Make time for you
Making simple changes to our lives can make a real difference to our mental health
Life is busy whether you’re at school, uni or work so learning how to beat the stress is vital. Help your mind and body switch off from those pressures. Over exerting yourself can increase mental health problems such as anxiety and depression so it is so important that you give yourself time to relax, it’s part of maintaining a positive mental wellbeing.
There is no harm in taking some time for you. Don’t let yourself (or others!) convince you otherwise. We have a few stress busting techniques but don’t be afraid to try your own.
1. Breathe. It sounds obvious but make the time in your day to have a pause and notice your breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose, let your shoulders drop as you exhale through your mouth. If it’s more comfortable for you, close your eyes. Notice how your chest expands and shrinks with each breath, the feeling as the breath escapes your lips.
2. Get a hobby. Get a hobby away from school and work, switching your brain off from those pressures. You could go at it alone or join a club, whichever you prefer. You’ll get some time out and learn new skills- you could even uncover a hidden talent!
3. Do some exercise. We’re a big advocate of exercise because as we mentioned in Sweat It Out, getting your heart rate up and exercising releases ‘feel good’ hormones. Going to the gym, cycling, horse riding, swimming or team sports such as netball or football are all great ways to exercise. Choose something you love and fit it into your routine to make it regular.
4. Be one with nature. You don’t have to become a tree hugger (no harm done if you’d like to, mind you!) but getting into the great outdoors can be an amazing stress buster. Take a stroll through the park or go feed the ducks. If you’re up for it, try hiking- you could find yourself some incredible views. An old Zen proverb says, ‘You should sit in nature for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re busy, then you should sit for an hour.’
5. Be social. You don’t have to go at stress busting alone! Being in positive company and having a laugh with friends and family can make your moods soar, helping you to wind down.
6. Watch, Read, Listen. Watch a film, read a book or listen to music. Escapism is an effective way to immerse yourself in something new and chill down.
7. Yoga, Tai Chi & Pilates. These activtites are all based around learning controlled movements and breathing techniques. The physical engagement and stretching of muscles also contribute to relaxation. Try out a local class, or give it a go in the comfort of your own home. Plenty of routines are available on YouTube.
8. Take a bath. The trusty, age-old trick of relaxation- but it works! At the end of a busy day, run yourself a warm bath and dim down the lights. The warm water can soothe stiff muscles, helping you unwind and even sleep better.
While our techinques are designed to help you reduce the stresses of life, sometimes you need to talk to someone properly. If you would like to speak to someone or get more guidance on mental health- visit Young Minds. They are a charity dedicated to fighting for young people’s mental health and will help you on your way.