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Mental health awareness

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Published: 27 May 2020

University of Sunderland in London student at the Santander event

Following on from last week’s article on Kindness, Health and Wellbeing Manager Nancy Bradley talks about how to look after your own mental health and gives advice on the practical things you can do for your mental wellbeing.

We all have mental health in the same way that we all have physical health. Just as each of us will get a cold at some point in our lives, we’ll all experience poor mental wellbeing. It can be caused by everything from environmental factors to social pressures and brain chemistry. Being aware of our mental wellbeing is important. Life can be stressful, which is normal. But it’s worth paying attention to when you go from the regular pattern of ups and downs to something more serious. There are no simple measures of mental wellbeing because everyone is different. But no matter what is happening in your life, you deserve to feel good.

Build positive relationships

Although socialising right now isn’t easy, you can still connect with people.

  • Make time for the people you love – keeping in regular contact with people close to you (whether by phone, text or video call) can strengthen your relationships.
  • Join a group – Connecting with people who have similar interests is a great way to keep connected. If you’d like to start up a new hobby there are plenty of online groups you can use for inspiration.
  • Talk about how you feel – Talking about how you feel with someone you trust can help you to feel understood and supported. Just talking about your feelings out loud can help.
  • Use peer support – speaking to people who are going through the same things as you can be very helpful. Try online support groups like Mind’s Elefriends

Take time for you

Taking time for yourself can help you become more resilient.

  • Try mindfulness – Mindfulness if the practice of becoming more aware of your thoughts and how you’re feeling the moment. It can help you enjoy the world around you more.
  • Learn something new – Learning new skills is not only a good use of time but can boost your self-confidence and give you a sense of achievement. It doesn’t have to be something big or overwhelming, starting small is fine too.
  • Do something you enjoy – Do something that makes you feel good. Try going for a nice long walk, playing an instrument or complete a puzzle.
  • Try relaxation techniques – Doing something that you find relaxing can help to give you a break and reduce your stress levels.

Look after your mental health

If you’re living with a mental health problem, taking steps to look after your mind can improve your wellbeing.

  • Tell people what helps – If you’ve found something that helps you, let people around you know.
  • Spot your early warning signs – Keeping an eye on how you’re feeling can help you spot the signs that you’re becoming unwell. 
  • Keep a mood diary – Tracking your moods can help you find what’s having a  positive or negative impact on your wellbeing.
  • Build your self-esteem – Increasing your self-esteem can help you to feel more confident and able to face challenges.

Look after your physical health

Looking after your body can help you to stay mentally well.

  • Moving – Getting enough physical exercise
  • Eating – The types and amount of food we eat can have a big impact on our mental health
  • Drugs and alcohol – You might feel like drugs and alcohol can increase your confidence, but they can have a very serious effect on your mood.
  • Sleep – Getting too much or too little can be damaging.

Ask for help

If you are struggling with your mental wellbeing you should know that it’s OK to ask for help. There are lots of places you can go for confidential advice.

  • Your GP
  • The University of Sunderland in London’s Health and Wellbeing service.  Email us at londonhealth@sunderland.ac.uk or call 0207 531 7343 from Monday – Friday, 9am - 5pm.
  • The Samaritans – Call them on their 24-hour hotline: 116 123
  • Mind – www.mind.org.uk

It is important to remember that you are not alone and the University is here to support you. If you would like to set up a one-to-one chat with the Health and Wellbeing team, you can contact them at londonhealth@sunderland.ac.uk or call 0207 531 7343.

Find out more by following #WeAreSunLon on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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