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Mental Health Awareness Week 9th-15th May 2022

“Mental health” refers to your overall psychological well-being. It includes the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties. Anyone can experience mental or emotional health problems — and over a lifetime, many of us will. That's why, this year, the theme is Loneliness. One in four adults feel lonely some or all of the time. There’s no single cause and there’s no one fits all solution. After all, we are all different! But, the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems. Some people are also at higher risk of feeling more alone than others..

These tips can help you elevate your mood, become more resilient and enjoy life more.

1. Make social connections — especially face-to-face — a priority:

Phone calls and social networks have their place, but nothing can beat the stress-busting, mood-boosting power of quality face-to-face time with other people. Don't become too online dependent. Online communities can be a great social outlet, but don't rely on them too much. Make sure you balance your social life and make the effort to talk to people in person.

2. Stay active:

Staying active is as good for the brain as it is for the body. Regular exercise or activity can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health, relieve stress, improve memory, and help you sleep better. Bring a friend with you. This will make the activity easier and you're keeping connections with people.

3. Talk to someone:

Talk to a friendly face. In-person social interaction with someone who cares is one of the most effective ways to calm your nervous system and relieve stress.

4. Get busy:

Keeping yourself busy is a very effective way of dealing with loneliness. If you're bored or can't find a job, volunteer with an organisation you care about or an event you might be interested in. Feeling needed and useful is important sometimes.

5. YOU TIME, Take 10 minutes to relax:

Spending time alone can be liberating, try some yoga, mindfulness, meditation and deep breathing, it can help reduce overall levels of stress.

6. Know you're not alone:

Feeling lonely doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. Life can feel very different and the future is uncertain. Remember that everyone goes through lonely periods in life.

7. Eat a healthy diet to support strong mental health:

Foods that can support your mood include fatty fish rich in Omega-3's, nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews and peanuts), avocados, beans, leafy greens (spinach, kale and Brussels sprouts), and fresh fruit such as blueberries. Take some time and look up some mood boosting foods.

8. Explore your interests:

Taking up a hobby you've always wanted to get into can help you fight loneliness and isolation.A hobby can be a great way of meeting new people and making new friends. If you're feeling lonely for no obvious reason, taking up an evening class or sport can help take your mind off it.

9. Pay attention to the things that matter:

How do we expect to improve our loneliness when we don't know what causes it? It's hard. So it's helpful to start paying attention to the present moment. What are the experiences that make you feel lonely? And what are the experiences that make you feel connected or like you belong? Identifying these moments can help you reduce loneliness, because you can limit your engagement in activities that make you feel lonely and increase your engagement in activities that make you feel connected.

10. Reach out, Get help if you need it:

If you or a loved one needs support, there are many resources that are available to you: Here at Kerry Peer Support Network, we offer a Support group once a week for all adults who would like to look after their mental health and emotional wellbeing. There is Hope, even if your brain tells you there isn't.

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