Time to talk: Mental Health
In recent years, awareness of mental health issues has increased; more people are talking, being listened to and getting help.
Mental illness has been named as the largest single cause of disability in the UK. It can affect anyone, regardless of their age, gender or ethnicity. Asking for help can be incredibly daunting, but regardless of who you tell, a problem shared really is a problem halved. Talking through your worries and issues with someone, whether a loved one or a therapist, is a huge part of the journey to getting better, but there are a few everyday activities set out by mental health charity Mind, that could help to improve your wellbeing…
Establish a regular sleeping routine
Activities such as listening to music, having a bath and meditation can all help to relax you, meaning you are more likely to get a better night’s sleep. Not only will you feel rested but you’ll have a clearer, calmer head throughout the day.
Diet & exercise
As well as exercise benefiting you physically, there are also many mental health benefits, such as reduced anxiety and improved mood due to the endorphins that are released. Exercising outdoors can increase these benefits, as being surrounded by nature has been proven to help with issues such as depression.
Listen to music. Music can relax and distract you from worries & negative thoughts. Do a tech check. Technology is great at keeping you connected, but if you’re using it a lot then it can contribute to making you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Taking a break, no matter how long, can help relieve stress and anxiety.
Stress is a big factor when it comes to your mental health - it can both cause and be caused by mental health problems. So identify your triggers into regular (e.g monthly bills), one off (an exam or moving house) and ongoing (work problems or caring for a family member). This can help to break your problems down and put things into perspective, giving you a better sense of control.
Mental health problems can make it difficult to explain how you are feeling. Some people find it useful to set up systems for communicating; for example, assigning colours to how you’re feeling.
It can sometimes be easier to say “I’m feeling amber” than to find the words. The key is to find something that works for you.
In Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland, you can turn to LAMP - an independent voluntary organisation who help people to access mental health services. They also offer a special service for carers of people with mental health issues. Visit them at www.lampadvocacy.co.uk. Mind (www.mind.org.uk) is also great for sharing advice and information & help to anyone in need.