This New Year we have teamed up with our friends and experts at SAMH to bring you their 5 ways to better wellbeing.
To find out more about the work SAMH carry out or to try their Wellbeing Assessment Tool visit their website
Winter months can be difficult for mental health. In fact, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that usually (but not always) occurs in the Winter.
January tends to have associations of resolutions or “new year, new me”, but you don’t necessarily have to change who you are or put yourself under unnecessary pressure. Below are 5 ways to better wellbeing from SAMH.
Staying in touch with loves ones can make us feel happier and more secure, and often just having a chat can help lift our mood.
Whether you’re spending time with friends or taking a moment for yourself, try to stop to take notice and be aware of the present
Being active isn’t just good for our physical health; it’s also proven to have a positive effect on our mental health and wellbeing
Learning enhances your self-esteem and confidence and can be a great way to meet new people.
Giving can be very rewarding – in fact, those who report greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.
SAMH also have these top tips on feeling less stress in 60 seconds
Smile – Smiling releases chemicals that lower your blood pressure and increase relaxation
Sigh – Relaxing your mouth and shrugging your shoulders sends a message to your brain to turn off stress hormones
Stretch – Stress can make us tense. When we stretch our muscles relax, blood flow increases and endorphins are released
Nature – Even if you’re not close to nature, just looking at photos of nature can reduce stress levels and improve self-esteem
Music – Listening to music can improve mood reduce depression and anxiety, and boost self-esteem. And singing has been found to reduce levels of stress hormones.
Move – Jumping jacks, squats and burpees can all be done quickly. Moving relaxes the muscles, uses up adrenaline and releases chemicals that help depression.
Laugh – Laughing increases your blood flow, boosts your ability to fight illness and it reels really good!
Breathe – Take a long, deep breath in, feel your lungs expand like a balloon, hold for a moment, and then release slowly out through your mouth.
Most importantly don’t forget to be kind to yourself. At some point in our lives, many of us will have experienced an inner critic, a voice of self-doubt or felt a lack of self-worth. It is important to be kind to ourselves to improve and maintain good mental health. Treat yourself how you would a friend or loved one: consider how you would speak to a friend or relative. Would you criticise areas of their life, appearance or achievements? It is likely most of us would go above and beyond to encourage, support and praise those we love. Why don’t we do this more for ourselves? Give yourself a break, you’re doing the best you can.
Other helpful numbers and websites
SAMH – https://www.samh.org.uk/
The Samaritans https://www.samaritans.org/?nation=scotland
Breathing Space – 0800 83 85 87 (Monday to Thursday 6pm – 2am & Friday 6pm to Monday 6am)
Shout 85258 – text SHOUT to 85258 for free 24/7 support in the UK