Look after yourself: Taking time to care for your mental health is very important

Look after yourself: Taking time to care for your mental health is very important (Image: Yuri Acurus / Getty)

Everyone has times when they feel low or stressed out. But taking some simple steps can make a big difference to how you feel – and if you’re struggling, talk to others and ask them for help.

Helping your own mental health and wellbeing

Reframe unhelpful thoughts

Recognising patterns of unhelpful thoughts, trying to think about them differently and replacing them with alternatives can improve your mental wellbeing. Think about what you might say to a friend in a similar situation: you’ll probably take a more compassionate approach.

Connect with others

Spending quality time with friends or family, talking to someone about how you’re feeling or finding ways to help other people can help stop you feeling lonely. And it will improve your mental wellbeing. This can be online, over the phone or in person.

Get active

Being active is good for your mind as well as your body. Try activity that’s right for your physical abilities and that you enjoy. Start with a short walk in the fresh air. Cutting out alcohol and smoking, and eating nourishing foods can also help.

Soothe tense muscles

Releasing muscle tension is a great for easing anxiety and you can do it anywhere, so it’s a good way to ground yourself if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Simply take 30 seconds to repeatedly squeeze, hold and release your fists, breathing slowly in and out.

Sleep easy

Good-quality sleep can really help our mental health. When you’re struggling to drop off, your mind can flood with worries about the next day, which makes it harder to unwind. Write a list or read a book until you feel tired again.

Break tasks down

If a task seems overwhelming and hard to start, try breaking it down into more manageable chunks, and give yourself credit for completing them.

Take a screen break

Put your phone down every so often and read a book, listen to a podcast or go and enjoy the outdoors. For better sleep, plan an hour of screen-free time before bed.

Do something for yourself

Whether it’s enjoying your favourite hobby, learning something new or taking time to relax, it’s important to do things that make you happy. Don’t feel guilty about this – it’s good for your mental health.

Everyone has times when they feel low or stressed out. But taking some simple steps can make a big difference to how you feel – and if you’re struggli

Everyone has times when they feel low or stressed out. But taking some simple steps can make a big d (Image: Getty)

Help and support

There’s also plenty of support if you feel like you’re struggling. Here are some of the resources that could help you:

NHS Talking Therapies

The NHS offers psychological therapies for common mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, body dysmorphia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

They can also help if you are living with physical conditions such as cancer or diabetes and struggling with your mental health. NHS talking therapies are free, effective and confidential treatments delivered by fully trained and accredited NHS practitioners.

For information and self referral, go to nhs.uk/talk.

Every Mind Matters

This NHS-approved website is full of help to tackle anxiety, low mood, stress and sleep issues. Take a quiz to get a personalised “Mind Plan” and learn about self-help CBT techniques. Visit nhs.uk/every-mind-matters.

Hub of Hope

This website helps you find support with issues like anxiety, depression, PTSD, loneliness or money worries. Visit hubofhope.co.uk or download the free app via App Store or Google Play.

Samaritans Self-Help

Explore relaxation techniques, record your mood every day, look for patterns in how you’re feeling, make a personal safety plan and find images of things that give you hope. Visit selfhelp.samaritans.org.


The Shout website includes resources and tips to support you when you’re feeling anxious, low, stressed or overwhelmed. Visit giveusashout.org.

‘It makes a huge difference to talk to someone’

On a high: Running with friends lifts Aditya’s mood

On a high: Running with friends lifts Aditya’s mood (Image: HM Gov.)

Aditya Raj, 26, found valuable emotional support with Run Talk Run – a jogging group that promotes looking after your wellbeing

“When I was around 16, back in India, my mother became ill and it took a toll on my mental health. I was depressed, then Covid happened. But not long afterwards I met my partner,

who was on a trip to India, and we got to know each other and fell in love.

Last year, I came to the UK to get married and I love it here. I’ve been treated very well and feel much better since my arrival. I first started running at university – I didn’t have much money, but all I needed was a pair of shoes. It helped with my anxieties so I would go out running four or five kilometres twice a week.

When I arrived in the UK I’d go out for a walk and see so many people running, and that gave me a boost – it was something I could do as I knew I had the strength to run longer distances.

‘When I run with my friends I feel perked up – it’s brilliant’

One day I saw a big group running in Victoria Park in East London, wearing Run Talk Run T-shirts so I joined. On my first run, I met Chloe from Run Talk Run, who’s an awesome leader.

It was great to be with somebody and know somebody in a new country and have something to talk about. People were so friendly.

The first time I ran with Chloe, I was so happy. I’d got to know somebody and we talked about what was affecting us mentally, going beyond: ‘How are you?’ I was able to discuss things with her and her with me.

It makes a huge difference to talk to someone. If you have 10 things on your mind, even if you just manage to talk about two of them, it’s better than nothing.

I now know five of the runners well and we’re connected on social media.

I run five days a week – even though I’m now feeling better, I’m not taking things for granted. Every time I run with them, I feel perked up and welcomed – it’s brilliant.”

For more information visit runtalkrun.com

‘Build up slowly – be kind to yourself’

Caring café Rachel offers a warm welcome

Caring café Rachel offers a warm welcome (Image: HM Gov.)

Rachel Conlisk’s friendship café brings people of all ages together for craft sessions and a sing-song – raising their spirits and hers too

Every Wednesday afternoon, Rachel Conlisk provides a warm welcome to everyone who comes into West Bromwich Central Library for her friendship café, which offers activities such as steel drumming, coding and crafting.

Not only does it support others, but it helps Rachel’s mental health too. She came to it after taking up hula-hooping when she was feeling low.

“Hula-hooping gave me confidence and brought me into a circle of people I felt comfortable talking to. That helped me feel less isolated. So if I see someone new at the café, I’ll make conversation and invite them to join in. Recently we were crocheting and making pom-poms, and a couple of people mentioned they loved playing the ukulele so it turned into a sing-song.”

(Image: HM Gov.)

‘I found what worked for me was taking baby steps’

Although socialising and connecting with others is a great way to improve your mental health, taking the first step is hard, especially if you’re feeling anxious.

Rachel is now a motivational speaker, but she knows how that feels: “When you are in a hole, just having a shower and getting ready to go out is a hurdle.

“So what worked for me was taking baby steps. Just keep trying and be proud every time you get out of the house.

“Build up slowly and don’t forget to be kind to yourself.”

Help in a crisis

If you’re having thoughts about suicide, are harming yourself or have considered self-harm, it’s important to tell someone. These organisations give immediate support:

Your local 24/7 NHS crisis line: at nhs.uk/urgentmentalhealth or visit 111.nhs.uk

Under 35? Visit papyrus-uk.org, call 0800 068 4141 (9am-midnight, seven days a week, 365 days a year), text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org.

If you do not feel you can keep yourself or someone else safe, call 999.

*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.