How to Look After Your Mental Health (Part 2)

Good mental health means we are more likely to have positive self-esteem, engage with others, and live and work productively. Here are some further ways you might be able to boost your mental wellbeing and be better equipped to adapt and manage in times of uncertainty...

You may have already read the first part of this article, but if not do perhaps start there, before continuing below.

These suggestions from the Mental Health Foundation are evidence-based tips that can help you to look after your mental health. You needn't try and take them all on, certainly not at once, but may be able to put one or two of these into action.

6. Ask for help

The first tip we suggested was to talk about your feelings. This though is about actually getting additional support you might need if you feel like things are getting on top of you and you can't cope. Do remember, that none of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things go wrong. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can't cope, ask for help.Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear. Local services are there to help you. For example, you could join a support group like Weight Watchers or Alcoholics Anonymous to help you make changes to your life; find a counsellor to help you deal with your feelings or make a fresh start; call the council about noise nuisance; visit a Citizens Advice Bureau if you want advice on debt.Your GP may be able to refer you to a counsellor. You should consider getting help from your GP if difficult feelings are:stopping you getting on with life; having a big impact on the people you live or work with; affecting your mood over several weeks. Don't be embarrassed about talking to your GP. Over a third of visits to  GPs are about mental health. Your GP may suggest ways you or your family can help you. Or they may refer you to a specialist or another part of the health service.

7. Take a break

A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work or a weekend exploring somewhere new.A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some 'me time' Taking a break may mean being very active. It may mean not doing very much at all. Take a deep breath... and relax. Try yoga or meditation, or just putting your feet up. Listen to your body. If you're really tired, give yourself time to sleep. Without good sleep, our mental health suffers and our concentration goes downhill. Sometimes the world can wait.

8. Do something you're good at

What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself helps beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you're good at it and achieving something boosts your self-esteem. Concentrating on a hobby like gardening or the crossword can help you forget your worries for a while and change your mood. It can be good to have an interest where you're not seen as someone's mum or dad, partner or employee. You're just you.

9. Accept who you are

Some of us make people laugh, some are good at maths, others cook fantastic meals. Some of us share our lifestyle with the people who live close to us, others live very differently.We're all different. It's much healthier to accept that you're unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn. Be proud of who you are. Recognise and accept what you are not good at, but focus on what you can do well.Work out if there's anything about yourself that you still want to change. Are your expectations realistic? If they are, work towards the change in small steps.

10. Care for others

Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together. Why not share your skills more widely by volunteering for a local charity? Helping out can make us feel needed and valued and that boosts our self-esteem. It also helps us see the world from another angle. That can help to put our own problems in perspective. You can find out more about volunteering at for a pet can improve your wellbeing too. The bond between you and your pet can be as strong as between people. Looking after a pet can bring structure to your day and act as a link to other people. Lots of people make friends by chatting to fellow dog walkers.

Don't forget, tips 1-5 are available here