It’s World Mental Health Day 2017, and we want to highlight the issues that surround mental health in the work place. We’re bringing you a series of articles which will focus on the kinds of mental health problems people are having, how to cope with them in the work place, how to help those dealing with mental health disorders at work, and tips on how to look after your mental health. To begin we want to highlight how you can look after your mental health at work (even if you’re not working it is still a good idea to keep these tips in mind). So, here are our 4 essential tips to help you look after your mental well being.
- Make sure you have a lunch break:
Whether it’s an hour, forty five minutes, or even half an hour, taking a break from work at lunchtime is very beneficial for mental health. Today, we lead a very sedentary lifestyle, most of us are stuck behind a desk all day. Day-to-day it doesn’t seem to do any noticeable damage, but over time it means we’re lacking exercise, and studies have shown that those who sit all day are at higher risk of developing anxiety or depression. So, with this in mind, make sure you get up during your lunch break and go for a walk! Why not get the whole office involved? Go to a local park for lunch and have a picnic, or arrange a lunch at a local café, there is no reason not to enjoy your lunch break.
- Eat for your mood:
Eating the right foods can not only look after your weight, it can also be instrumental in improving your mental health.
Tryptophan is something that our bodies cannot make for itself, so we have to take it in from the food we eat, and this is important because it helps our body to produce serotonin, which regulates our mood, making us feel content, relaxed, and calm. So as you can see, it is a very good weapon to have in your arsenal against low mood or anxiety. To up your intake of tryptophan eat more poultry, pork, seafood, leafy greens, and eggs. In addition, snack on bananas, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.
Making sure you have a good level of B vitamins in your diet is also a good way to look after your mood, as B vitamins help our body to obtain energy from food, so a lack of it can make you lethargic or depressed. Whole grains are a good source of B vitamins, so make some porridge for breakfast!
- Drink enough water:
It is essential for overall health (including mental health) to drink enough water and stay hydrated. The reason being, if you are dehydrated you can get headaches, fatigue, reduced concentration, mood fluctuations, and slower response time. Get yourself a good (1.2 litre) water bottle and mark how much water you should have drunk by mid-morning, lunchtime, mid-afternoon, and home time. That way you’ll have a visual representation of how hydrated (or dehydrated) you are. If you find plain water boring then why not add some chia seeds, lemon slices, or strawberry? Now you have no excuse to let yourself get dehydrated!
One in three people feel that they suffer from poor sleep, and blame this on stress, computers and taking work home with them. Lack of sleep impacts your entire body, including your brain, and it stops you from functioning properly. So, instead of walking around like a zombie trying to muddle through, invest in your sleep. Have a hot bath, read a book, take a break from your phone, get a good lavender spray, make sure your room is sufficiently dark, and get some well-deserved rest. You’ll be surprised how much a good night’s sleep can impact on your mental well being.
Most importantly, if you feel that you’re struggling with mental health issues, please talk to someone about it. Whether it’s a doctor, a friend, or a mental health charity, there is someone who can help you. We hope these tips inspire you to make sure you’re living a healthy lifestyle, for your body and your brain.