Tips for managing mental heath and depression
Advice from mental health charity and steps that can help
17 May, 2018
FOR any readers who may be struggling with depression and be unsure of what steps to take, we asked MIND what advice it has to help people manage.
The charity’s head of information, Stephen Buckley, provided the following tips:
Tell someone – If you feel that you may be experiencing prolonged stress or a mental health problem like depression, it is important to speak to someone, such as your GP or friend or family member, as soon as possible so you are not alone in dealing with it and can get the right help and support. It might seem daunting but it is the first step to getting the help and support that’s right for you. Mind has created a free downloadable guide, which can help you prepare for your first appointment with your GP. Visit www.mind.org.uk/findthewords for more information.
Exercise – Exercise is good for your mind as well as your body. Regular exercise can help lift your mood, helps you sleep better, and give you more energy – For some people have found exercise has been as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression
Eating well – Make sure you get a balanced and healthy diet including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, as these are proven to lift mood. Stimulants like sugar, caffeine and alcohol can make feelings of anxiety and stress worse, and leave you feeling lethargic. Eating lots of foods high in fat and carbohydrate can often cause blood sugar to crash, resulting in sluggishness.
Getting outside – Findings from the University of Essex show that getting into an outdoor space can improve mental health, boost self-esteem, improve physical health, and reduce social isolation. This could include gardening, an outdoor sport or even just a stroll in the park.
Mindfulness – Mindfulness can help some people better understand their own thoughts and feelings. It is important, to highlight that although mindfulness can be helpful for some people, we would not recommend it for everyone. Becoming more aware of thoughts and feelings can initially make some people feel worse, especially if you’re feeling very unwell when you begin.
Sleeping well – Not getting enough sleep can affect our mental wellbeing and quality of life. Electrical devices like TVs and smartphones stimulate the brain, making it harder to sleep, try switching off and creating a calm space.
Volunteering for a local charity or community organisation can be a great way of settling in to a new area and the satisfaction of giving something back can improve self-confidence and mood. Volunteers in Mind charity shops can also build up their CV’s by achieving NVQ accreditations on the job. mind.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering-participating
Online support – Lots of people also find online forums helpful, particularly if they are unable to confide in friends or don’t have strong social networks. We would encourage those people to visit online peer support networks like Mind’s Elefriends website (www.elefriends.org.uk) where people can discuss their problems with others who are going through similar experiences and talk about potential solutions.