We all go through periods where life feels particularly challenging, and it’s completely normal to feel stressed or down. But if you’re finding it hard to cope, it’s important to take care of your wellbeing. PAPYRUS is passionate about supporting people to look after themselves, and we want to share some tips on how you can maintain your mental wellbeing.
As you might have noticed, over the month we have been sharing daily videos on our social media channels demonstrating activities and practises members of the PAPYRUS team do as part of their own self-care rituals. Self-care will look different for everyone; what relaxes one person won’t necessarily work for somebody else, so it’s important to find your own techniques.
First, let’s talk about self-care. This means taking the time to look after yourself, both physically and mentally. It’s easy to forget to do this when life gets busy, but trust us, it’s worth making the effort. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Exercise: While we’re not all marathon runners or avid athletes, exercise is a great way to boost your mood and reduce stress. This doesn’t mean you have to join a gym or sign up for your town’s next Tough Mudder – a quick walk in the park or a yoga session at home can do the trick.
Eating well: Eating a balanced diet can help you feel better both physically and mentally. Try to eat plenty of fruit and veg and limit the amount of junk food you eat. That’s not to say you should avoid incorporating some of your favourite comfort foods into your day as that can also have a positive impact when added into a balanced diet.
Getting enough sleep: Sleep is so important for our wellbeing and overall mental health, and we cannot stress enough the importance of making sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep. We recommend aiming for around seven to nine hours a night and try to establish a bedtime routine that helps you wind down before sleep, this might include putting down your phone or turning off your games console earlier and swapping it for a book or podcast.
Connect with others: Spending time with friends and family is an effective way to boost our mental health, and talking about your feelings can be a big help. If you’re struggling to connect with people, there are loads of online communities where you can chat to others who understand and can offer an ear to listen during times when you need it.
Next, let’s talk about stress management. Stress is a normal part of life, but there is no denying it can be overwhelming and debilitating at times. Here are a few techniques you can use to help manage stress:
Mindfulness: Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment and paying attention to your thoughts and feelings. You might want to try mindfulness meditation, which involves focusing on your breathing and being aware of the sensations in your body.
Relaxation: Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery can help you feel more relaxed and less stressed. They can help you slow down and become more comfortable with living in the moment and thinking rationally.
Time management: If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything on your to-do list, try to break your tasks down into smaller, manageable chunks. Prioritise what’s most important and try to avoid procrastination. Approach things step by step, gradually working your way through your to do list, and you’ll find what was once an overwhelming list becomes a much more manageable plan of action.
Support from others: Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. This could be a friend, family member, or professional. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help – it’s a strength, not a weakness.
Finally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or consumed by stress, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are people and organisations out there who can help, so don’t be afraid to reach out. Here are a few places you can turn to:
Your GP: Your GP is a great place to start if you’re feeling down. They can help you get a referral to a mental health professional or appropriate services if you need them.
HOPELINE247: If you find your feelings of stress start to develop into suicidal thoughts and feelings of hopelessness, you can reach out to HOPELINE247 for free, confidential advice and support. Our advisers are trained to help individuals with suicidal thoughts, and they can provide you with the tools and resources you need to manage your feelings.
Mental health charities: There are lots of mental health charities out there that offer support and advice when you’re feeling down. Many of these services are available 24/7 and offer a confidential service so you can talk to them about anything that’s bothering you – no matter how big or small you may think it is.
Self-care and stress management are such an important part of maintaining your mental health. By taking the time to look after yourself, and using techniques to manage stress, you can help to keep your mental wellbeing on track. And if you’re feeling down, remember that you’re not alone – we’re here to support you.