Guest writer: Olivia W

Did you know that over the past week, 1 in every 6 people that you know will have experienced a mental health problem? In fact, poor mental health is one of the biggest crises that we face today with the recent pandemic causing a rising number of people to suffer. 

While the phrase therapy and drug treatments are popular options for people who experience negative mental health, looking after your body is also a great way to ensure that your mind stays in good shape! The importance of understanding the connection between physical and mental health is vital, as our bodies and minds are much closer connected than you may think. 

Here are some ways that you can look after your body to improve your mental health.

Partaking in regular exercise 

Exercise has a number of benefits for your mental health. As a result, it is recommended that adults get around 150 (2.5 hours) of moderate exercise every single week. 

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which are known as the body’s natural pain killers. Endorphins work to relieve stress and improve people’s mood which can do excellent things for your mental health!

While vigorous exercise has its benefits, you don’t have to exhaust yourself in order to feel the effects of movement. A simple walk, swim or even a dance in your kitchen can trigger endorphin release and help improve your overall mental health.

Having a Balanced Diet 

They say you are what you eat, and this is somewhat true when it comes to your mental health. Not only does food help you feel good physically, it also plays a huge role in your overall mood. With the right diet, you can feel happier, calmer, and more energised. In fact, eating a healthy, balanced diet can help stabilise your mood and reduce fluctuations throughout the day.

Choosing Foods That Release Serotonin 

If feeling good is your goal, there are a variety of foods that can help to boost your mood and lift your spirits. One of the best is fatty fish which is full of Omega-3 and proven to reduce levels of depression. 

Eating well doesn’t just mean eating meat and vegetables. Eating sweet treats every now and then can also help lift your mood. In particular, chocolate is an excellent source of quick carbohydrates that can give your brain a boost if you’re feeling low throughout the day. 

Chose Foods for brain functioning 

Unsurprisingly, foods that contain caffeine can be great for brain functioning. Therefore, a daily cup of coffee in moderation may be just what you need for your daily boost! Caffeine is a stimulant that can help you to stay energised and improve concentration. However, too much caffeine can be detrimental for your mental health so try not to go overboard!

If caffeine isn’t your thing, peanuts are also a great source of fuel that can keep you feeling energised throughout the day. Nuts are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats that will help to keep your brain functioning well during the way.

Drink Responsibly & Sensibly 

It’s no secret that too much alcohol can damage your body, but did you know that it can also cause harm to your mental health? Excessive drinking can interfere with chemicals in the brain that are vital for good mental health. In fact, drinking too much on a regular basis has been linked with increased chances of developing depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. 

Try to avoid drinking more than you need to. Perhaps just save the alcohol for special occasions or, when you do drink, know your limits! It is recommended that you drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. That’s around 6 medium glasses of wine or 6 pints of beer.

Take Rest Days to De-stress

Resting due to physical impairment is the norm however, too many people forget to do the same for their mental health. In order to minimise stress and maintain good mental health, it’s important that you take regular breaks from elements of your life that may cause you stress. 

Having the occasional day off from work or taking a vacation every summer can be extremely beneficial for your mental wellbeing. You should also try to clear at least 1 hour per day in which you can unwind, relax, and focus on yourself. It’s surprising how beneficial 1 hour of stress-free time can have for your mind! 

By Olivia W

Changes Bristol is a mental health charity which offers peer support groups, a walk and talk service in Bristol and telephone befriending for one-to-one support. The charity services are free, available to anyone over 18 and you don’t need a diagnosis or GP referral to join. Find out more here.

 If you’re interested in finding out more about Changes Bristol’s services, please get in touch –