Looking after your emotional wellbeing is often overlooked but when neglected, greater problems could arise.
Heart Foundation psychologist Carlye Weiner specialises in supporting clients of all ages to enhance their mental health and wellbeing and shares her tips on how to improve your general state-of-mind.
1. Treat yourself as your own carer.
If you’re like the rest of us, you will compare yourself to what you used to do, what others are doing or what you want to be doing. Most of us fall into the trap of thinking this self-talk is helpful but most of the time, it just makes you feel worse. If you think about the kinds of things you tell yourself, would you say them to a loved one? Probably not. Instead of negative self-talk, treat yourself like your own personal carer and go at a pace that feels right for you, right now. Take stock of all your little wins and focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses.
2. When it comes to health, stick to the basics.
Be sure to stick to taking your prescribed medication, continue seeing your specialist and getting your blood tests done. But, are you sleeping enough? Eating healthy meals regularly? Getting your body moving each day if you can? Do you have friends or community groups to socialise with? Got any plans to look forward to? Think about what helps you relax and be sure to do it. Weiner says you don’t need frills or fancy tricks to keep healthy as sometimes a positive outlook on life is about keeping things rolling along, one step at a time.
3. Get to know yourself (or your new self).
The ‘you’ as you used to know yourself has probably changed and this can be a bit upsetting however, take the time to get to know who you are now. What have you learned about yourself lately? Think about what’s important to you and what your “thing” is – is it nature? Yoga? Painting? What bring you joy today may not be the same as what brought you joy in your youth but pay attention with interest in your new self, rather than judgement, as when you are kind to yourself and open yourself to new experiences, you may uncover hidden talents or even a new and improved you.
4. Seek support. It’s OK to lean on others.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – whether that’s from your partner, friend, doctor, chemist, dietician or mental health worker – whatever your needs, someone can usually provide it and would happily do so. There’s no such thing as a stupid question, so seek out advice from professionals and find others in similar situations to compare notes. Chatting with a stranger, joining a social group or talking to your peers could mean the difference between feeling alone and feeling like someone understands what you’re going through. If you feel like you’re not coping, discuss this with your GP or another trusted health professional. They can help you decide whether you may benefit from a referral to mental health services such as a psychologist or social worker.