Understanding your mental health
Last reviewed on 02 July 2020
Day to day it can feel like you’re going through every emotion going from happiness to fear to anger, and it can feel exhausting. We’re all dealing with different challenges but our own mental wellbeing is probably an area we should all focus on a little more – it’s probably the kindest thing we can do for ourselves at the moment.
You’re probably thinking about your to do list and how you don’t have time to prioritise you but if you don’t look after you, you’re probably not going to cross everything off your list anyway. And it isn’t as daunting as you may think, there’s some little things we can all do to help ourselves, every day. There’s some science that proves being kind to others makes you feel better too so being kind to both yourself and others has lots of benefits to your mental health.
Understand how you’re feeling
You’re probably going through a wave of emotions and some weeks will go really well and others won’t. How you feel is based on lots of different things and it can feel hard to understand why you’re feeling a certain way.
It’s important for you to be kind to yourself and understanding your own mental health is a really good place to start. That’s why we’ve created the Great Mental Health Quiz - a short quiz to help you think about you and the things you can do to improve your mental health.
Understanding how you’re feeling is really powerful and when you take the quiz you’ll get a personal report with the three things you can easily do to improve your mental health – sometimes having some clear directions on what you can do is really helpful. You can retake the quiz as often as you like and don’t worry no personal data is collected at all.
Recharge your batteries
Unless you’re a professional athlete it’s unlikely you’d be able to run 10 miles every day with no recovery, and it’s very unlikely you’d expect yourself too either. Try to think of your mental health in a similar way, allowing your mind and body to rest and recover is really important for your mental and physical wellbeing.
Making sure you have a good nights’ rest can really help the next day, when you’re fully recharged you’re more likely to think positively and you’ll feel more able to tackle any challenges that come your way. Take a look at this short video for more advice.
Boost your mental energy
Your mental energy has an effect on your wellbeing so try to do some mood boosting things every day.
Try to take a few minutes to reflect on what you’re thankful for, it doesn’t have to be a big thing. By doing this it will help you to appreciate what you’re achieving and enjoying – possibly more than you think. Physical activity like a walk or run can also make you feel better so try to exercise everyday, and remember often the battle to get out of the door is harder than the exercise itself!
Doing this regularly will improve your motivation and enthusiasm which you need to enjoy life. There’s a video here if you want to learn more.
Find the right balance for you
You may feel like you’re juggling a lot of plates at the best of times but coronavirus and how we are living and working has probably increased the pressure quite a lot. If you are feeling the pressure at home or work please let somebody know, talking out loud about how you’re feeling often makes you feel better and hearing yourself speak can sometimes help you figure out what is a priority and what isn’t.
If you’re working from home don’t fall into a habit of checking your phone for emails any more than usual. You need to have boundaries in place to ensure you can focus on yourself and your family and friends – this time is more important than ever. And ensure you take breaks, stretch your legs often and move away from your screen, you’ll probably feel more energised when you come back to it than trying to keep going all day. You can hear more about avoiding burnout here.
Are you ok?
If you aren’t feeling yourself, it’s ok and there is support there for you if you want or need it. Don’t ever feel embarrassed if you need to ask for help, you’re actually being really brave. Remember, in a ‘normal’ non-pandemic year 1 in 4 of us will experience mental health problems and you should try to make your mental health as important as your physical health. Your brain is a physical part of you so in the same way you wouldn’t ignore a broken bone, try not to ignore it if you’re mentally feeling a little bruised or broken. You can hear more about protecting yourself here.
What you can do to help others
Sometimes it’s easy to spot when people in your team aren’t feeling quite right, sometimes it’s not.. The best thing you can do is simply be there for your team and have regular catch ups in place to check in on their wellbeing.
We’re seeing kindness everywhere at the minute. It’s been proven that being kind to others has a positive effect on your own mental health so if you see somebody doing something that impresses you, tell them! You could use the recognition scheme to do this.