare it yourself at home, you will know that you’re feeding your body with the nutrients it needs. Some of the most amazing self-care foods include fatty fish, blueberries, nuts and green, leafy vegetables.
Human beings need to be stimulated socially, so it’s important to stay connected with loved ones to help you feel happy. If you are experiencing anxiety, why not pick up the phone and give a good friend a call? If you have a problem, it is always wise to discuss it with someone you trust. As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. If you don’t have supportive friends or family, there are other ways to make connections. For example, you could try getting to know your neighbours or joining a local book club or sports team.
If you are struggling with your mental health, there are lots of organisations and charities offering support. These include Mind (mental health charity), Anxiety UK (advice for people living with anxiety), Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) (supports men’s mental health), Hearing Voices Network (with local groups across the UK), and No Panic (advice about anxiety disorders including a helpline and recovery groups).
The most important thing is to talk. As well as the support groups listed above, there are many other people you can turn to, including your GP, social worker or teacher. You will feel so much better once you have taken this first step on your road to recovery.