World Mental Health Day

With it being World Mental Health Day today, I thought I would ask the community what exercises they do to look after their health?

I say exercise because I have come to view mental fitness as the same as physical fitness. I believe this is a view that is spreading. Just like you look after yourself physically by exercise or rest, the mind needs the same.

I think I’ll start off. I like to attempt to do the following things at least once a week, sometimes daily:

  1. Stretch my body in the mornings. My muscles tend to get tight so spending 20 mins doing stretches, especially in the mornings, makes my body feel better and my mind.

  2. Plan ahead. Always have an idea of what tasks I need to perform for the day.

  3. Journal my thoughts, both positive and negative. Cannot ignore the negative.

  4. Meditate for 10 mins minimum.

  5. Go the gym, the endorphin rush is phenomenal.

  6. Read. Just a good way to get away from every day life and have some time to myself.

  7. Take control of my finances on a daily basis. I am in debt, but I have a plan to get out of it and sometimes the plan goes a bit awry, but as long as I then re-adjust for that and keep on top of it then I am still in control and feel good.

For me there is definitely a correlation between my physical fitness and mental well being. Sometimes I get home from work and think, nope, don’t want to go the gym tonight. But will then mediate for 10 mins, go to the gym and feel so much better for doing so.

What everyone else? Would love to hear your thoughts, opinions and strategies.

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It depends on the day.

I try and meditate every day for 10 mins (using the Calm app). And I try and eat well, and sleep as best I can.

When I was able to get to a gym I went three times a week and enjoyed it.

I try NOT to plan things because that was a trigger for me, planning things in meticulous detail became my ‘norm’ and when things didn’t go to plan I’d beat myself up for failing (failing at being on time because a bus was delayed, that kind of thing, aren’t brains WEIRD!).

But somedays I don’t do anything, I go to work, I go home, I watch TV, I go to bed. Sometimes that’s all you need to do. I think these things are all about balance, and learning when you don’t have the ‘spoons’ to do what you want and accepting that.

I also ask friends twice if they say ‘I’m fine’ when I ask how they are. Some times people need a little nudge to talk.

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/

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That is interesting. Maybe because of the different levels of detail we plan?

For example, if I’m at work I like to finish off the day creating my to-do-list for the next day so that when I come in I can grab my coffee and start. No need to try and remember what I was upto the day before.

Also when planning my week, I have my daughter on random days, not set. So I look at my calendar and try to fit the gym around that (I aim for 3 a week too) and if I can’t then I have a back-up day just in case.

If I don’t have a plan or routine to follow, I get irritated or stressed depending on the severity of the issue.

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Different personalities. My problems stemming from being a perfectionist.

Although there’s no perfect definition, we understand perfectionism to involve three things: Firstly, the relentless striving for extremely high standards for yourself and/or others that are personally demanding. Secondly, judging your self-worth based largely on your ability to strive for and achieve such unrelenting standards. Thirdly, experiencing negative consequences of setting such demanding standards, yet continuing to go for them despite the huge cost to you.

If this rings bells with anyone, the workbooks available (link below) are a god send.

https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself/Perfectionism

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Swimming, Yoga and daily meditation.

Makes a massive difference for me for anxiety and stress.

Headspace is my recommend. :+1:

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I don’t do anything to look after my mental health. Never considered it was a thing. Should I?

Seeing these lists of things people do for mindfulness and whatnot makes me wonder if I’m a robot or perhaps my normal routine is sufficient to keep my mental balance “by accident”? I definitely don’t do any meditation or anything.

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  1. I exercise around 5 times per week. Just cardio, but it helps me to relax and stay on top of things. It’s a form of mediation in itself. (It’s also the time of day I have some of the best ideas for solving work problems, so I have been known to email myself while exercising)

  2. I’m an introvert, and react strongly to any stimulus - mainly noise. I used to find commuting quite stressful because of everyone else’s music and loud chatter. I now wear earplugs while commuting, and noise-cancelling headphones (sometimes combined with earplugs) whenever I’m trying to focus at work and my colleagues at work are being particularly

  3. I’m lucky enough to work for a company that allows me to work from home whenever I need to. On average, I do this twice a week. I use it for focus work

  4. I allow myself some time off from doing anything else. If I don’t feel like going out, that’s ok

  5. I try not to drink too regularly, though have been known to slip into bad habits - particularly in the lead up to Christmas! A couple of times a year, I take a full month off alcohol, and do a radical detox - cutting right down on unhealthy eating habits, just to reset

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I didn’t really think too much about it either until I found myself being whisked to hospital with suspect heart/lung issues after finding it difficult to breathe as if I had a medicine ball permanently on my chest. Turns out fit as fiddle physically, but build up of stress and anxiety from multiple things (birth/deaths/job security) over a few years had hit.

I would definitely give it a go, even if you think you are mentally healthy. Medication can be excellent to relax, but also to focus and see things in a new perspective.

Usually just ~10-15 mins total. Sometimes a shorter version 3-5min before sleep.

You can either find a class or use an app. I’ve found Headspace app amazing in teaching techniques and if you following all the basic and then pro it slowly teaches and removes prompts so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Nice animations too, it’s like Monzo but for mental health instead of banking. :smile:

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If you feel ok, and are happy then great, you have no mental health issues! Many people don’t.

If there are any little worries/stresses, or just a general ‘meh’, then maybe try something, or at least pay those feelings a little attention.

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Personally, I have no mental health issues - I almost seem to be immune to them, though I’m aware that they could pop up at any time. I guess I naturally look after my mental health, not by a specific routine, but by only doing things that make me happy and not doing things that don’t. I suspect that’s all that would class, for me, as looking after my mental health. I am an extremely happy person, and even when I’ve not been I tend not to be impacted to anywhere near the extent or length of time that others are. I have bad moments, but bounce back from them very quickly. My mental health, in my opinion, is very high.

My husband, however, suffers from severe anxiety. For him, we’ve yet to find anything that does really help and that he feels willing and able to try. He found mental health courses overly patronising and not useful in the slightest, and he’s on medication but suffers the side effects which don’t exactly make for an easy time. His mental health started deteriorating after an illness a decade ago, and seems to be getting worse by the year. The impact is incredible, and clear roads to recovery just do not exist.

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I stay up late so I’m tired the next day, since I’m tired I have to concentrate more at work and gets me through the day.

Not healthy but only thing that works atm.

I’m a big believer in self care, although I think the term has become a bit diluted. I’m not a candles-and-blankets kind of person (though if that works for other people great!). My self care is making time to look after my needs, like cooking a proper meal instead of getting takeaway. But then also indulging in the things that make me happy: video games, memes, listening to music really, really loud.

Oh, and mindfulness! It sounds corny, but it works (for me). +1 to Headspace but there’s other apps like Calm out there can do the same thing.

If you’re interested, I’ve written some more thoughts on my blog - including instructions on how to have a perfect bath.

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Controversial stuff!! (Seriously).
Step 4 is wrong… :wink: you MONSTER.

I’m not a bath person but the best one I’ve found was here, you push a button in the kitchen and it automatically fills the bath to the correct level and set temperature. The bath also refills itself as it detects it’s cooling and maintains the level.

Plus it sunken in and looks into a nice private zen garden.

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No, not this please?

I used to and now have a permanent ringing in my ears and will never hear the sound of silence.

Protect your hearing people, you’ll never know what you have until its gone.

Sorry Richard!

I was a victim in the London Bombings on 07/07/05. Overnight that event flipped me from being an extrovert (recharging my energy by being around people) to becoming introverted (recharging by being alone). I’m also obsessive, and have social anxiety to the point that I’ve even found family birthdays and weddings too difficult.

After a full–on nervous breakdown two years ago (Sunday evening, at the best gig I’ve ever been to; Monday morning, couldn’t get out of bed for a week) I’ve slowly been building my MH back up. Here’s what works for me:

  • Eating well. I have a strange relationship with food and find both shopping for it and cooking it extremely stressful, even though I can cook rather well. I would rather go hungry than go through the stress of cooking, so now I consume Huel twice a day and prepare evening meals sent from HelloFresh. This has also had the effect of becoming a lot healthier, as take–aways aren’t exactly full of fresh ingredients, and the high salt/fat content also affects my mood.

  • Fitness. I gym five times a week, and have found that by using a combination of a fitness app (Freeletics) and my Apple Watch fitness tracker I can harness my particularly obsessive (I don’t have the compulsive bit, thank god) mind for good to get me into the gym. I enjoy swimming and cycling, and have recently walked the London Loop, 250km around London, which balanced my obsession to tick things off against a lovely relaxing recreational activity.

  • Finances. I’ve never had a debt ‘problem’ but planned debt has been a trigger for me recently, so I’ve used Monzo to budget hard, so I could overpay on my personal loan, and have recently cleared it.

  • Mindfulness/Meditation. I use Headspace, can’t recommend it enough. Every day for 10–15 minutes, usually in the middle of the day in the Quiet Room at work. I am at the point where I only need counselling irregularly.

  • Sleep. Learned this from a newsreader friend, and applied it whilst working shifts and nights: If you have to get up early, go to bed early. No tv in the bedroom, and no mobile phone (I use a Google Mini as an alarm). There’s no attention–seeking stimulus in the room. I also fully utilise the Do Not Disturb feature on my phone.

  • Do what I want to do. I know that social situations, even intimate ones with mates, can get to me so I always have an escape plan, and I’ll just say no if it’s too much. I’ve learned that making plans a long way in advance can be counterproductive if I’m on a ‘down’ day when it comes around.

  • I can’t be ‘that friend’ to everyone. This is important for me – it’s easy to get dragged into being the supportive, ever–contactable friend for others with similar MH problems to me, maybe due to being able to understand the situation, but I’ve realised sometimes that puts my own MH in jeopardy, and I’ve learned to say no and put myself first where appropriate. Of course I’m not talking about not responding to acute life–threatening situations, but more the times someone’s own battle with their mind means it could be easy for me to lose the focus on my own battle.

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Wow, I can’t imagine what that would have been like for you.

Thanks for sharing that.

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The latter two are so important. It can be hard saying no, or pulling out of things at the last minute when you realise you can’t, and being the crutch for someone else is equally draining.

Glad you are finding ways to stay healthy.

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Thanks for sharing. That’s both a horrific experience and a positive attitude forced together and I’m sure it has been - and still is - an incredible challenge. Kudos for the post :+1:

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I’d also like to add that mental health issues can start ‘randomly’

I didn’t have any issues that I remember until ~4 years ago and they’ve just manifested. No trauma that I can think of.

I would say if I had some support earlier on then I’d be better off but I do recognise that I can’t open up anymore now.

I can see one of my friends going , but I don’t have the energy to be there for them because whenever I think about it, it just increases my fuckedupness.

I think dealing with it is a long game and you have to learn to manage, work and accept it rather than trying to cure it.

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