Currently one in five Australians experience mental ill health every year.
Australian Psychological Society President Ros Knight says people who spend a lot of time caring for others need to make time to care for their own mental health.
“We tend to be our harshest critic. Think what you would do for a friend who has been feeling down and treat yourself with the same kindness and support.”
Reflecting on your own mental and emotional wellness and taking steps to manage it is something nurses and midwives would benefit from doing every day.
Here are 10 psychological tips to help you stay mentally healthy in 2019.
Be kind to yourself: Treat yourself with the same kindness, concern and support you’d show a good friend facing struggles. Self-compassion fosters resilience in the face of adversity.
Contact with others: Deep, meaningful relationships help mental health. Listen to others, be genuine, share your thoughts and feelings and celebrate everyday positive experiences with friends.
Accept your feelings: Avoiding difficult emotions, keeping feelings to yourself or stewing over problems reduces wellbeing. Be open to experiences and accept all your feelings and thoughts, including the difficult ones.
Keep your perspective: Look for constructive solutions, think flexibly and see situations from different perspectives when you are confronted by everyday problems.
Live up to your values: Live a life consistent with your values. Be aware of your own values – of how you would like to lead your whole life, behave towards others, and treat yourself.
Improve your work-life balance: Think about the different areas of your life: relationships, work, health, exercise, self-development and spiritual life. Making more time for some and putting boundaries around others will help you create greater balance and foster wellbeing.
Laugh often: Laughter has been found to release ‘feel good’ hormones, increase optimism, improve your mood over time, and improve relationships by increasing connection and intimacy.
Look after your body: A good lifestyle supports mental health. Eat a well-balanced nutritious diet, exercise regularly, get out into nature, and avoid excessive use of alcohol and drugs.
Get enough sleep: Getting enough quality sleep is essential for physical and mental health. Minimise disruptors to sleep including caffeinated drinks, alcohol, changes to daily routines, stress, worries and electronic devices before bed.
Seek help when needed: See a health professional, such as your local GP, mental health nurse or psychologist if you are experiencing mental health difficulties.