Ideas to help improve mental health

In last month’s #beechat, guest hosted by the lovely Duncan of Tales of a Bearded Man, we talked about the January Blues and how we try to combat them. There were many great ideas to help improve your mental health brought up and it got me thinking about my own mental wellbeing.

I think it’s safe to say we all have bad days, however for those who struggle with their mental health, honestly, it can feel even more difficult. Especially this time of year. The holiday period is over and many of us are getting back to normality again.

So today I’d like to share some of my ideas to improve mental health. These are all daily things that have helped me personally, but I know there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to mental health so if one of these doesn’t work for you, feel free to look at other ideas. 😊

Ideas to help improve mental health

Scheduled worry time

First let me start by saying that worrying is completely natural and, I think it’s safe to say, it’s something we all do at somepoint. The issue however is when worrying starts to take over your life, you begin to worry about everything, even hypothetical scenarios that are unlikely to happen. This is me. So when my therapist suggested I try scheduling worry time, in one of my CBT sessions, I was willing to try it and have since added it to my weekly self care routine.

But what is scheduled worry time?

The concept of scheduled worry time is that you limit worrying to a certain time every day, usually 15-20 mintues at the end of the day. So that when you do have a worrisome thought during the course of the day, you can postpone it.

It’s easier said than done and does take a lot of practice to get to grips with it. In fact there are still times when a worrying thought enters my mind and I can’t postpone it, but it definitely helps when I can stick to it. I also find writing down my worries helps.

Be Honest

There were many years where I’d automatically answer ‘fine’ when someone asked how I was. Even if it was farther from the truth. Now I’m learning to be more honest about how I’m feeling and when I answer that question. If I’m sad, I’m sad. If I’m anxious, I’m anxious. If I’m happy, which does happen, then I’m happy.

Of course there are still occasions when the auto response of ‘fine’ comes up, mostly around strangers or colleagues, but it’s a lot less than it was.

Practice self care

Make time in your day or even week to focus on yourself. Whether that’s engaging in one of your favourite hobbies, going for a long walk or binge watching something on TV. Do something that makes you smile and try to treat yourself with kindness and try to avoid self-criticism.

Further reading: My weekly self care routine.

Say goodbye to toxic relationships and surround yourself with good people.

One of the hardest but best things I did for myself was letting go of people that put me down or made me feel worthless. It’s important to have a great support network whether that’s family or friends and it’s more than OK to let go of those that don’t fit into that.

Avoid alcohol

Now I’m not saying you should be teetotal and avoid alcohol completely but that alcohol should be drank in moderation. It’s well known that alcohol is a depressant and sometimes people use alcohol or other drugs to “self-medicate”. But in reality it only aggravates problems.

I have suffered with drinking problems myself, in fact last year I frequently got drunk as a way to numb myself. It wasn’t good for me or my mental health. I now drink alcohol socially and in moderation.

Get help when you need it.

Following on from my last point, it’s important to seek help when you need it. For me this was making that first appointment at my GP and started a course of antidepressants, but this can be different for each of you.

Remember: Seeking help is a sign of strength β€” not a weakness. πŸ’—

Spot your early warning signs.

If you can, try to be aware of how you’re feeling, and if you can spot any signs you might be becoming unwell or on the verge of a bad mental health period. For me it often starts with skin picking or feeling as though my mind is ‘cloudy’.

Stay safe.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or start to have suicidal thoughts or that you may self harm – tell someone. This could be someone in your support network or an organisation such as the Samaritans.

These are a few of the organisation’s that have helped me personally:-

Do you have any other ideas to help improve mental health? Let me know in the comments and, if you’d like some further reading, I’d recommend checking out Ruth in Revolt and The Curvaceous Vegan. Both of which have some great mental health posts. 😊

48 thoughts on “Ideas to help improve mental health

  1. Lellalee says:

    I love the notion of scheduled worry time! This is genius, it makes so much sense! I also believe that riding yourself of toxic people and toxic relationships is fundamental to well being! A lesson I learnt the hard way xxx

    • Kim says:

      Thanks for your comment lovely. πŸ™‚ I swear by ‘worry time’ since I started doing it. It takes a lot of practice but hasn’t definitely helped me so far. I also learnt that the hard way – twice in fact.

  2. Sara says:

    Mental health is so important! Thanks for sharing these ideas, Kim. I couldn’t agree more with surrounding yourself with those who uplift you.

  3. Jordanne / Ofaglasgowgirl says:

    Fab post kim! I think scheduling worry time is a great idea, I think I will have to try that one. My MH hasn’t been the best lately and I really needed to read a post like this. Practicing self care is such an important point, I’ve been doing that a lot more this year. And I would definitely urge anyone who may need it to seek help, It can make such a difference.

    Jordanne //

    • Kim says:

      Thanks for your comment Jordanne and I’m sorry to hear you’ve been struggling with your MH recently. πŸ™ I hope things get easier for you.

  4. Alexx says:

    This is an awesome list. I’ve definitely been feeling down lately. The stresses of life are really just getting to me lately. I definitely need to incorporate some of these suggestions into my life right now. Thank you!

    πŸ’— Alexx | Aesthetics by Alexx

  5. Nicola says:

    These are some great tips. I like the idea of scheduling worry time – I’ve heard that before but it’s harder for me to put into practice. I’m also not very good at being honest about how I’m feeling – I always answer ‘fine’ too. Thanks for sharing this post, I will try to implement these tips.


    • Kim says:

      Thanks for your comment Nicola. I know when I first started ‘worry time’, I couldn’t get to grips with it. It does take practice but I’ve noticed an improvement in myself since I started it.

  6. Bexa says:

    These are all really great suggestions Kim! I especially agree with avoiding alcohol. When I was feeling depressed last year I turned to drink as a way to cope and it was so unhealthy and always made me feel so much worse. I haven’t drank in a few months now and feel so much better mentally for it. Thanks for sharing lovely! <3 xx

    Bexa |

  7. Lisa McLachlan says:

    This is really interesting, Kim. I’ve never heard of scheduled worry time but it makes such perfect sense. We set aside time for lots of other things but self-care (into which bracket I would also put scheduled worry time) always comes at the bottom of the list. But self-care isn’t selfish so making time for it can only be of benefit in the longer term, whatever you choose to do to make yourself feel better. Great post and tips, thank you! x

    Lisa |

    • Kim says:

      Thanks for your comment Lisa. My worry time is part of my own self care routine and something I try to do every day. I’ve seen an improvement in myself since I started it. I agree that a lot of the time self care is at the bottom of a long list

  8. Meagan Lambert says:

    Scheduling a worrying time is something I never thought about. I always try to fight those feelings, but it makes more sense to go through them and feel better afterward. Great post x

    • Kim says:

      Thank you Cindy and thanks for your comment. Self care is so important. I know I feel a lot better when I practice things in my routine than when I don’t.

  9. Elen Mai says:

    I love the concept of scheduled worry time – I’ve never heard of the concept before! These are all great tips, it’s taken me just over a month to get myself out of the New Years slump unfortunately, but consistency is key! x
    El | Welsh Wanderer

    • Kim says:

      Thank you Jessica! It took me a while to stop relying on alcohol as a coping method. I hope this post helps others. 😊
      Of course I will. xx

  10. Jeni Bee says:

    Great Post! I am currently recovering from anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve always been strong willed so my panic attacks are/were inwards (seriously! Nobody noticed but there were times where I felt like I was loosing it!), plus it took me a long time to get over my stubborness! It wasn’t until I’d had a few outward panic attacks, and lost a tun of weight because my body was in constant flight or fight mode, that I realised I really did have a problem!

    These are great tips and ideas. Hopefully it will help people find what works best for them. Xx

    • Kim says:

      Thanks for your comment Jeni Bee. I empthaise with turning things inwards as this is something I have done so myself and occassionally, still do.

  11. Sarah Leanne says:

    Amazing post honey! You have highlighted many positive avenues for people to try for themselves in encouraging self-care practice x

  12. Kelly Ramsdell says:

    Great post! The one I just put up today sounds contradictory, I’m afraid, but it truly isn’t. Mine is about choosing happiness (when you can). But I’m all for feeling your feelings and acknowledging them. And I believe too many of us women have been told not to be sad or angry or have any “negative” emotions, which is BS. Thanks for your thoughtful post!

    • Kim says:

      Thank you Kelly. I’m all for choosing happiness when you can as well, but sometimes they’re are days when you can’t, for whatever reason. These ideas are for those days. πŸ™‚ x

  13. Joan Senio says:

    I’m loving all the posts I’m seeing this month that have a self-care and self-compassionate theme. No matter how many I read, everyone seems to have something new to add to the conversation, and I’m so appreciative of the reminders. I started a habit at the new year to keep a commitment to myself to do at least things that I consider “self-care”. This week one of them was a doctors appointment, and one of them was an hour long phone call with one of my sisters. I almost immediately see an improvement in my mental health when I remember to work these things into my week!
    Thanks for a helpful post!
    My Best Friend Adeline

    • Kim says:

      Thanks for your comment Joan. I’ve also noticed an increase in these type of posts this month and I’ve enjoyed reading them. It’s great you’ve committed to do things for you and your mental wellbeing this year. x

  14. Britt K says:

    I think you have made a VERY good point about the importance of recognizing our own warning signs when we are starting to slip. It’s easy to fall into the habit of thinking ‘well, it could be worse’ rather than acknowledging that for us, this isn’t a healthy place to be.
    Britt |

  15. ashleigh davis says:

    I actually feel like I really needed to read this today. The idea of worry time is so important. I spend so many minutes (probably hours a day worrying) before I know it the days over and it’s been wasted on such negativity!

    I very often get involved in these beechats and I’m sad that I actually missed this one so thank you, for writing this post 😊

    Ashleigh x

  16. Chloe Chats says:

    Love all of these suggestions! I haven’t really thought about scheduling worrying before, so I might give that a go. I imagine it can be quite difficult if you have loads of worries on your mind though! And I love practising self care, every Sunday evening I have myself a little pamper session and it really helps me feel better and makes me feel more relaxed for Monday πŸ™‚ Great post

    Chloe xx

    • Kim says:

      Thanks for your comment Chloe. I love pamper days and one on a Sunday before work the next day sounds perfect. I may have to add that into my weekly self care routine. Scheduled worry time is hard to get to grips with, at first, but I’ve noticed such an improvement since I started. x

  17. Ruth says:

    These are all great suggestions, and I particularly like the idea of scheduled worry time. This is something I’ve seen a few others mention, but I’m yet to try it. I feel like I’m worrying about something or another constantly, so I’d maybe need a full worry day πŸ˜‰ Great post, Kim.

    • Kim says:

      Thanks Ruth! 😊 I was like that before I started scheduled worry time but have seen such an improvement since I started. x

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