A lot of the time, as we trudge on through life, it’s easy to forget to do the small things to look after ourselves. We’re constantly in pursuit of something, whether it’s to better ourselves professionally or financially, or otherwise. Which is great, as we all want to make money. It's always nice to have goals and targets, but often we tend to forget about taking care of the most important bit; ourselves. We stay up late to finish work, we take on stressful work, we start to sacrifice the things that we think we’re okay to do without, like sleep, or a social life, and tell ourselves that we’re okay, because there’s no physical signs of losing it… yet.
Looking after one's mental health is extremely important, yet it’s surprising how often that’s the first thing that we tend to neglect, sometimes inadvertently. We forget to do small things in our life that all help keep us in a good mental state without realising it, like taking breaks from work, sleeping properly, cancelling appointments for our health - the list goes on. Here we’ll list some tips on keeping a hold of your mental health, ways to stay happy and healthy whilst we chase our financial dreams.
Get a Hold Of Your Sleeping Pattern
Having a solid sleeping pattern is a lot more important than people think - and is usually the first thing that adults tend to discard, and it’s so easily done. People start to prioritise differently, they think that they don’t have enough time - that they need to stay up and finish whatever task they’re trying to complete. Sleep is usually the first thing to be sacrificed, but a lack of sleep affects more than just physical weariness - your ability to concentrate, your rationality, memory and retention span are also heavily affected and will start to decline quicker than you think. It’s recommended that adults sleep around 7 - 8 hours per night, so try to find yourself a time in which you completely switch off, isolate yourself from distractions and blue screens. Setting yourself a bedtime and waking up at a certain time is a lot more helpful than people give it credit for - it can dramatically increase productivity. Humans are naturally creatures of habit, so the more you enforce a sleep schedule and train your body to sleep and wake up at a certain time, the easier it will get, and you’ll find yourself feeling a lot more energetic, and your ability to focus will skyrocket.
Get Exercising Regularly
Staying physically active is another great way of maintaining your mental health. And this can be done almost anywhere. A lot of people put a lot of pressure on themselves here, and automatically tie in exercise, with going to the gym. Finding a gym and attending a gym is great - it does help you get into a regular routine, and is shown to be more motivating when you have to make the effort of going, but can also go against you, especially if you start missing sessions and neglect going. Once you’re out of the routine, it’s really hard to get back into it. But not to worry! Exercise isn’t exclusive to the gym, and can be just as effective if done at home, or outdoors! Try not to see it as a chore, enjoy yourself while you’re doing it, make it something you love! If you like dancing, why not join a class you can attend once a week? Or you can view dancing videos at home, find yourself a good Youtube channel you can watch every morning, like the Joe Wicks videos that a lot of people took solace in during the lockdowns. Start off wherever is comfortable with you. It’s not a competition (Unless you are competing with a friend) - we all start somewhere. If you enjoy walking, why not find yourself a nice quick route to walk in the mornings before you start your day? It can be as long, or as short as you want it to be - it’s important you don’t overdo or overestimate it, as it’s then that it’ll start seeming like a task. Do whatever you’re comfortable with, and as you build that routine and your fitness, you’ll be able to do more, and feel a lot more productive with the rest of your day.
Get a Hold On Your Work/Life Balance
Maintaining this is a lot easier said than done, but is actually vital in leading a happy life if done right. Sure, it’s great to put your all in work, as we all seek praise and reward for our efforts, and of course it’s very fulfilling to get that job promotion, or that dream job we’ve worked so hard for - but what if I told you that you can do all those things, and still maintain a personal life? Striving for success is a wonderful thing, but shouldn’t be done at the cost of your mental health. If you’re overworking, or find yourself stressing about work 24 hours a day, it’s harder to consider anything else. You’ll become increasingly anxious, fatigued, and you run the risk of burnout. Equally, the other side is true too - if you don’t take your work life seriously enough, and spend hours partying into the morning before a shift regularly, then it's likely you may not have a job for long. Finding the perfect balance is tricky, but it’s definitely worth it if done right.
Get a Hold On Medication Adherence
If you’re on medication related to mental health, for example antidepressants, it’s key that you keep to the dosage allowed. The instructions left by your GP or other professional are there for a reason, and we trust them to make a sound judgement based on their professionalism. After all, it’s what they do for a job. It’s easily done, but it’s not for us to take matters into our own hands and make decisions on our dosage. If you find your medication is having less of an effect on you as you’d like, inform your GP. It’s important you keep them in the loop so they can review your progress, and advise on any patient adherence solutions if you’re struggling. Not keeping tabs on this can affect our overall productivity, concentration levels and general performance throughout the day, as often taking too much or too little will have side effects.
They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and there may actually be some truth to this. While it’s true that people can’t always solve your issues for you, it helps to have that special someone, or group of people, that you can confide in, and vice versa. It not only develops and builds lasting friendships and trust, it works wonders for mental health. People who bottle up their concerns with no outlet tend to be unhappier, become reclusive and reserved, which over time can be really bad for one's mental health. Various studies have shown that people who share and voice their concerns with their loved ones tend to feel much happier, or feel a degree of acceptance once spoken about with another. It’s not a weakness to confide in someone at all. If your worries exceed that of the advice that your therapist or GP can advise, for example money troubles or financial hardship, why not not speak to a debt consultant, who’ll be able to advise on best ways to move forward?
Schedule Regular Appointments, and Speak If Something Isn’t Right
Whether it’s physical or otherwise, if you think something is wrong, it’s vital you see someone as soon as possible. Make sure you have regular checkups - and don’t get into the habit of cancelling unless you absolutely have to. Stay on top of appointments with your GP, confide in them if something is ailing you. Professionals are there for a reason, and it’s important you let them know as soon as possible, if you think something isn’t quite right, and even if it turns out to be minimal or nothing, it’s a lot better to be safe than sorry! The same rule applies if you’re seeing a professional on mental health - let your therapist or counsellor know of anything that’s been on your mind.
Get Yourself A Safe Space
Finding a safe space in which you can be at your most comfortable is another great way to keep your mental health in check. Think of it like a recharging station - maybe if you’ve had a tough day at work, or something is making you anxious and you feel like you’re primed to panic. It can be a physical space, a place you enjoy going, whether it’s outdoors or in your home, if it’s at home, make that space your own; fill it with the things that bring you happiness and make you feel calm. It could be an extra room in your house that you go to for meditation or reading. It could be a games room. It can honestly be anything you like. Cater it to your tastes and your happiness. It doesn’t even have to be physical. It could be a mental safe space, if that appeals to you more. It could be something you think about when you’re feeling at your lowest, or it could even be an item that means something to you - the term safe space is very subjective and individual to all of us. As long as it gives you the comfort that you need, then it’s really not a problem what it is.