There’s nothing like being thrown into a pandemic to make you evaluate your mental health. It’s something that I think that we’re probably more aware of now than ever.
In the last few years especially, it almost seems as though ‘well-being’ has become a buzz word to cover all manner of things, so I wanted to investigate further what exactly it means in relation to our mental health.
So what are the components of mental well-being? How can we look after it? And how can looking after it help when we’re facing a particularly challenging point in our lives?
Here’s your guide to what exactly mental well-being is, and how you can go about nurturing it:
What Is It?
Mental well-being describes your mental state; how you are feeling and how you can cope with day to day life.
As we’ve all probably noticed throughout lock down so far, our mental state definitely isn’t fixed. It can change on any given moment, day or week.
The mental health charity, Mind, describes someone as having good mental well-being if: you have a relatively good level of confidence, can feel and express a range of emotions, can build and maintain good relationships, feel engaged with the world around you, live and work productively, can cope with the daily stresses of life, and can adapt in times of change and uncertainty.
Be honest with yourself, are there things on that list that you could benefit from working on? I know that I still struggle with my self-esteem and confidence, and adapting to a lot of change all at once can be challenging. (hello Corona)
How To Look After It
With anything related to our mental health, it all comes down to awareness. Tuning in to why we might be feeling how we are, gives us a potential path to go down in order to make ourselves feel better.
Loss, relationship issues, stress at work, and money worries could all be potential triggers to cause our mental well-being to go off-kilter.
I’m the first to admit that the end of my marriage totally knocked me for six, and lead me into finding more ways to look after my mental well-being because I knew I needed it.
Currently, I find that journaling a great way to keep track of my mood on a daily basis, and often I’ll end up writing something that I wasn’t even really aware was causing me issues.
On days when I’m not feeling quite so in tune with myself, it can simply be a great way just to dump the jumble of thoughts that are going on in my head before I start the day properly. It allows me to think more clearly about the day ahead.
Talk About It
There’s the old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’, and I definitely think it applies here. Talking about whatever is throwing your mental well-being off with a person or people you trust can not only be sounding board and a method of support, but can also help you approach things from a different perspective.
My group of close friends have been great when I wanted to vent about the frustrations of my divorce, and more recently we’ve all been sharing our lock down anxieties. Just chatting with others and knowing you’re not alone in your situation can be a great tonic, and it’s something that I’m passionate about championing.
If you find that after talking things through with the people you trust that you’re still struggling, you may feel that you need to speak to a professional, and that’s totally okay too. You’ll know yourself what feels best.
Make Time For Yourself
Doing things that you enjoy and taking time to take care of yourself really can help get you back to feeling more of ‘yourself’. It’s a great way of maintaining your sense of mental well-being on a daily basis.
As I spoke about in my last post, I make sure I incorporate reading, writing and dancing into my day. It’s what I enjoy most, and is guaranteed to give me a lift.
Think about what you love doing – even as little as 5 to 10 minutes of it a day can help with your mental well-being.
Learning a new hobby or skill can also help boost your mental well-being. It can up your confidence levels and give you sense of achievement. It could be getting crafty with crochet or pom poms (is it just me or are pom poms everywhere at the moment?!) or learning a new language.
Towards the beginning of lock down I started learning Portuguese using Duolingo. If you’ve read my previous blog post, you’ll know that Portugal is one of my favourite places, so it made sense that I learn a few words and phrases. I’ll be honest that I’ve let my daily practice on the app slip, but I definitely want to get back into it again, as I loved the little thrill I got from learning new words.
Have you tried any of theses ways of looking after your mental well-being? Or do you have any of your own ideas? Let me know in the comments.
Featured image from Unsplash
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