Mental health problems can affect anyone and Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May) is designed to raise awareness of that. Today Jia Xin is sharing some tips that can help improve your mental health.
Have you ever found yourself lying in bed all day? Or maybe getting up every morning seems like an uphill task? Have you ever felt tired all the time despite having adequate sleep the night before? Mental health issues are a common problem among youngsters and adults of this generation due to the stressful, hectic lifestyles and the emergence of technology and social media. As someone suffering from mental health issues myself, I would like to share a few things I do to improve my mental health. Hopefully, this works out for you too!
Exercise/ Go for a walk
I found that exercising is one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety. When you are exercising your body will produce positive hormones which make you feel good after your workout. After working out you will also feel accomplished as well. However, if you don’t feel like working out, you can go for a walk outside especially when it is sunny. Sunlight reduces depression, you will come back feeling more refreshed too. Botanic Gardens is a good place for a walk.
Take a Shower
I know that on some days it’s hard to feel like doing anything. But setting a goal to take a shower will help in many ways. I know it might feel difficult for some to physically stand on the shower for 10-15 minutes, but believe me, after showering, you will feel better. Just think of showering as cleansing off the negativity. You will feel more refreshed after showering as well.
If it is impossible for you to shower, try washing your face or brushing your teeth. You will definitely feel better even though it might feel like an onerous task for you at first.
Talk to a therapist/people you can trust
This is something I often neglect as I always have the tendency to bottle up feelings and thoughts. It might be also due to the stigma surrounding mental health. But it’s important not to keep these feelings to yourself. Instead, the very first step to beat the stigma of mental health is to talk about it.
You can seek help by talking to a therapist about your mental illness, as therapists are professionally trained to help. Some people prefer to talk to therapists as they are strangers to you and this can make it easier to open up about personal problems. The University also provides counselling which might be helpful for some students who need to ease their worries.
Remember it is much better to open up about your problems. If you feel intimidated to talk to a therapist, you can try talking to a friend as a starting point. Even though in the end your friend might not be able to help you specifically, you will feel better after having someone to talk to.
Cut yourself off from toxic people
Sometimes your negative thoughts can cause by being around the wrong people. It is not necessary at all to deal with toxic people, the simple goal here is to surround yourself with positivity especially when your mental health is not the best.
If you feel that you are surrounded by people who are constantly putting you down it won’t help your well-being. You will be surprised but sometimes those so-called “toxic people” can seem like friends! It might be difficult to bluntly cut them out of your life just like, but you can always take it in stages. Always remember that you are doing it for your own good.
Take a break from social media
Social media can be one of the main contributors to negative thinking, especially when we all see a Facebook-Instagram life where people show off their “perfect, happy lifestyles” but never show the less perfect side of it. Many people don’t mention their problems on social media hence making the illusion that everyone is living a happy life and that they have everything figured out. But the truth is, that does not reflect reality.
That’s why social media can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety. If you feel that it is negatively impacting your then maybe consider giving yourself a break from social media. After not using social media for a while you might find yourself happier and less agitated. Another alternative is to clear your social media of accounts that make you feel negative about yourself. Instead, focus on following people who inspire you and make you feel good. Use this way, it can be a powerful tool for positivity.
Read a book
Instead of reading from your phone or tablet, try reading a physical book. You will be surprised how much it calms you down and how much wisdom you will get. It is also a good practice to read a book before going to sleep instead of scrolling social media on your phone – it will make you sleep better. If you are on your phone right before bedtime, the blue light that emits from your phone will deceive your brain that it is still daytime, which hinders your body from producing sleep hormones.
Make sure you get enough sleep
The problem with the modern lifestyle is that there is always so much to do that we often sacrifice our sleeping time to get more things done. But the truth is, you are not likely to get more work done if you are sleep-deprived. If you are sleep-deprived, your concentration level will fall and it sharply decreases your efficiency. It can also impact your mental health in a negative way. If you are sleep-deprived it will further drain your body which makes you even more tired the next day and prone to anxiety.
Over-sleeping is not good for you as well, sometimes we sleep longer than usual thinking to compensate the days where we sleep less. It is not likely to help you get more energized. Instead, you will feel even more tired because your body’s sleep cycle is way disrupted. If you sleep till noon, your brain is also likely to be less-awake. Try to sleep for 7-8 hours a day but no more than that.
These are the steps I take to improve my mental health. Hopefully, by doing those steps you will be able to cleanse your mind and feel a little better.
More from Jia's blog.
Remember, if you are really struggling with negative thoughts and feel like you might be suffering from depression or anxiety, it’s important to talk to someone. The Queen's Student Wellbeing Site has lots of resources to help you.
Jia Xin Chang
LLB Law| 2nd year |MalaysiaI’m a 20-year-old Law student from Malaysia with a weird accent. I’m occasionally talkative, however, I’m a natural introvert. I’m a lone ranger who enjoys her solitude and calmness, but I’m not anti-social. I’m a music lover and I play the piano, and constantly regret not picking up a second instrument when I was younger. I love singing but I’m not vocally trained. I don’t listen to any other music except rock - the heavier the better! Sometimes called weird by my friends, but I prefer to think of myself as unique. I have had an immense passion for writing ever since I was very young, and I write in both English and Chinese. I was the editor of my school bulletin and a student journalist during my high school days. I’m now a casual blogger and I enjoy my job (despite suffering from writer's block all the time). Welcome to my space.
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