This week is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.
And although we are here for a spotlight being put on mental health, we think it’s important to put a focus on minding yourself for the other 51 weeks in the year as well.
We know that a lot of you are under a huge amount of pressure studying at the moment. Unfortunately, exam success seems to sometimes come at a cost to mental health.
Whether you’re struggling to cope with exams or if you’re just feeling a little out of sorts, here’s 5 ways to improve your mental health and start you on a more positive path.
Sweat It Out
Exercise has been proven to help decrease depression and anxiety and improve moods. Find something that you like and do it as much as you can. You don’t have to be aiming for the next Olympics or anything. Even a walk every evening after dinner can really clear out those cobwebs and improve your mind.
The whole notion of #positivevibes can seem really disingenuous when talking about it in relation to mental health. But surrounding yourself with more positivity can do wonders for your mental health. If someone is continuously bringing you down, maybe its time to consider taking a step away from the for a while. Sometimes it’s so much easier to focus on the negatives instead of the positives that are right in front of you.
Gratitude Lists can be a great way to refocus your mind on the positives. Try taking 5 minutes from your day to jot down what you’re grateful for. Some days you might have big things to be thankful for, other days they might be teeny, tiny. It doesn’t matter. They all add up in the long run.
Talk About It
You know what they say—a problem shared is a problem halved. Choose someone who you feel you can trust. Or try talking to someone who might have been in the same situation as you previously. Talking about an issue can make it seem less daunting. Sometimes struggles with mental health can feel like you’re lugging around this big secret every, single second of the day. Talking about it and releasing the “secret” side to it can be very freeing.
Sometimes a close friend can be a good port of call. But if you are seriously struggling with an issue it really is best to confide in an adult. Your parents, or an older relative will always have your back no matter how you might feel. Your school should also have a counselling service which you can avail of. There are also numerous organisations and helplines. More on that below!
Write It Down
If you’re struggling to get the words out or even if you’re not too sure what’s actually bothering you, a great way to release negative thoughts and energy is to write it all down. Be old school in this approach and just take a pen and paper. Once you’re finished don’t read it, see it as being already gone. Rip it up and throw it the bin. Getting out all the words running around in your head can be so cathartic. This can be an especially good exercise if you’re struggling with anger.
If you feel that you would benefit by having someone else know what’s going on with you, but you’re not sure how the conversation will go, again writing it down can be a great way to communicate effectively.
Ask For Help
Missy has put together a list of different helpings available to Irish teens. If you’re stressed-out about the thought of talking to someone who knows you, please take advantage of one of these services. You will not be judged. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness. In-fact it shows great straight. Asking for help is often the most difficult step in improving your mental health.
Why not share your own 5 Ways To Improve Your Mental Health in the comments below?