In honour of World Mental Health Day, FOSIS Mind Over Chatter campaign is relaunching its successful blog series; starting off with some tips to improve your mental wellbeing.
What is Mental Wellbeing?
Mental wellbeing is a form of mental state. It encompasses how one feels throughout the day; how one is able to cope with the stresses of everyday life; how well one can maintain positive relationships and have a sense of fulfilment and purpose.
Mental wellbeing is dynamic – it can change from day to day, month to month or even year to year. Therefore it is essential that we take steps to take care of our own mental wellbeing.
What can we do?
i. Look after your physical health
Our physical and mental wellbeing are closely connected. It is well researched that exercise leads to an increase in endorphins which gives us a burst of energy, mental alertness and uplifted mood. The Department of Health recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 5 times a week. This may seem like a lot, but this can include anything from running and cycling to hiking or horse riding. There are so many options, so try do what you can!
Also sometimes, what we eat can affect our mood. Eating a nutritious balanced diet is essential. Whilst sugar does give a temporary boost of energy, when this wears off, it can leave us feeling worse than before. Similarly with caffeine, especially if you’re prone to feeling anxious, try cut down on caffeinated soft drinks and coffee.
ii. Practice self-care
Self-care is different for everyone, think about the little things you enjoy. What helps you relax? If you want some ideas, have a look at the list below:
1. Take three long, deep breaths. This will re-centre your mind and a little extra oxygenation never hurt!
2. Go for a long walk, take in the beautiful scenery
3. Light your favourite scented candles
4. Have a satisfying clear-out
5. Take a refreshing twenty-minute nap
6. Phone some close friends
7. Treat yourself
8. Write out your thoughts, this is such a cathartic process and often helps!
9. Plan something you’ll look forward to: a holiday or even just a day out with friends or family.
10. Be kind to yourself – it’s okay to feel low sometime; it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to be unproductive sometimes. Don’t be harsh on yourself, treat yourself how you would want others to treat you.
iii. Look after your Salaah
O ye who believe! seek help with patient perseverance and prayer: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere. (Quran, 2:153)
Sometimes when we feel low, even getting out of bed may be a struggle, and the thought of praying our 5 daily prayers may seem of the utmost difficulty. However keeping a close, constant connection to Allah and maintaining our spirituality brings peace and serenity to our lives. Allah is al-Wadud, the One who loves, and sometimes turning to Him is what we truly need.
It is important to remember that although we should always confide in Allah and seek peace in our faith, when we are struggling it is essential that we do not suffer in silence and we ask for help.
iv. Ask for Help
When our mental wellbeing hits a low point, asking for help can be the last thing we want to do, however it is the first step in the road to recovery. There are people there to support, help and encourage. Reach out to those around you, you will find that more often than not, loved ones are waiting on the wings to help. Speak to your GP, they will be able to guide and support you through the best paths in the journey of mental wellbeing. There are helplines such as Samaritans (phone number: 116 123), who are open 24/7 should you ever need someone to talk to. And if you ever think you are at risk of harming yourself or others, remember to call 999 or go to your local A&E.
FOSIS Mind Over Chatter campaign is back for another year to help tackle the stigmas surrounding mental health, break the barriers and support the mental health of Muslim students today.
If you would like to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you would like to submit a blog post or question please do through the website.