Managing mental health and wellbeing

Monday, May 18, 2020

Mental health and wellbeing

With October being regarded as Mental Health Month, and the mental health challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic widely accepted, there is plenty of understanding and support to generate wellness.

Taking responsibility for managing our mental health and wellbeing is critical to getting through any tough time. One of the most important things you can do is to be patient with yourself. Learning how to deal with mental stress can take time. We’ve provided some strategies to consider below.

Exercise regularly

Many of us may find regular exercising slipping off our daily to-do lists. But exercise isn’t just about being physically active (although that’s important too); even just going for a walk every day can help improve your outlook. Research from the Black Dog Institute has found that as little as an hour a week of exercise can be highly effective at fighting depression.

If you’re a regular exerciser, you’re probably familiar with the endorphin rush and subsequent improved mood you often experience after a workout. That’s because exercise provides a wide range of mental health benefits, from building resilience to distracting you from negative thoughts and improving memory and sleep.

The good news is, you don’t have to exercise for long to start reaping the mental health benefits. According to a 2017 study led by the Black Dog Institute, regular exercise of any intensity can prevent future depression, regardless of your age or gender.

Talk about how you’re doing

While we are now able to move about with a little more freedom, it is not unusual to have a range of feelings to deal with. Many of us could be feeling anxious or fearful of going back into the community, while others may be experiencing depression or worry about a range of issues including employment, health, family or money. Mental health difficulties across the spectrum have been highlighted by the pandemic. There is now very little stigma around mental health problems. If you’ve been struggling, you may want to take some leave or reduce your workload to help with recovery. Your feedback may encourage your employer to make changes that could help your current and future colleagues. Don’t be ashamed to rely on your friends and family to help you get through.

Looking after yourself includes eating well

Mental exhaustion can make it difficult to shop and prepare meals for yourself but eating a poor diet supplemented with alcohol is a recipe for a longer recovery. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals will make you feel better and will help with building up your depleted immune system. There is now evidence that gut health is linked to mental health so eating foods that are good for your gut could be helpful. Remember to get a little sunshine each day for some vitamin D. Create a daily schedule that includes self-care so there’s always time for your health.

Do things you enjoy

Carve out time to pursue the things that make you happy. Perhaps it’s playing a musical instrument, doing yoga, reading, photography, playing video games — whatever makes you feel good. Allowing space for the things you enjoy can lift your mood and give you a much-deserved break.

Keep in touch with people but take it slow

While you need to get plenty of rest, it’s just as important to keep in touch with people. While we slowly open up, it will probably take some time to find a new rhythm. It’s okay to take it slow and be patient with yourself as you get used to the changes. Don’t feel like you have to rush out and visit family and friends immediately simply because you can. Adjust to life in your own time and tweak things when it feels comfortable to do so.

Reduce your media consumption

Staying up to date is good, but it’s important to give yourself a break from the news, especially when if it causes you to feel anxious or overwhelmed.

Try regular meditation

Try to think positively and envisage a better future for yourself. Surround yourself with supportive and positive people who can help you maintain a positive outlook on life. Mindfulness and meditation has been proven to help with anxiety, stress and depression and are worth looking into. It will keep you focussed on practical, positive thought patterns and activities.

Seek out support if you need it

Help is here if you need it. If your mental health is suffering, chat to your doctor about a mental health plan. There are also a number of organisations who can help to support you in managing your wellbeing.

    • Lifeline Australia –  Provide access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
      Website: www.lifeline.org.au Telehone: 13 11 14
    • Beyond Blue – Provides information, and support for depression, anxiety and suicide prevention.
      Website: www.beyondblue.org.au Telephone: 1300 224 636
    • Headspace – Provides young people with information and resources on mental health, physical health, work and study support, and alcohol and other drug services.
      Website: www.headspace.org.au Telephone: 1800 650 890
    • 1800 Respect – Provides 24 hour support to people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.
      Website: www.1800respect.org.au Telephone: 1800 737 732
    • Mindspot – Provides free effective internet delivered psychological assessment and treatment for stress, anxiety, worry, depression, low mood, OCD and trauma (PTSD).
      Website: www.mindspot.org.au Telephone: 1800 614 434
    • Kids Helpline – Provides private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.
      Website: www.kidshelpline.com.au Telephone: 1800 55 1800
    • National Debt Helpline – Helps people tackle their debt problems.
      Website: www.ndh.org.au Telephone: 1800 007 007

 

For information about additional organisations, resources, and online mental wellbeing apps, please visit our mental health resources page for contact details.

 

We’re here to support our learners and clients during this time, if you have any questions please contact us!

 

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