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Taking care of your mental health

May 12, 2022

As part of our focus on mental health, David Duly, Campus Wellbeing Advisor at the University of Ulster, outlines practical steps for taking care of your mental health.

David Duly, Campus Wellbeing Advisor at the University of Ulster, outlines practical steps for taking care of your mental health.

The importance of our mental health cannot be emphasised enough.

For too long, many of us have allowed our mental wellbeing to suffer, or simply underplayed its value.

The fact is, we can’t view mental health as secondary to physical health. The two are inextricably linked, and it is vital that we all give our mental wellbeing the attention and respect it deserves.

Protecting your mental health doesn’t need to be complicated, expensive, or time-consuming. It can be as simple as:

  1. Taking time for YOU

Having some ‘time out’ is a key habit in improving wellbeing.

While some might see it as being a bit selfish or as time that could be better spent, it is actually an essential part of a self-care routine and doesn’t need to take hours.

Instead, it can be just allowing yourself half an hour without your phone, an unwinding routine before you head to bed at night, or playing some music you love.

  1. Connecting with others

Time alone is great, but so is time with others. Turning to our family and friends for advice and support deepens our emotional connection with them, and improves our overall health and wellbeing.

However, it’s also important to reach out to more formal means of support if you feel overwhelmed – such as your GP, HR team, or a support group.

  1. Staying active

Keeping ourselves physically active is another way in which we can look after our wellbeing. Finding ways to fit more physical activity into each day is an easy way to get active. Maybe take the stairs or, instead of taking the car, why not hop on your bike?

As well as keeping physically active, we need to watch our diet by trying to limit the intake of junk food and choosing healthier options instead.

  1. Getting a hobby

There’s an old saying that the devil makes work for idle hands and the same can be said about our mental health.

As we take on more responsibilities in life, we can often let our personal hobbies and interests fall by the wayside.

This isn’t a good thing for us to do.

Prioritising time for these things has loads of benefits. It lets us learn new skills, connect with others who share similar interests, and take our minds off our worries.

These are just a few things that can make a big difference to our mental health, and it’s important that we make these a part of our daily life. Other steps we can take include reducing alcohol intake and improving our sleep routines.

However, change doesn’t happen overnight. We need to be mindful that, when building a new routine or creating a new lifestyle, these things take time but will be worth it in the long run.

Related: Happiness Officers – coming to an office near you?

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