Everyone knows that exercise is good for our physical health. In fact, you’ve probably heard that in order to stay fit and healthy you should get at least thirty minutes of exercise every day.
But did you know that our mental health also needs looking after in a similar way?
You might be asking, “how do I look after your mental health then?”
Well, let’s start by understanding what it is.
What is ‘mental health’?
Our Mental health has a number of ingredients.
One way to think about mental health is as if it were a cake.
The ingredients of a cake—like butter, sugar, flour and cocoa—are all important, but they can’t make a cake on their own. They all work together to make the cake. In the same way, our mental health includes the important ingredients of our emotional health, our psychological health, and our social well-being. When combined, these aspects form our mental health and affect how we think, feel, and act.
Just like our physical health, there’s quite a lot of different things we can do to improve our mental health. And when our mental health is strong, it’s much easier to deal with stressful life events and have positive relationships. There are also things that can have a negative impact on our mental health and when your mental health is struggling, the things that normally should feel easy feel incredibly hard.
We all experience ups and downs in our mental health, but if you always feel down and can’t find a way to pick yourself up, the best thing to do is to reach out for help. There are a lot of different reasons your mental health could be struggling so it’s good to find out why and put a plan in place.
Situations that can impact our mental health
It’s normal for our mental health to be impacted by the things happening in our lives and around us in the world. Some examples include:
Big life or world events
An example of a big world event that has impacted many people’s mental health is COVID-19. It’s no surprise that a lot of young people are finding it hard to cope with all the uncertainty, fear, life-disrupting rules and new regulations that can impact our work, school, social life and daily routines.
When you experience bullying
If you are being bullied, you can feel frightened, angry, confused or a number of other emotions that can impact your mental health.
When you’re facing challenging relationships
This could include relationships with friends, your family, or teachers to name a few. Maybe something has happened, or something has changed and it has made you feel down.
When you feel alone or isolated
Especially during lockdowns, you may be feeling separated from friends and loved ones that you would have previously seen regularly.