The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted a mental health crisis. We’ve all become more aware of how we’re feeling, developing an ability to recognise when we’re feeling low.
After living through a pandemic, there is no shame in admitting that your mental health may not be where it usually is. Learning how to get your mental health back on track and how to start feeling better again is key to living a happy and healthy life. We’ve rounded up a few ways to help you on this journey.
Getting enough sleep
A good night’s sleep can fix a lot of things and your mental health is one of them. The health benefits of sleep are wide-ranging, with it aiding in recovery and immune response as well as helping to manage and reduce stress. Sleep helps to regulate the chemicals in the brain that manage and control our mood and emotions and so getting six to eight hours of good sleep each night will help to make you feel better in the morning.
Healthy body, healthy mind, that’s what they say. Eating a healthy and balanced diet will not only keep your physical health in check but can contribute to better mental health too. With a healthy diet comes a properly functioning body that is getting all of the nutrients and vitamins it needs. Lacking in certain vitamins such as B12 can actually contribute to lower mood, meaning it’s essential to eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Getting out into the fresh air
Getting outside and enjoying the sunshine can increase your vitamin D intake. Vitamin D helps with regulation of the chemicals, like endorphins and serotonin, that help to regulate mood, feelings of happiness and to cope with stress. It’s important to get outside for between thirty minutes and two hours each day to ensure you get enough vitamin D. If getting outside makes you feel anxious under the current circumstances, rapid Covid-19 tests like the Healgen Antigen test can help to soothe any health worries associated with getting back outdoors.
Exercise is another all-rounder, and like sleep, contributes to a healthy mind by keeping the body healthy, too. Exercise also releases chemicals in your brain which can help to positively change your mood. So, as gyms reopen it might be beneficial to sign up and attend an exercise class or too, and if you’re anxious about indoor classes with other people, the Healgen Antigen test can ensure you’re Covid-19 free before and after class, for peace of mind.
Mindfulness is a term used a lot in relation to mental health and put simply it means being in the present. Practicing mindfulness allows you to take a step back and see anxious or stressful thoughts for what they are, rather than letting them take over. Being mindful is an easy practice and can be performed easily throughout the day. Simple tricks such as noticing the things around you, or the sensations you feel, allow your mind to be pulled back to the present and to disperse spiralling thoughts. Being aware of these thoughts also allows you to recognise them as negative by naming them, i.e. this is an anxious thought. Being able to recognise these thoughts for what they are allows you to have some control over them, making them easier to deal with.
Ask for help
And if it is getting too much, there is no shame in asking for help. Reaching out to a therapist means you are allowing yourself to recognise that you need some help and are taking steps towards getting it. While speaking with friends and family can be very helpful in times of low mental health, sometimes you may need to speak to a professional too.