Five things to keep mentally healthy
I'm going to talk to you about something quite personal, but I feel that it needs to be said. Mental health is a topic that doesn't get enough attention. As much as I love social media, I believe that it has had a negative impact on the mental wellbeing of millions of people. Fear of missing out, low self esteem and body image issues are all very real problems that many young people face today behind closed doors.
I've never really opened up like this in such a public way before, but I know what it feels like to feel anxious and self conscious to the point that it stops me doing some very basic tasks. It's something that I've struggled with for a number of years and to this day there are things that I struggle with.
I want to share with you five things that I do that really help my mind be in a healthy place. I'm sure that there are more people than the official numbers say that suffer from anxiety and other mental health demons due to the nature of the beast. So if by me writing this can help someone even in a small way, I'd like to hope sharing what helps me can make a difference to somebody.
I absolutely love walking and I think its the biggest thing that keeps me happy. Sticking my headphones in, cutting the world out and just walking with no route planned. I'm lucky enough to live by the coast and walking to and from the beach is just heaven to me. Walking lets me gather my thoughts and have time to think. It's not only healthy for your mind, but keeps your heart and overall physical health in good shape too.
Doing a clear out of my social media
There was a BBC news reportrecently that called Instagram the "worst for young mental health" and I can totally see that.
Until very recently, I followed quite a high number of fitness models and gym enthusiasts on Instagram. This meant that the explore page, the page which Instagram suggests posts to you based on your likes and follows was filled with ripped muscle guys and people that I want to look like.
At first, I thought I followed these accounts for motivation. But I realised, no, this isn't motivating me, this is making me feel awful about myself. I realised that I was following people that I don't even know or to be honest cared about, so I thought what is the point in my feed making me feel this way? To tackle this, I did a clear out of people that I didn't really want to follow and I used the "See fewer posts like this" button on the Instagram explore page to clear out this forced image.
Having a routine
I've mentioned this in my blog post about what I've learnt from being at universitybut having a routine and a structure to my week really helps.
During my first and second year of university, I felt drained a lot of the time because I didn't have a bed time, I got up when I wanted to (apart from when I had classes) and generally speaking had no structure to my life. This resulted in me being tired all the time and I felt mentally lost.
Placement followed my second year which meant I was working full time. I have a set bed and wake up time and those simple things really make a big difference. I feel so much happier and healthier because of it. I can see, especially if you're a student, that it must be hard to follow a routine, but I'm going to try my hardest to get myself into one as I go into my final university year in September.
Surrounding myself with people that I love
Family and friends are my support network and I couldn't function without them. Spending time with people is one of the best things to keep my mind healthy because it keeps me active. Going out with people, whether that be on a night out or even to the cinema keeps me happy because it reminds me that I'm not alone and I have truly amazing friends that are so kind, funny and caring.
Talking really does help
Leading on my friends and family being my support network, I know that I can talk to my friends about absolutely anything. Talking and verbalising what's going on in my mind really does help, but I know its the hardest thing to do - feeling like you're stupid for what you're thinking or worrying that people just won't understand. But hand on heart, you're not the only one that feels that way. I promise you. Tell someone, your mum, your nan, your best mate, whoever it may be, just talk.