Taking care of your mental health is incredibly important, especially now, with research from British charity Mind showing that many people have suffered more mental illness as a result of the upheaval and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But while looking after your mental health is essential, it’s not always an easy task. When life is difficult, it can be hard to see your way out of it. And even when life is relatively easy, making changes you know you need to make rarely is.
So why not start small? Often the best way to make positive progress is by taking small, gentle steps and focusing on one thing at a time.
There are many things that can have a positive influence on our mental health, from being active and taking care of our physical health to learning new things and connecting with others. For today, though, just focus on one action or change. Here are some examples of what you could do:
- Make a gratitude list. Spending time thinking about what we are grateful for can have a profound impact on how we view ourselves and our lives. From a supportive friend to a roof over your head, what do you feel grateful for?
- Go for a walk. Fresh air, sunlight and gentle exercise can make a big difference to your mental wellbeing. Heading out for a walk can boost your mood, clear your mind and help you de-stress.
- Try a new hobby. From crocheting to gardening, the last six months have seen many people take up new hobbies. The meditative effect of activities like crafts or weeding can help you unwind at the end of a long day, while the satisfaction of producing something new and being creative can also boost your motivation levels.
- Make a tiny attitude adjustment just for today: It can be hard to make and keep promises to yourself long term, but if you can say to yourself “just for today, I won’t get angry or I won’t worry or I’m going to be kind to everyone I meet” each of those adjustments helps you to live a happier, more carefree life. Pick one and stick by it…just for today.
If you’re still not sure what to do, reflect on what you enjoy doing most and go from there, so if you like cooking, try a new recipe, or if you get fulfilment from giving back, find opportunities to do so in your local community.
It’s important to remember that even if the step you are taking seems small, it doesn’t mean it’s not powerful or significant. It can be the start of something new for you, whether that means a new healthy habit that you’re easing into or something bigger altogether; some steps, like talking to one person about your mental health or taking the first step in getting professional support for yourself, can be transformational.
So, what one thing will you do to support your mental health?