We all have bad days. Some are worse than others. However, there's often things we can do to improve those days. Sometimes, it's not about what happens to you but how you react to it that makes the difference.
Our mental health can be challenged throughout the day with daily life stresses so it’s important to build it up and take time to look after ourselves. Below are some of the small ways you can do this:
1. Connect with others
- Today, online social networks/apps are a big part of how we communicate with people. While this is a common and easy way to stay in touch with friends and family, meeting others in person for some quality face-to-face time can be a great mood booster and help us feel more connected with people in our lives. This could be something as simple as having a meal with family or watching a feel-good movie with a friend.
2. Move your body
- Doing something active once a day is great for both your body and your mind. It can have a major impact on our mental and emotional health while helping to relieve stress, improve brain function and help us sleep better at night. You can start small by stretching out at the end of the day or going for a short walk or cycle. This can be a fun way to spend more time with friends and family too!
3. Write down something you’re grateful for
- Studies have linked feelings of gratitude to improved well-being and mental health as well as happiness. Try writing down 3 things every day you feel grateful for. These can be as small and specific or as big and general as you like. For example, ‘I am grateful for having a supportive friend’ or ‘I am grateful that the weather is nice today.’
4. Eat a good meal
- Did you know that the brain uses about 20-30% of our energy intake? This makes what we eat very important to our overall health. Generally, eating a wide range of vegetables, protein, fruit, grains and dairy helps.
5. Talk positively about yourself
- Research shows that how you think about yourself can have a powerful effect on how you feel. When we use negative language and words, we can start to see things through a negative lens which can in turn affect our mental health. One of the easiest ways to prevent this is to practice using words that promote feelings of self-worth and confidence. For example, ‘I am proud of myself’ or ‘I am strong’.
6. Focus on one thing
- Between school, friends and hobbies, sometimes we can have days where it feels like every hour is taken up with an activity. One of the ways we can focus on our mental health throughout the day is by being mindful of what we’re doing in the moment. It involves paying attention to the sensations, sounds, smells, or tastes of an experience – be it going for a walk, reading a book or eating lunch. By doing this, we can help reduce the amount of time our mind spends on negative thoughts or worrying.
7. Get a good night’s sleep
- You’ve probably heard this a lot but why is sleep important? Getting good quality sleep does more than just restore our energy. It also helps repair our immune system, lets the brain recharge and helps us process emotional information. A general rule of thumb for getting a good night’s sleep is to go to bed at a regular time each day and turn off screens (phones, tablets, T.V. etc.) one hour before bed.