Mind your Mental Health
A good rule of thumb when you are feeling down or anxious is to check in with your body and see what it needs; are you hungry, thirsty or tired? Your mind and body are not separate so everything that happens in your mind is happening in your body. Therefore, it’s a good bet that if you don’t feel great, your body’s needs have may not been met. You have other social and emotional needs too. These include connecting with other people and/or having something to look forward to. Here are six things you can do today to improve your mental health.
1. Drink Some water
And you can do this one right now while you are reading! According to Health Line, even mild dehydration, that is fluid loss of 1-3% can negatively affect your mood, concentration and memory. Also, not drinking enough water can contribute to headaches, fatigue and anxiety, which can be very bad for our mental health.
There is a myth that if you want to stay alert and concentrate, you need coffee and so I say this as a serious coffee drinker: what your brain needs is more water. Caffeine can also trigger hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) flare-ups in some people whereas water does not.
I find it hard to remember to drink water, but two things have helped me to remember to stay hydrated.
· Filling a reusable water bottle and having it beside me no matter what I’m doing.
· A phone app that beeps and reminds me that I haven’t had any water in a while.
2. Give yourself a compliment
I don’t think we do this enough even though all of us are good at lots of things. That could be our jobs, painting, playing music or maybe you just did your eyeshadow well this morning. It doesn’t matter what it is, take a minute and tell yourself you are great.
Socialisation is how we are trained by those closely involved in our development to behave in our society.
Because of this, in much of western society, children learn not to show off or “get too big-headed.” The lessons we learn as children become internalised and therefore become part of our self-talk. Self-talk is the running narrative we have in our heads all the time. As a result of this, many of us have low self-esteem which affects our mental health.
Next time you are checking your work, first of all, admire it! It is yours and it is wonderful. Tell yourself it is. If it’s not yet complete it will be soon, you’ve got this.
3. Make Plans with a Friend
Fulfilling relationships are essential to our mental health so take the time today to check in with someone, even if it is by text. Make plans to see them. That can be a plan to meet by video chat or to go for coffee someday soon.Making plans is important in times like these because it gives us something to look forward to. Checking in with friends or family will help you stay connected to the world and feel less isolated. Loneliness and isolation are not good for our mental health, so once we begin to feel lonely, we have to take action.
4. Tell someone you love them
It seems like most of us don’t tell the people around us how much we love them. We don’t tell them we are proud of them or what they mean in our lives. Communicating feelings is essential to bonding and saying how you feel out loud to the person will strengthen your relationship, not make it weird.
5. Make time to play with a pet.
Pets are simple because all they know is that you are here with them. They don’t care why; they have their happy little world to live in, and you should join them. Whether that’s an hour of fetch with your dog or helping your cat hunt a piece of string, you will both enjoy it.
6. Go for a walk
Movement is essential to our mental health and keeping our bodies active is one of our most basic needs. Remember what I said at the start, and check what your body needs.
If you can’t go for a walk outside, perhaps you could do a little gentle yoga at home because any movement will be beneficial. Furthermore, you can check out the HidraWear blog for a new collaborative project with yoga instructor, Ana Maria Connely.
Shannon Sweeney is a psychology and sociology student from Ireland. She is also living with HS and has a keen interest in lifestyle, wellbeing, and Hidradenitis Suppurativa.