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Mental Health Tips: 10 Really Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Your Wellbeing

Want to take better care of your mental health, but not sure where to start? Check out this list of 10 easy ways to get started.


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If you’ve found managing your mental health trickier than usual over the last couple of years, you’re not alone. The Covid-19 pandemic – followed by an influx of political instability and a cost-of-living crisis – has left us all feeling more wobbly than usual.

And according to research from YouGov and Rethink Mental Illness, the impact of the last couple of years is continuing to show. 

The research, first reported by Metro, found that the nation’s mental health has failed to recover since the ‘dark days’ of the pandemic, with one in four (29%) adults reporting that their mental health is worse now than at the start of 2022.

Of course, no kind of at-home intervention is going to beat professional support – and if you find that your mental health is affecting your ability to function on a daily basis, it’s important to seek help (you can find more information at the bottom of this article). 

But if you’re looking for some simple ways to boost your mental health, then there are plenty of easy methods you can turn to.

To give you the lowdown, we asked Helen Gaynor, an accredited psychotherapist with the Priory Group, to outline the easiest ways to get started. Speaking on behalf of the mental health app My Possible Self, here’s what she had to say.   

(Please note: this article is designed to provide general wellness advice, not to replace mental health treatment or support.)


1. Chase those endorphins

While some people may struggle to feel that post-workout endorphin rush, most of us will find that exercising on a regular basis will make us feel better mentally.

“There is no doubt that physical and mental health are intrinsically linked,” Gaynor says. “Exercise triggers the release of endorphins – the hormones that help combat stress and pain. Physiologically, this can improve your mental health, and that knock-on psychological effect of enjoyment and mood-boosting properties is also great.”

You don’t have to run for miles or push yourself through a grueling HIT workout to reap the benefits of exercise either. While endorphins are only released by the brain when the body experiences pain or is put under stress (for example, during a long run), you can still reap some of the mood-boosting benefits simply by doing an activity you enjoy.

“Just because exercise is good for you, doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore,” Gaynor explains. “You can perform exercise that works for you and makes you happy. Perhaps you could try a yoga class, take stretching breaks every hour, or even throw a dance party.” 


2. Shake up your routine

Trying something new isn’t just a great way to spice up your life – it can also have a positive impact on your mental health, too.

“Learning a new hobby can be a great way to revive your focus and energy,” Gaynor explains. “Even if you don’t discover your new go-to loved activity, just the process of giving something a go is great for your mental health. Some ideas could be to try your hand at poetry, give painting a go or do a pottery-making course. Creative expression in particular is heavily linked to enhanced  wellbeing.”

If the idea of attending a class or trying something completely new feels too overwhelming, try to start with something a little smaller.

“If you don’t feel like committing to a whole new hobby, just mixing things up in a simple way such as trying a new recipe can give you a great sense of achievement,” Gaynor says. “The process of experimentation may help you get out of a rut of bad habits or negative thinking.” 


3. Make sleep a priority

Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t easy for everyone, but if nodding off isn’t a challenge for you, making sure you get enough hours of sleep every night can make a big difference to how you think and feel.

“Sleep isn’t just a non-negotiable for physical health, but for our mental health, too,” Gaynor explains. “ One 2021 study, which examined sleep data from 273,695 adults, found that people who averaged six hours of sleep or less per night were around 2.5 times more likely to report frequent mental distress than those who averaged more than six hours of sleep.”

Even if sleep is difficult for you, carving out time in your day to practise good ‘sleep hygiene’ and get in a routine will help you get started.

“If you’re able, being committed to a sleep schedule that will allow you to get the quality hours that you need, could be invaluable to your mental health,” Gaynor says. “Try to make it a priority for yourself, and don’t be afraid to sacrifice other things to put your quality of sleep first.” 


4. Be more mindful

Mindfulness tends to get brought up a lot in conversations about mental health, and for good reason. But you don’t need to invest in an expensive subscription or know lots about meditation to get started – all you need are the basics.

“Mindfulness is great for so many things, including helping you switch off before bedtime to help get you off to sleep easier,” Gaynor says. “If you’re someone who struggles with a busy brain when you’re trying to sleep, worrying about tasks that need to be done the next day, work, personal issues or even worrying about the fact you’re worrying, then mindfulness will be particularly useful.”

So, what’s the secret to being more mindful? According to Gaynor, all you need to do is focus on three simple areas.

“The concept of mindfulness can often feel daunting but being mindful is easier than you might think,” she says. “The concept can be broken down into three areas; being aware of yourself, your surroundings and your emotions. As you lay in bed, focus on these three areas to distract yourself from a busy mind, which can help clear your thoughts and help you get deeper sleep.” 


5. Make use of free resources

There are plenty of free mental health resources out there – from the NHS website to free apps and guides – you just need to know where to look.

“If you find that you’re struggling, there are so many fantastic resources available to you online,” Gaynor says. “For example, My Possible Self is a free mental health app, which comes recommended on the NHS app library. All of its clinically certified content has been created in collaboration with world leaders in mental healthcare, the Priory Group and customised for digital use.”

She continues: “Some of the core features include an everyday ‘mood tracker’, to help you identify trends and triggers for your mental health, dedicated learning modules on how to tackle anxiety and get better sleep amongst others, and guided mindfulness and meditation sessions.” 


6. Cut down on alcohol

There’s nothing wrong with consuming alcohol in a healthy way – but if you’re struggling with your mental health, or relying on alcohol to help you relax, cutting down could be beneficial.

“If you notice you’re feeling lethargic or struggling to concentrate, then it could well be the glass of wine you had the night before,” Gaynor says. “‘ Hangxiety’ is a real phenomenon, so if you’re struggling, cutting down on alcohol could be a great first step.”

Cutting down on alcohol doesn’t have to feel like a chore, either. From alcohol-free cocktails to tasty soft drinks, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a drink with friends without alcohol coming into the equation. 


7. Do something kind

When you’re feeling low or anxious, it’s easy to become consumed by your own worries or concerns. Turning your attention towards someone else – whether that’s a friend, family member or complete stranger – is often the perfect antidote.

“If you’re feeling low, it may feel counterintuitive to want to go out your way to do something kind for someone else,” Gaynor acknowledges. “However, there is a plethora of academic research that shows being kind to others has a positive impact on your own wellbeing. In a recent YouGov poll, 63% of people responded saying performing an act of kindness was positive for their mental health.”

If you’re short on time or energy, you don’t need to do something big or bold, either.

“This doesn’t have to be a grand gesture,” Gaynor says. “Doing something simple like telling someone you’re grateful for their support, giving a compliment to another or sending flowers to a friend. It will not only make you feel better, but it’s sure to put a smile on the recipient’s face too.” 


8. Have a digital detox

The world is a chaotic place – especially at the moment – so giving yourself time to switch off when you’re feeling overwhelmed is really important.

“A lot of people’s mental health struggles can be related to the influence of social media and screens more generally,” Gaynor says. “It’s very natural to find yourself with feelings of being overwhelmed when there is such a vast amount of content to consume. When you are faced with these feelings, one of the best things you can do is take a break from it all.”

Switching off your phone is the easiest way to do this, but you can also go ahead and make a day out of your digital detox.

“One great way to do this is to organise to spend time with a friend face to face and leave your phone in a drawer the whole time,” Gaynor says. “Just enjoy being present in the moment and away from constantly consuming information on other people’s lives.” 


9. Try journaling

It may sound kind of wishy-washy if you’ve never tried it before, but journaling can be a surprisingly helpful tool for getting any worries, concerns or buried emotions out on the page.

“The process of writing down your thoughts can do a lot to help uncloud a busy mind,” Gaynor explains. “When your thoughts feel scatty and overwhelming, getting them all down on paper can help you to organise them and break them down in to achievable, bite-sized actions. Try to do this as the first point of call when you feel a wave of anxiety coming.”

The key thing to remember, Gaynor explains, is that you don’t have to journal every day to make it a worthwhile activity.

“Journaling is another concept that can sound quite daunting,” she says. “The key thing to remember here is that it doesn’t have to be every day. The commitment of writing your thoughts down every day can be something that puts people off, and then they find they are anxious if they aren’t able to do it on a particular day.” 


10. Get outside

It may sound cliché, but getting outside in nature really can do wonders for your wellbeing.

“During the pandemic, many people found fortitude in getting outside for their allotted one hour walk,” Gaynor says. “Just because Covid-19 is no longer as prevalent and therefore restrictive on us, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t carry over that learning.”

Getting regular exercise isn’t the only reason why heading outside is good for your mental health, either.

“Getting fresh air amongst nature can have a hugely calming effect,” Gaynor explains. “It also allows us to absorb vitamin D from the light, which is a proven mood booster. If stress is getting on top of you, getting fresh air and a walk can be a fantastic coping mechanism.” 

My Possible Self is a free NHS endorsed global mental health app which provides holistic and engaging tools to support and improve the mental wellbeing of all. To find out more, visit www.mypossibleself.com

You can also call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org for confidential support.

Images: Getty

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This post originally appeared on Stylist and was published April 30, 2022. This article is republished here with permission.

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