6 ways to live well and look after your mental health

December 11, 2017



Occasionally, I like to get away from writing about SaaS sales and open up about something else that is really important to me, mental health. It’s a subject I have a fair bit of knowledge about, and I want to fully tell you my story soon. I wrote an article last month about how mental health suddenly became trendy. You can read it here. 


Even if you’ve never experienced mental health problems, I’d certainly recommend that you’re mindful of it and take steps to look after yourself. We all lead busy, stressful lives. We juggle work, family, friends, hobbies and more. There are never enough hours in the day, and that can impact your mental state. Here are some things I do to try and keep my head in the right place. Maybe they can help you?


1 - The obvious stuff


OK, I’m not going to tell you stuff you don’t already know here. However, it’s important to say it anyway. Here are easy ways you can live better, and try to safeguard your mental health.


  • Get a good night’s sleep. 8+ hours.

  • Eat well. Choose the healthy option instead of the takeaway.

  • Avoid drugs.

  • Limit your alcohol intake.

  • Get exercise daily. Even 10 minutes can make all the difference.

  • Don’t imprison yourself indoors. Get fresh air regularly.


Right. Now those are out of the way we can get a bit deeper.


2 - Check in with yourself daily


The thing about mental health problems is that they can creep up on you if you let them. The way to stop this happening is to honestly evaluate where your head is on a daily basis. I call it ‘checking in with yourself’.


Every day, take yourself somewhere quiet and be honest with yourself. How are you feeling at the moment? Has something happened today that has troubled you? Have you reacted to something in a way that’s out of character? Did you lose your temper?


Also, think about your impact on other people. How did people react to you today? Are you unconsciously sending a message that everything isn’t right?


This daily evaluation is my main way of assessing my mental state. I can’t change the past, but I can affect the future. If all is not well, I can take steps to improve matters.


3 - Talk to someone close to you, daily


Every day I open up to those who are close to me. I say what’s on my mind and share my feelings about what’s happening right now. 


I also encourage them to open up to me. I don’t make judgements or even try to offer advice. I just listen and show compassion.


We all have troubles in our day, and you can’t take on everyone’s problems. However, for people you’re close to, it needs to be more than ‘Are you ok?’. Get deeper. 


4 - Manage your day


We all have busy schedules. We're always tempted to take on more work, to further our careers or boost our income.  


However, it’s vitally important not to overload yourself. Even if you’re a great plate-spinner, there are only so many plates you can keep spinning at a time. 


Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day, and organise your schedule to match that expectation.


5 - Positive self-talk


It’s certainly possible to talk yourself into a spiral of dark thoughts. Don’t do it. 


Why do we tell ourselves that we’re not good enough? Why do we criticise our best efforts? Why do we talk ourselves down?


You are what you believe you are, so believe that you’re the best. In your head, tell yourself that you can exceed expectations in the task that you’re carrying out. Congratulate yourself when things go well.


I’m not talking about arrogance or even overconfidence. There is no need to be boastful. Always be humble and kind to everyone. However, a bit of positive self-talk never goes amiss. 


6 - Connect with your family


The saying that ‘you choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family’ is so true. Everybody’s families come with a boatload of drama and baggage. However, these are the people that are the closest to you. Deep down, they matter to you, and you to them. If fences need mending in your family, mend them. 


How about you?


These are the methods that work for me, but I think it’s good advice for anyone. Nothing bad can happen if you do any of these things on a more regular basis. 


How about you though? What tips do you have around living better and looking after your mental health? I’d be thrilled if you could let me know in the comments.


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