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5 Ways You Can Take Better Care of Your Mental Health

We’re really starting to get a push on now for our fundraising challenge event next month.

Just this morning I was in the HOPS centre for Mental Health where one of the service users sat and gave us an interview about what the service is, what it means to him and the rest of the guys who attend and how the money raised will help them.

I’m very familiar with the guys stories, so I kind of forget how unaware most people in the general public are about the whole topic of mental health.

Watching my assistant Wendy as she asked questions and then listened to the answers was a stunning reminder to me that the word on mental health really does need spread further.

The video will appear on the Mile Swing facebook event page in a week or so once it’s been edited together.

We’re adding more information there frequently, so please check it out and better yet, share it around.

So lets list out 5 things you can do right now that can help keep your mental health in check:

  1. Recognise that mental health is the same as physical health, we ALL have it, and some times it’s bulletproof and other times it’s a little fragile. We’ve all be ill or injured, so we’re familiar with physical illnesses, and it’s all well and good to talk about it, go see a professional (me, a physio or a Doctor) So why don’t we do this with mental health? Yeah ok, just having a bit of a low mood can be like having a touch of a cold, you kind of soldier on and get on with it. But if it continues, gets worse, like when a cold becomes the flu or pneumonia, what then? I get that talking isn’t always the answer (case in point, I don’t do the talking thing…..) But if you recognise and accept that mental health fluctuates and needs attention the same as your physical health does, you can work out how best to look after it in the long run.

The Mental Health Continuum, we all fit on here somewhere

The Mental Health Continuum, we all fit on here somewhere

  1. Exercise. Ok, you’re on this newsletter, so you’re already doing this.But lets introduce exercise breaks during the day. My daily Lunchtime Fitness sessions attended by office workers in my area has been described as the best catharsis to work stress there is. But can you get up from your desk and stretch each hour? Can you go outside for 5 minutes to readjust your horizons? Find ways to move, even small ways, little fidgets.

half kneeling press
  1. Breathe. I can’t stress this enough. In fact just yesterday a new lad joined my gym after moving to Dublin, he’d attended a workshop of mine 3 years ago and yesterday quoted back to me a statement I made during the workshop: “Breathing -easily the most underrated thing of all time” My opinion hasn’t changed. Every hour stop and bring your attention to your breath. Try breathe solely through the nose, use the diaphragm. Spend a minute or two paying attention to your breath allowing it improve. Then get back to work. This “reset” will stick for a while then it’ll slip, but as you reset it each hour, it’ll last longer, until it doesn’t need reset, you merely check in with it. Breathing is HUUUUUGGGEE, it is the foundation of every style of meditation or mindfulness practice anywhere. Breathe well and you’ll be alright.

Breathing is just the start, it gets a lot more complicated inside the cells!

Breathing is just the start, it gets a lot more complicated inside the cells!

  1. Play. Yes, play. Be childlike. Whether is chess, Judo, Football or Tiddly Winks. Be it juggling, yo-yo’s, tumbling, handbalancing, drawing or wrestling your dog. It doesn’t matter what it is, but play. No rules. A challenge taken for challenges sake. Just one rider on this….. ……no screens. Sorry guys, but computer games, tablets, laptops are no use for this. We want to be tactile, involved, three dimensional, stimulating all our senses. And we want to rediscover that playfulness that we have as kids. We don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing. <— Tweet that NOW!! Print that out on a big sheet and stick it up somewhere.

  2. And last but certainly not least, get outside. Go to the beach, the mountains, the park, get in amongst the trees. Moving around outside, in natural light with those broad horizons and uneven ground is exactly what we need more of. Look up, look down, look left and right, look all around, allow the eyes refocus, defocus, zoom in and zoom back out again. Listen to the sounds, birds, insects, water, wind through the trees. Allow our animal reconnect with our environment. You’ve seen those videos of animal going stir crazy in their cages in shitty zoo’s, well that’s you. Get outside and enjoy feeling that wind and the rain, get cold and wet so you can go home and get warm and dry. Remember that you are a human animal before you are a human being.


And last but not least, donate some cash to a worthy cause….


Dave Hedges

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