How to look after yourself in the lead up to the HSC exams.
R U OK is “a suicide prevention charity that aims to start life-changing conversations. We want to create a more connected world.”
R U OK day is coming soon! 14 September 2017 is their national day of action when being involved simply means asking friends and family ‘are you ok?’
In the lead up to ‘R U OK’ it’s a good time to think about how to keep your mental health in shape. There are many different strategies people adopt to stay mentally healthy and here are 3 simple steps to start doing now for an overall healthy you, mentally and physically.
Sleep: Why it alludes you
Healthy lifestyle choices that aid sleep
8 hours a night. You’ve heard it. It works. Nothing makes me happier than having a good night’s sleep that lasts for at least 8 hours; waking up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world. Good quality sleep does not come easily to all though. Anxiety, illness and other environmental factors can affect the way we sleep and for some it is affected every night. Our resident Senior Lecturer Dr Darren Morton has researched the importance of sleep and through his research he outlines some steps to help you have a better night’s sleep which is a great start, especially if you’re one that struggles to get quality sleep.
- Avoid caffeine in the evening,
- finish eating and exercising at least 3 hours before bedtime,
- have a regular bedtime,
- make your bed comfortable and in a nice pleasant environment.
Goodnight and sweet dreams!
Exercise: it doesn’t have to be hard
Exercise can help manage stress and stay healthy
Staying active is important for all. The benefits of exercise are enormous. For me, exercise is my stress release. My favourite physical activities are a nice long run, a game of touch footy, swimming or riding my mountain bike. I enjoy being active and I enjoy exercise because I notice the benefits of exercise physically on my body. The biggest thing I notice instantly is the mental benefits and the ‘happiness’ I have after I sweat it out a bit. Endorphins are released when we exercise which creates a feeling of happiness and wellbeing.
It is important to find something that you love or as least like enough to do about 30 minutes a day. A simple 30-minute walk with your friends, dog or iPod will be give you enough physical activity to reap the benefits to your mental health.
Diet: Don’t hate the word
Why it is important to eat right not just because your mum said so
Eating the right food can improve your mental health tenfold. The food we consume makes its way into our bloodstream and in turn triggers the release of different hormones causing a variety of effects on our body. For me personally, if I have too much sugar I am a mess. I get cranky, irritable and I feel sluggish and depressed. I love cake and I definitely eat cake, but I have to be careful how much cake I consume in one sitting. Moderation is the key right!
Fresh fruit and vegetables are the way to go. Opt for the foods that come naturally and feed your body with good nutrients to send those good messages around your bloodstream and hormones to create positive messages to your brain.
If you feel like you need extra help or professional advice on your mental health or you are worried about a friend or family member, there are organisations and individuals out there to help. You can visit a qualified Counsellor or Psychologist or you can call and visit different qualified agencies. For more information visit the R U OK website.
Adopting these simple steps is a great way to stay healthy, mentally and physically and are good daily practices. Sometimes we need a little more. Remember to be aware of friends, family members and colleagues and make sure you ask someone today “are you ok?”
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