Have you ever asked Google what to do about stress, anxiety or depression? If so, you’re not alone. UK based healthcare provider Priory Group found that, in the UK, people search for depression on Google 27 times a minute. Google searches for stress are made 22 times a minute and 21 times a minute for anxiety. What’s going on?
As Google is the leading search engine in the world, the fact that people search these terms with such frequency reveals that people are hungry for solutions to the conditions that impact on their mental health. Sadly this is a topic that plays out in my day to day experience of working with professionals & SME’s in Coaching by SMK. Stress, anxiety and fear always comes up in conversation about work, but often these people don’t know how to address it.
While there is a lot of information online about how to improve your mental health, there is so much information that people can get lost in articles and not come away with actionable solutions. People might read an article, get some ideas but struggle with creating actionable tips and the HOW to implementing them. So, today, I want to share with you some actionable tips, but I’m going to keep them really simple.
Five Simple Strategies for Minding Your Mental Health
- Eat Soul Food
I’m not a dietician and I’m not here to tell you what foods are good for your brain and which are not. But we do know that there are certain foods which make us feel better than others.
Water hydrates us, helping our brain to function better and making us less sleepy during the day. Healthy foods do a similar job, they feed our body and our mind. So, to look after your mental health be aware of what foods you’re eating. The vast amount of the happy hormone, serotonin, is produced in the gut in response to the foods we’re digesting. If your gut’s not happy, chances are the rest of you won’t be either.
- Guard Your ‘Me Time’
‘Me time’ is not selfish. It is a necessary element of every day to keep yourself healthy, happy and balanced. With that in mind, get strict with yourself and others about wasting it. Your lunch break? That’s yours, time for you to relax, eat and de-stress in whatever works best for you.
- Are you having a laugh?
No? You should be! We all need a bit of humour in our lives. There’s nothing like a good laugh to lift our mood. Do you remember that Robin Williams film, Patch Adams? It’s loosely based on the real-life story of Dr. Hunter ‘Patch’ Adams, who promotes the importance of humour and play in healthcare. The science is there to back it up.
If you’re feeling stressed take a few minutes to watch a comedy clip on YouTube or have a chat with that friend who always leaves you in stitches. It’s not hard, but it can do your mental health the world of good.
- Get Engrossed in Something Fun
Mindfulness is a concept that we hear a lot of these days. For those of you who don’t get it, think of it as getting lost in something fun and relaxing. You know how you forget about whatever was stressing you out when you’re preoccupied with an activity? That’s the basis of mindfulness.
Any activity that takes you out of your head and makes you focus on the task at hand can help you mind your mental health. Cooking, baking, painting, gardening, playing an instrument, the list goes on and on.
Make time in your life to do something you enjoy and let yourself get lost in it.
- Name & Shame the Imposter
Many of us believe that successful people have it all figured out. Usually, that’s not true. Lots of hugely successful people admit to suffering from imposter syndrome, just like you and me. That’s the feeling we get when things are going so well for us that we can’t quite believe it. We’re waiting for someone to figure out that we’re not the one who should have gotten the promotion, or whatever else it might be.
Imposter syndrome is encountered by practically everyone at some point in their lives. It’s how we deal with it that matters. We can let those fears of inadequacy ruin our chances, or we can name the feeling and tackle it head-on. When you start feeling the symptoms of imposter syndrome and call it out, you are admitting you’re a bit scared ‘cos the stakes are high. It’s ok to be nervous, pushing yourself outside your comfort zone will do that, but you can choose nervous excitement or debilitating worry. Don’t buy into the worry that your imposter is peddling. When you stop buying, he’ll go elsewhere.
Mental Health is Health
Many people still think of mental health as somehow distant and removed from the rest of our health. It isn’t. It’s right there tied up in everything! Our mind can affect our body and our body can affect our mood. So, we need to take an integrated approach to looking after our mental health.
Just as we take Vitamin C during the winter to help boost our immune system and ward off coughs and colds, we need to identify what we need to boost our mental health and ward off burnout, panic attacks, and depression – and then supplement with it every day. If we don’t mind ourselves on a day to day basis, by being aware of how we feel and acknowledging the state of our mental health, it can escalate into something a lot more serious.
This month, I’m delighted to have been invited to speak as a member of a panel at Make a Fuss Live in conjunction with Her.ie. I joined Dublin footballer, Nicole Owens in Farrier & Draper for an evening where we discussed workplace wellness and how to mind your mental health. It was a great event and I hope everyone who attended got something practical from it.
If stress and anxiety are wearing you down, at Coaching by SMK, I can help you identify what you need to do to mind your mental health and put strategies in place to make sure you get what you need. You can book a free 30-minute discovery call on my website, to see if we’re a good match before you commit to anything. Why not try it out, what have you got to lose?