Mental health to me is just as important, if not more important than physical health. I’m really glad that people have started to speak out and be so honest about their struggles. I know when I was younger that wasn’t the case at all, untill recently, mental health has always been such a taboo subject, and I don’t understand why. The phrase alone seemed to trigger ‘crazy’ connotations to whoever was taking part in the conversation. A combination of the media and societies views, many of which unfortunately still exist. The plus side of so many people exposing their whole lives online, is that so many people now share their stories and struggles, and most importantly, advise on how to cope. And so fortunately, the internet is slowly changing the game for mental health.
I know that I’ve had struggles of my own over the years, and I definitely think they could have been easier to deal with if the internet had been there to help. To understand that mental health is something everyone of us, as humans, have to look after. To help me feel that there wasn’t something wrong with me, that I wasn’t the only one struggling in silence. Because of this, I wanted to share the main things I do to look after my headspace nowadays, and why each of them are so important.
The worst thing for getting bummed out or in a a bit of a mental funk, my number one thing that is guaranteed to help me out is to get outside and go on a walk. Fresh air and daylight just naturally seem to do wonders. I rarely every have an actual destination and it’s probably best that way, as you can just let your little feet take you wherever they fancy, without giving it a second thought. It allows me to actually think about the things that are bothering me and try and get my head straight. Or sometimes I’ll literally think about nothing, just take in my surroundings and enjoy the fresh air. I live by a canal so a walk up and down the canal is always on the cards for me if my head gets a bit stuffy, you know the feeling.
Taking the above a step further, getting your a*se to the gym does absolute wonders for how you feel, mentally and physically. There’s no better feeling, I think, than sauntering staggering out of the gym knowing that you have given that treadmill, or whatever floats you boat, your absolute all. I need to get a lot better as I do only go 1 or 2 times per week, which is not helping with my summer bod goals… Plus I find I always sleep much better on the days that I manage venture out to the gym, and who doesn’t love a solid nights sleep?
As a kid, I was always such a book worm. I was a very important member of the Jacqueline Wilson fan club and got two of her books delivered to my house to read every month. That woman was a saviour for my younger years, and I always related to her characters so strongly. I can’t say that I’ve ever found an author that I connect with like that since JW, and I think it’s probably why I never kept reading up as a habit in my lifestyle, and lost my self-proclaimed bookworm title, and now I’m out to reclaim it. Don’t get me wrong, I have read a quite a few good books over the past few years, but only a couple have managed to really get me hooked, which is probably the reason that I’ve gone a good six months at a time without reaching for a read. However I realised in the later part of 2017 how amazing reading is for relaxing your brain. In today’s world, especially as a blogger, it’s too easy to get caught up online and scroll through your phone, work on your laptop and watch videos in the bath. But ditching all of that for an hour before bed to pick up a good book is golden.
Following on from my last point, getting away from technology and reading a book, the way to really separate myself is the glorious airplane mode. The click of a single button switches my mind off from worrying about remembering to text that person back, or the temptation to refresh facebook for no apparent reason other to scroll past more annoying videos that people have shared (does anyone actually watch them?), or obsessing over what time I should post my next instagram pic, and stressing about if anyone will like it. When I’m on airplane mode, I realise how little everything on my phone actually matters in the grand scheme of things in life, and I often find myself wishing that I was born in the 80’s so I didn’t have this weird technology addiction. It really helps relax my brain for a while, and it’s generally good to just have some time away from the screen.
Watching a Film
This is something I don’t do all too often but want to enjoy a bit more. Luke is such a film geek, and whenever I do switch everything off (airplane mode!) and focus 100% of my attention on watching a good film before bed, I really really enjoy it. I find it hard to commit to a whole film in case I don’t enjoy it, and then it’s 2 hours of my life that I’ll never get back. But whether it’s a film or a series, finding something I can completely focus on and just completely zone out of my own headspace to enjoy, is really good to relax and clear my head of all those niggles that adult life brings.
Not for everyone, I know. But I find when I put effort into making healthy meals it really helps to make me feel better overall, and like I’ve actually got my shit together. Especially when I concentrate on following a recipe book, I try and do this at least 3 nights a week. My adulting level isn’t high enough to be doing this everyday.. maybe one day.
I hope that any of the above might help if you ever find things are getting too much and on top of you. Taking time out to focus on clearing our heads on a regular basis is really important for our wellbeing, and we all need to look after our mental health in the same way we do our physical state. Mental health should be a priority for all of us, we all need to look after our minds.