We frequently take our mental health for granted, just as we do our physical health unless something bad happens. Whether you have had a mental illness or not, there are certain important things you can do to maintain your mental health.
The goal of preventing mental health issues in healthy individuals is to prevent them from forming in the first place.
If you have previously had a mental illness, prevention is about decreasing future instances of sickness, the impairment that mental illness may bring, and the negative impact on your life as well as the lives of your family members and caregivers. Anyone can experience low points or stressful life events, which can have an influence on their mental health.
Decrease your risk of becoming ill
- Stay active — physically, socially, and intellectually.
- Teach yourself to think positively or seek professional assistance.
- Seek treatment for alcohol and drug abuse.
- Enhance your knowledge.
- Have your general health checked on a regular basis.
- Make an effort to avoid prejudice and toxic relationships.
- Strive for financial stability.
- Participate in the community – join a group, talk to your neighbours, make a new acquaintance.
- Involve individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds in your life.
- Look ahead – take on a new task and give it a go!
Top tips for keeping well
- Discuss your feelings and thoughts with friends, family, or a therapist. Talking out your difficulties as soon as they arise may greatly reduce tension and worry. Maintain contact with friends and whānau. You might not be allowed to meet up with them depending on the level of alert we are now at. Try and contact them via video or phone calls, social media, messages, or messenger. If you are already dealing with mental health difficulties, keep doing what you know is beneficial for you and check in with reliable friends and family on a regular basis.
- Eat nutritious foods, get enough sleep, and exercise on a regular basis. Doing these things can set off a chain reaction of healing effects, especially if you are stressed or anxious.
- Increase and maintain your self-esteem. You will feel much better more often, enjoy your life more than before, and accomplish more of the things you have always wanted to do as you focus on improving your self-esteem.
- Learn to unwind and spend quality time doing what you enjoy! Many relaxation techniques and other approaches are available to fit different personalities and lifestyles, such as hobbies, reading, and yoga.
Supporting your own mental wellbeing
If you or those around you are concerned about how you’re feeling or your wellbeing, there is information and tools available to help you feel mentally well and get through.
If you feel you’re not coping, it’s important to talk with someone close to you. You can also talk to a health professional. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor. For more advice visit the looking after your mental wellbeing section at Unite against COVID-19.
Information and websites
- Looking after mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19 advice and information, and useful top tips to get through (Mental Health Foundation)
- Getting Through Together– Practical tips, stories, and resources focused on things we can all do to maintain our mental wellbeing and look after our whānau during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Stories of people’s journeys to wellness and ideas to help you find your own way to better wellbeing (Depression.org.nz)
- Best Bubble highlights choices as people figure out what works best for them, and promotes healthier activities over those that could make life trickier, particularly drinking too much alcohol (NZ Drug Foundation)
- Asian Family Services provides mental health support to Asians living in New Zealand.
- Anxiety New Zealand provides a free national helpline as well as workshops, support groups and specialist medical assessment
- Le Va has tips for maintaining healthy relationships within our “bubbles”
- WorkSafe have information for office workers and employers on staying mentally well when working from home.
- If you need someone to talk to- Depression helpline: Free call 0800 111 757 or text 8681
The Depression.org.nz website provides a range of advice.