he commencement of a new year is a great time to reassess how you will take care of yourself and your wellbeing over the coming 12 months. Taking care of your mental health is something you need to focus on each day. Consistency is the key. By doing so you build resilience in preparation for those times when things may become more challenging. It is during these times that we rely on the good habits that we have cultivated around taking care of our mental health to help get us through.
If we also understand the triggers in our lives that lead to increases in our stress levels, then when they occur, we can acknowledge them and focus on things that will help to alleviate the stress.
Here are some ideas to help you to manage your wellbeing:
Look after yourself
Taking care of you is not a selfish act. Take time to eat well no matter how busy you are. Drink plenty of water. Exercise regularly. Exercise is one of the key activities I do daily to look after my mental health. Do your best to get enough sleep. My aim is between 7-8hrs per night so I can function effectively each day.
Focus on your breathing. Especially when you are feeling stressed or anxious. Take a moment to stop and take evenly spaced breaths – try to use your whole diaphragm. Do this whenever you feel your stress levels increase.
We are social by nature. It is important to stay connected so you do not feel alone. Reach out to family and friends and talk honestly with them about how you’re feeling. It may feel uncomfortable at first so first try choosing someone who you know will be supportive.
Do something you enjoy
I love doing things I really enjoy. It puts a smile on my face. Doing something you like can improve your confidence and help you stay well. Make time to do things you enjoy, like working in the garden, painting, listening to music or reading.
Challenge your negative thoughts
We all have negative thoughts; however, it is how we manage them that is important. Question the facts behind your thoughts and assumptions, rather than letting them dictate your mindset. Try focusing on the positive things in your life and for what you are grateful.
Take the Beyond Blue Mental Health Check-In
Completing the check-in will help you understand what kind of support you might need right now. Beyond Blue are here to help you find that support.
You will be asked 10 questions about how you’ve been feeling over the past 4 weeks. Your answers will help:
- Measure your level of distress
- Help you find the support that’s right for you.
Your answers and your result are anonymous. You can decide what you want to do with your result. Beyond Blue will give you some recommendations to get you started.
The check-in is an evidence-based assessment known as the K10. It’s commonly used by Australian GPs (doctors) and mental health professionals to understand the level of support you may need.
Here is the link: Beyond Blue Mental Health Check-In
What will happen after the check-in?
- Find out what range of distress you fall into, ranging from low to very high.
- Learn what that means.
- Get recommendations about what steps to take next.
- Get help to find the support that’s right for you.
Beyond Blue won’t diagnose you with a mental health condition. Only a mental health professional can give you a diagnosis.
Seek out support
We all have good days and bad days. Then there are those days when something isn’t quite right, you’ve got something on your mind, or things just seem too much.
It can make a real difference having someone to talk to. To hear what you have to say. And to give you advice.
Beyond Blues free mental health services help connect you to that person. Here are some options:
Connect with Beyond Blues online peer support community
Anonymously read, share and learn from people who understand what you’re going through. Posts are moderated by qualified counsellors. Share your lived experience with our welcoming peer support community at the Beyond Blue Forums.
Here is the link: https://forums.beyondblue.org.au/
Talk or chat online to a counsellor
If you’re going through a hard time right now, the Beyond Blue Support Service is available 24/7 for brief counselling. Their counsellors will listen and help you find the extra mental health help you need.
Get free, confidential counselling by calling a counsellor on 1300 22 4636
Find a mental health professional
Looking for ongoing mental health services? Beyond Blue explain what different mental health professionals do and how to find one near you.
Here is the link: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/find-a-mental-health-professional
Beyond Blue works with the community to improve mental health and prevent suicide, so that all people in Australia can achieve their best possible mental health. They have been providing supports and services to people in Australia for 20 years. I have been a speaker for Beyond Blue for over 5 years.