World Mental Health Day - 9 tips to stay healthy and balanced

by Rachel Cook

Today is World Mental Health Day. We’ve collected some tips from young people in Leeds, Thompson colleagues and friends, all of whom are coping with their own mental health issues.

If you relate to any of these tips or simply enjoy reading them, feel free to share and comment with any tips of your own. #WorldMentalHealthDay

  • Tell yourself a white lie

    “When I’m feeling sad I basically just want to get into bed and hide. Especially in the mornings; showering and going to work feels almost impossible. But I try to remember to persuade myself to get dressed, wash my hair and put on some make-up. I tell myself I only have to go to work for an hour or two and then I can go back to bed. But what usually happens is that people at work talk to me as if it’s a normal day, distract me and make me laugh without meaning to. It means I can’t help but forget about stuff for a bit. By the end of the day I feel like it really might have been a normal day.”
    Rachel, 31, Cheshire

  • Balance body & mind

    “As counter intuitive as it might seem, I often find I can sort out what’s going on in my head by focussing on the rest of me. I learnt it first doing yoga, which I recommend to anyone with a busy mind that they find hard to keep under control. I also found martial arts helped. Now, having realised how it works, I can just close my eyes, focus on my breathing and what my body’s doing and re-centre myself when things get too much. All sounds a bit mystic I know, but it really helps me.”
    Adnan, 37, Leeds

  • Get writing

    “A lot of my thoughts, I turn them into my graffiti and I tend to brainstorm loads because I feel like it looks awesome. You know, loads of mind maps in your bedroom… And sometimes it’s really helpful. I do feel like I can express myself a lot better when I write because I don’t have to justify it to anybody. “
    Sarah, 15, Leeds

  • Use the better days to plan for bad days

    “I did make a WRAP plan which is a Wellness Recovery Action Plan. And that has on it the signs that things aren’t going well that I might not necessarily notice, the things that I do which are helpful, the things that aren’t, so I know to avoid them, numbers to call and what other people, and I, can do in a crisis. And that’s really useful to make when you’re feeling well.”
    Naomi, 19, York

  • Say no

    “Work out what your values are, what you enjoy, what isn’t helpful and how to say no to the things that aren’t helpful. And begin to build the life that you want to live.”
    Naomi, 19, York

  • Fight panic with a pep talk

    “I’ve learnt to accept the fact I will always have times of stress and change where my panic attacks will be triggered – but I don’t live in fear anymore. Even in those moments I know it too will pass like they have all done before. That alone gives me peace of mind.

    If I do start to panic, I’ll go and lay down on my side for 10/15 minutes with my eyes closed, if I’m at home or at a friend or family’s house. My body can begin to relax. I call this ‘flight mode’. As my breathing regulates and the tension in my shoulders eases, I’ll open my eyes, give myself a little pep talk (usually a pat on the back for riding it out like a boss), and carry on my day with that same positive outlook I started it with.”
    Hattie, 26, North Yorkshire

  • Don’t get hangry

    “Food effects your blood sugar levels, which effects your mood, which effects how much you let things get to you. Everything seems worse when you’re hangry, so make sure you eat as well as you can, as regularly as you can, even if you’ve lost your appetite. Keeping a good routine around this really does help, even if you don’t want to do it.”
    Leanne, 31, Manchester

  • Control your thoughts for 10 mins

    “Try the free app Headspace, it really helps you zone out for 10 mins. Stepping away from the incessant thoughts swirling around your brain is always a welcome relief, and gives you the opportunity to reset for a bit. It also helped me sleep (even though that’s not what you’re supposed to use it for..!).”
    Leanne, 31, Manchester

  • Travel

    “Whenever I feel really down and I start to feel like I can’t even breathe, I decide to just go. I don’t even know where sometimes, I just decide on somewhere; somewhere different. Whether it be for a day, an hour, or a weekend. There’s something therapeutic about meeting someone in another town, county, or even country that doesn’t know you, possibly speaks another language but might have so much to share. Through travelling, a lot of healing takes place. So, in a nutshell, just travel. Just freaking do it.”
    Marisa, 23, California

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