A Psychologist’s Guide to Prioritizing Your Mental Health

Photo © Javier Sánchez Mingorance/Westend61/Cover Images

Taking care of your mental health should always be one of your priorities, especially as we are heading into the busy festive season.

According to research by Kalms Herbal Remedies, nearly half of the adult population in the U.K. (46%) don’t prioritise their mental wellbeing.

Dr Charlotte Armitage, a psychologist and psychotherapist, has shared five tips to help you make your mental health a priority.

Spend time outdoors

Taking time out to go outside can help you recharge your mind and reduce your stress levels.

“The (Kalms) study shows over a third of UK adults (37%) find solace in the healing power of nature,” Charlotte says. “When we spend time in nature, we can disconnect from everyday stressors, technology and social interactions, giving us time to recharge our minds and bodies. Research suggests just 10 to 15 minutes in natural spaces can cause neurological changes in our brains and chemical changes in our blood that contribute to stress reduction and recovery.”

Establish healthier habits

Healthy habits, such as getting enough sleep and staying hydrated, can do wonders for both your mental and physical health.

“Diet, exercise and sleep are the three pillars for a healthy life. While improving just one of these factors can help people lead longer lives, improving all three may be beneficial for both physical and mental health,” the expert explains. “Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, find 20 to 30 minutes a day to exercise, and stick to foods that love your body back.”

prioritize mental health
© Pexels/Nicolai Mitchell
Find time to be alone

Try to prioritise alone time, as this will allow you to practice self-care and recharge your social battery.

“The study shows that 36% of UK adults think that alone time is a healthy way to boost mental well-being, allowing us to recharge and destress,” Charlotte states. “If you are thinking of spending some time alone, it is important to do so in ways that are beneficial to your mental well-being. It can be as simple as practicing self-care, exploring a favourite hobby or reading a book.”

Talk to someone

Talking to someone you trust about your feelings can help lift a weight off your shoulders.

“Having open conversations with others is invaluable for well-being and can help induce a more calmful state of mind (sic),” Charlotte says. “It provides emotional support, diverse perspectives, validation, and helps us to develop coping strategies. If you need someone to talk to, friends and family are one option.”

Try a herbal remedy

Herbal remedies can be an effective solution for stress and anxiety.

“Natural medicines have been used to improve our well-being for generations and can help to induce relaxation during times of distress,” Charlotte explains. “For example, valerian root has sleep-promoting, calming effects, whilst pharmaceutical-grade lavender oil capsules are associated with reduced anxiety and the use of Rhodiola rosea extract offers improvement in burnout symptoms. If you want to try a herbal medicine, always consult your doctor or pharmacist first.”

—Reuters

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