This week is Mental Health Awareness and during this week the expectation is to highlight how important it is to look after your mental wellbeing and to be able to identify when others around you may be suffering from poor mental health.
Looking after your own mental wellbeing is extremely important, it can affect every aspect of your life if you do not tend to it. Mental wellbeing is not just about what you do, it is equally about what you should try not to do.
Let's look at what you should not do first:
You should make sure your working hours are fixed and that work does not consume your life, making sure you take adequate breaks throughout the day too.
Make sure you do not take on too much, this is applicable not only to work life but also home life, being the person who takes on everyone's problems and tries to fix everything will zap your wellbeing.
Do not skip meals, eating is important for fueling your body and your brain is a muscle that needs energy.
So what should you be doing to help your mental wellbeing?
Make sure you get adequate rest and sleep. Burning the candle at both ends will zap your brain and it will not
work efficiently until you give it enough rest again.
Taking regular exercise will help your circulation system, providing more oxygen to your brain to help it function. Just getting up out of a chair and walking around your environment will help you but going outside and grabbing fresh air at the same time is even better.
Eat healthy food, make sure you are getting adequate vitamins and minerals in your diet to help your body to function properly.
Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, keeping hydrated is also important in regulating your body's hormones etc. which will allow your body (including your brain) to work to it's maximum performance.
Avoid alcohol and drugs. If you do drink then make sure you stick to the recommended amounts. Alcohol and drugs can affect the brain causing delays in processing and this is only improved once the alcohol and drugs have come out of the system and the body/brain is adequately hydrated again.
Talking to others helps you to communicate your emotions, receive and give support and form relationships.
Taking up a hobby helps your brain to remain healthy as you relax and gain more information on the things that you enjoy.
We believe that mental wellbeing is so important at Dorset Carers Hub and Community Share that we have invested in training to be able to run Mental Health First Aid courses. Your mental health is as important as your physical health. You look after your feet if they hurt by raising and resting them but if your brain is hurting then do you listen to that as much or keep ignoring it until it turns into something more major? Symptoms that your wellbeing is struggling could be; feeling low, anxious, withdrawn, teary, angry, impatient, unable to concentrate. This list is not exhaustive and there are many other symptoms that can show that someone's mental wellbeing is struggling. Look out for signs of these in those around you, someone could be struggling right now but not know how to cope. Talk to them, ask them how they feel, you could make a difference to someone's life by just asking are they ok? and talking to them.
Take 5, help someone to survive.