The current pandemic has brought conversations about mental health into the spotlight, as people find ways to cope with isolation, anxiety, and maintain healthy relationships. A healthy mind places us in a stronger position to handle life’s challenges. Here are a few strategies that may help to promote better mental health.
Make an effort to keep in touch with people who care for you. Connecting with others will help to ward off negative feelings and loneliness. A simple chat can improve your mood and mental health. If family or friends do not live close by, connect over the telephone or with video calls. There are also social support services available. Support workers can visit you at home, or support your involvement out in the community.
Create a Routine
Studies have shown that people rely more heavily on habits when stressed. Routines help to create structure in uncertain times. Find a routine that works for you. Tips for a healthy routine include; waking up and going to bed at a similar time each day. Keeping up with personal hygiene and care. Regular times to eat healthy meals. Plan a time for domestic duties. Most importantly, include time for an activity that you enjoy, and some social interaction. Sticking to a routine provides certainty, comfort, and a sense of accomplishment.
Mental Health Exercise
Engaging in mental health exercises can make a huge difference, and it’s not as overwhelming as it sounds. Mental health exercises can be as simple as taking ten deep, conscious breaths. Focus on breathing in while silently counting to five, and counting to five again as you exhale. Another tip is laughter. Laughter is a powerful way to boost your mood. Watch a funny video, or chat to a friend who likes to crack a joke. Taking a moment to laugh will reduce stress levels. Meditation is another great mental health exercise.
Listen to Music
Music can change the way we act, feel and think. If you’re feeling down, there’s nothing better than playing an uplifting song as loud as you can. Don’t be afraid to sing along with it. Upbeat music motivates your brain and gets your body moving. If you need to relax, reduce stress with calming music. You can practice your deep breathing too, with soft music in the background.
Spend time in the Sun
Have you heard of a ‘sunny disposition’? It turns out it’s more than just an expression. Spending a little time in the sun can improve mental health. It increases the levels of serotonin in our brain which promotes happiness and feelings of satisfaction.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, professional support is available:
- Beyond Blue – Phone 1300 22 4636 or visit the website at beyondblue.org.au
- Head to Health – Digital mental health resources at headtohealth.gov.au
- Sane Australia – Phone 1800 18 7263 or visit the website at sane.org
- Your local GP