It seems like when we talk about mental health, we’re always looking at the negative. You could be labelled anything from ‘retarded’ to ‘schizo’ to ‘nitty’ because people always look at the negative stereotypes of mental health.
But, we all have mental health just like we all have physical health and it is always changing depending on what is going on in your life at the time. If I hit gym 5 times a week and have time to cook proper meals, my body will be healthy. If I’m working bare and not getting time to myself, I might be picking up my spicy wings every day and my body will be unhealthy. Our mental health is like this; if we just hold everything in and put more and more pressure on ourselves, telling ourselves negative comments, our mental health will be worse. But there is loads that we can do to make sure we’re keeping our minds healthy:
1) Get good sleep: You should be aiming for 8 hours sleep a night. Avoid looking at screens before you go bed as this tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime and makes it harder to sleep.
2) Take time for yourself: This can literally be anything. Try to take 20-40mins a day to just doing something that helps you chill.
3) Exercise: It releases endorphins, boosts dopamine and serotonin and just generally makes you feel good about yourself. Certain sports can be a great way to relieve stress (e.g. boxing, football or martial arts) but any kind of exercise 3-5 times a week will improve your mental health.
4) Connect with other people: Whilst taking time for yourself is important, staying connected with other people is good too. It doesn’t have to be many people, but try to spend time with your close ones. Check in with how they’re doing, and let them check in on you. It’s not weakness, it’s being a good friend.
5) Be grateful: There are so many things to be angry about and get frustrated about. Sometimes it can be hard when it feels like you’re constantly fighting a battle to prove yourself and change things. That stuff is important, but if you just fight all the time it drains all your energy. Find 3 things every day to be grateful for- no matter how big or how little. I promise you will go to bed feeling more positive…
Remember, everyone has mental health just like everyone has physical health. It’s really not that deep. We can’t fix all the world’s problems, but we can do a few things every day to take some care of ourselves. Remind yourself and your brothers to take care of themselves because we need you all; it’s a better world with you in it.
Take the NHS Every Mind Matters quiz to see what you can do to support your mental health: