Mental Health Matters
Everyone goes through ups and downs in life: times where things aren’t going our way, or sad events take place in our lives. Feeling sad every now and then is normal. But sometimes our mental health can really take a hit and you can start to struggle for reasons you might not understand, and it can be difficult to pick yourself up. If you are looking for some ideas for how to start to feel happier, try these things. You may have heard them before, and if so, this is your sign to actually give them a go.
Try & get to the bottom of the problem
Is there something in particular that is causing you to feel sad, that could be worked on to improve your mental health. Or if your feelings are unexplained, perhaps it’s time to speed to a medical professional.
Find your purpose
When you are feeling down, it can be difficult to find the motivation to do anything, whether that’s work, uni or just tidying your bedroom. If you are in a transitional period where you don’t have somewhere you have to be, it’s a good idea to find your reason to get up every day. The easiest way to do this is make a plan or routine, so that when you wake up, you literally have something to get up for. If you are managing to go to work or uni because you have to, but are struggling with other aspects of your life, such as cleaning the house, seeing friends or eating regular meals, then try to schedule these things in, too.
Make the effort to have meaningful conversations every day
Some times in our life are lonelier than others. Perhaps you are unemployed or working from home. Maybe you’re living abroad or far away from loved ones. Our mental health can suffer when we feel isolated and alone. It’s important to feel connected and interact with people in a meaningful way. If you don’t have your loved ones around you, perhaps find a hobby, join a group or start a new class. Volunteering is also a great way to feel useful and a part of something, as well as to meet people and interact. Have a Google to find volunteering opportunities near you that suit your interests and routine.
Do things that you enjoy to switch off & relax
When you are feeling down, it can be difficult to find pleasure in anything. Things that used to bring you joy may not anymore. Even being around friends and family might not make you smile at the moment. But it’s important not to give up trying to feel happier. Any form of exercise and getting your body moving, getting out in the fresh air and changing your environment could help you to start feeling better.
Look after yourself
It’s easy to neglect ourselves when we aren’t feeling good, especially if we are locked away not seeing people anyway. Do some self-care – whatever that means for you. Make sure to keep your body healthy, including eating healthily, drinking less alcohol, and exercising where you can. And keep your mind healthy – try meditation or mindfulness, or just listening to some relaxing music while you take a bath.
Reach out for help if you need it
If you are feeling down for a long period of time, or things seem to be getting worse and you aren’t sure what to do, reach out for help. You could speak to friends and family if you feel comfortable, or contact your GP. There are lots of charities out there that can offer support, including Mind and CALM. You can also find talking therapies in your area where you don’t need a referral from a doctor. It can be scary to tell people how you feel, but it’s so worth it to feel better.
Here are some signs of mental health problems to look out for in your loved ones:
Becoming withdrawn and quiet
Lacking in motivation – slacking at work or with personal hygiene or keeping their room clean
Listen to what they are saying – are they trying to tell you something?
Sleeping a lot, or not sleeping very well, or perhaps over or under eating
Find out more:
Grad Bites: Let’s Talk About Mental Health (Part I)
Grad Bites: Mental Health – Whose Responsibility?