At home with your mental health
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week so we’ve put together some top tips on how to look after your mind at home.
When it comes to mental health it might seem like it’s what’s on the inside that counts, but it turns out there’s a massive link between your mind and what’s outside it too.
Aside from work you probably spend more time in your home than anywhere else, so it should be a place of relaxation and happiness. As many of us know though, it’s not always possible to leave a low mood or mental health problems at the front door.
If you’re struggling, your first port of call should always be your GP (and you can speak to your housing officer in case they’re able to help too), but there are also a few cheap and easy things you can do around your house to boost your mood.
Not such a chore
Housework might seem like the last thing you want to do at the best of times, let alone when you’re struggling, but doing jobs around the house can really help.
For example, cooking can be quite therapeutic, even if you’re not making anything fancy. It’s also better for you than eating all of the beige, which is probably what you’re craving right now.
Getting up and cleaning, even if it’s only putting away a few socks, can help get you out of a funk. Having a tidy house will then also give you a mood boost, which kickstarts a positive cycle.
Everyone knows exercise is helpful for mental health but even if you can’t manage full-blown workouts, just taking a short walk definitely still counts.
If you have a pet then spending time with them is a proven mood-booster, so a dog walk is basically double mental health points. If you don’t have one of your own there are lots of sites out there that let you walk someone else’s.
Create your happy place
Although my own house is absolute chaos the majority of the time, ideally your home will be a place to decompress and get into a better frame of mind.
Resist the urge to hibernate and let in some light. Even if your instinct is to hide under a blanket fortress like a vampire at the first sign of the sun, let’s be honest – you live in the North West so the best you’ll get is a slightly brighter shade of grey.
Open some windows while you’re at it – a bit of a breeze never hurt anyone. Unless you have hay fever, in which case maybe take some antihistamines first.
Find peaceful spots around your house to relax and do something for yourself. Ban kids, pets, phones and even partners if necessary.
Hopefully, having read the above advice, this area is also now clean, tidy and smelling of freshly baked bread (or air freshener if, like me, you’re a terrible cook). Read, meditate, listen to music, watch TV, make whale noises – whatever you like, just take some time out.
Finally, your bedroom should be a place for sleeping because sleeping is good for you and beds are comfy. Every self-help article says it but seriously, ditch the devices and get an old-school alarm clock. Make sure it’s not too light, noisy or hot/cold when you’re trying to sleep. If you live in an area with a lot of light and noise an eye mask and ear plugs could be worth investigating.
Be kind to yourself
At the end of the day, figuring out what works best for you is the most important thing and things that work for others may not work for you and vice versa.
If you try all of the above then that’s great, but if all you manage today is to eat cereal out of the box while watching Great British Bake Off re-runs then that’s cool too.
Ask for help
If it’s all starting to feel overwhelming, or even just a bit annoying, getting help is the best thing to do.
If you’re an Onward customer struggling with hoarding then our Outside the Box service can offer support using cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).
We also offer services around finances and getting back to work, so if you’re worried get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.
Let us know if you need support or more information