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Mental Health  

Link to the Mental Health Ireland Website

Link to the Mental Health Ireland Website

What is Mental Health ?

Having good mental health means feeling positive about yourself and others, along with being able to meet or cope with the demands of everyday life.

Our mental health is a resourse which we draw upon every day of our lives. Sometimes due to pressures and circumstances we draw upon this resource more than usual. If we continue to do this we may end up depleting our reserves with a consequent feeling of being 'burnt out'.

We can all develop the skills to prevent this happening in order to have happier and healthier lives. Skills for good mental health include:

Changing or challenging your thoughts, communication, developing social supports and relationships, exercise, good nutrition, problem solving, relaxation/taking time out for yourself, developing good self-esteem, and a good sleep regime.

Mental Health Week aims to highlight these skills. We have chosen as this years theme, the link between physical and mental health as it is also the theme for World Mental Health Day which falls on the 10th October. Specifically we have chosen laughter which, like most physical activity, can help reduce stress.

The programme also includes events which are not directly related to this theme but are relevant to the management of good mental health 

Diet

It is important to have a balanced diet as what we eat has a major affect on our general health. Some people find that their mood directly affects their appetite, comfort eating when feeling low or bored, or having no appetite when feeling anxious or depressed.

  • Eat a variety of foods- meat, fish, vegetables, fruit.
  • Eat plenty of carbohydrates for energy- bread, potatoes, rice, pasta.
  • Restrict fatty and sugary foods- chips, biscuits, chocolate, fizzy drinks.
  • A regular intake of vitamin B & C can help to combat stress. Vitamin B can be food in green leafy vegetables and wholemeal bread. Vitamin C can be found in fresh fruit, and orange juice.
  • A high fiber diet helps to cleanse the system- whole wheat, bran, vegetables.
  • Drink plenty of fresh water. Too much tea and coffee over-stimulates the system.
  • Try to avoid rushed meals. Sit down, relax and enjoy your meal.
  • Remember eating should be a pleasant experience.
     

Sleep 

The function of sleep is to let the body repair both physically and mentally. Sleep is essential for normal functioning.

  • Take some gentle outdoor exercise early in the day.
  • Avoid tea, coffee, nicotine and alcohol for at least 4-6 hours before bed.
  • Have a warm milky drink.
  • Take a warm bath before bed.
  • Have a light snack before bedtime.
  • Listen to some gentle music.
  • Try getting up and going to bed at the same time every day so that your body has a routine.
  • Some light reading can help.
  • Make sure that you are warm.
     

Excercise 

Exercise helps to reduce stress and work off muscle tension. Physical activity is known to stimulate the release of endorphins which gives a natural feeling of health and well being.

  • Start gently and build up to a pattern of 20 minutes per day of exercise.
  • A brisk walk can be a good staring point.
  • Taking part in sport also improves your social circle and be a great way to meet new friends with common interests.

Relaxation 

As life becomes busy and hectic, finding time to relax is difficult. Relaxation can be a few moments of quietness or simply enjoying a hobby or interest.

  • Take at least 20 minutes a day for relaxation.
  • Always plan your time to relax, otherwise it may not happen.
  • There are many relaxation techniques for you to discover, see which one suits you best.

This information was obtained from Mental Health Matters, a Mental Health Ireland programme

Symptoms of Depression 

  • Exhaustion
  • Weight Change (loss or gain)
  • Diarrohea
  • Constipation
  • Despair
  • Sadness
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Agitation
  • Tiredness
  • Guilt
  • Panic
  • Lethargy
  • Feeling of Unworthiness
  • Difficulty in Concentration   

 

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