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Foilseacháin

Think Well

Last updated: 17 April 2019
Published: 4 April 2019
Ó: Healthy Ireland ga and An Roinn Sláinte

Mental wellbeing

Good mental wellbeing means:

  • coping better with life's ups and downs
  • managing our feelings so they don't overwhelm us
  • feeling good about ourselves
  • having healthy relationships with other people
  • coping with our responsibilities

There are a lot of things that you can do to ensure you're looking after your mental wellbeing. Some easy things you can do include:

  • going for a walk or run can help get rid of all that pent-up energy and can leave you feeling much calmer
  • hanging out with friends
  • taking some deep breaths and calming down - deep breathing can help to relax the body and calm you down
  • trying to avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine
  • speaking to someone you trust about how you are feeling
  • getting some good sleep, as a lack of sleep can affect your general wellbeing

The HSE have some really good advice on your mental health, including where to find support and services. You can find all that information here.

Getting enough sleep

Sleep is really important for your mental health and wellbeing. Most people need between 5 to 9 hours sleep a night. The ideal amount is 8 hours, but everyone is different.

We all need to look at our sleep pattern and habits. If you’re regularly struggling to get a good night’s sleep, there are a number of things you can do to improve it.

  • don’t have any drinks with caffeine in the afternoon
  • don’t smoke or drink alcohol before bed
  • go to bed and get up at the same time every day
  • avoid looking at any laptops, phones and other screens for an hour before bed
  • make sure your bedroom is completely dark

SpunOut have some great advice on sleep and looking after your mental health.

Coping as a parent

Every parent finds parenting difficult. There can be days when it feels like everything is a struggle. Be kind to yourself and make time for yourself. Some of these tips might be helpful for you.

  • don't worry about maintaining the perfect home – cleaning can wait if you need a break
  • if you're having a difficult day, try to take a moment and start again
  • pick your battles – don't try to change everything
  • give your child the space to make mistakes and learn from them
  • take opportunities to socialise or relax – ask your partner or friends and family to help you free up some time for yourself
  • don't feel guilty for leaving your child with your chosen childminder – you know they are being well looked after

The HSE's website mychild.ie is a great resource for more tips.

Connecting with others

Good relationships are hugely important for your mental health. It can take courage to meet new people but it can make a big difference to how you feel. You may need to think about whether you want to meet new people with similar interests or just give something back to your community or society.

Some of the following organisations can help you:

Volunteer Ireland

If you decide that you would like to get involved in volunteering but you are not sure exactly what you would like to do, then a good place to start is Volunteer Ireland. They can help you find what kind of volunteering suits you.

Find your local volunteering centre here.

Men's Sheds

A Men’s Shed is a place where men are able to gather and work on meaningful projects at their own pace, in their own time and in the company of other men and where the primary objective is to advance the health and wellbeing of the participating men.

Find your local shed here.

GAA Healthy Clubs

There are GAA clubs in every community. The Healthy Club project empowers clubs to deliver health and wellbeing information and programmes directly to their members and to the wider communities that they serve. Find out more here.

Quitting smoking

Most of us are aware of the physical health risks of smoking, but research shows that smoking also affects your mental health. Quitting smoking can be hard and lots of smokers try to quit a number of times before they are successful.

If you have just given up recently you should know that it's normal to feel angry, low or anxious. Many people use cigarettes to cope with different emotions - such as smoking in a stressful situation. You also may have used cigarettes to block out your feelings. When you stop smoking it can be difficult to manage these feelings without a cigarette. Some tips you can try are:

  • focus on what is good about you and your life
  • try to turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts
  • take deep breaths
  • use the four Ds recommended by the QUIT programme

Distract yourself by going for a walk or talking to somebody

Delay until the urge passes

Deep breathe 20 times

Drink a glass of cold water

For more help follow the QUIT programme on Quit.ie.

Think about your drinking

A lot of people find their mood improves when they cut down or stop drinking. This may come as a surprise, as it's common to feel that alcohol gives you a boost or relief.

Drinking, hangovers and poor sleep can reduce your energy and productivity. A break from alcohol can get you motivated to get things done.

Use the Ask About Alcohol Drinks Calculator to find out how your drinking is impacting on your health, your wallet and your weight.

And you can always learn more from the HSE's Ask About Alcohol campaign.