The world is constantly changing. People used to stigmatise and deny the very concept of mental health. Now, many are becoming more aware of it and seeking help when they encounter hardships. It’s incredible progress, but there’s so much more to learn.

For instance, most people discuss mental health in the context of dealing with problems and getting better. While it’s a powerful conversation, the next step is being proactive with your mental wellness.

What Does It Mean to Be Proactive?

A proactive approach to your mental health focuses on preventive measures. Essentially, you don’t wait for problems to appear or worsen before doing something about it. You pay attention to certain aspects of your life and make conscious decisions to safeguard your mental wellness.

Think of it this way — when it comes to your physical well-being, there’s an overwhelming amount of resources about being proactive. Discussing what you can do to prevent diseases and stay in shape is normal. It’s key to spark the same discourse with your mental well-being.

A proactive approach can also be helpful since mental health support systems still have a long way to go. About 65.1% of young people only feel somewhat supported by the current support resources and systems in school. About 22.9% don’t feel supported at all. There’s also an underlying fear of reaching out to other people when you’re already anxious or depressed.

These environments must meet the standards and needs of youth. At the same time, being proactive is a good habit. It can teach you to manage your mental health early on and mitigate your difficulties.

Proactive Mental Health Practices

Being proactive with your mental health can take many forms. Start by asking what you can do to improve your current quality of life. See what aspects you should prioritise and tend to when beginning this journey.  

Here are some general suggestions to get you started.

1. Check Your Diet

A person’s diet can impact their physical health, but it can also influence their mental wellness. When you don’t eat well, you don’t feel well. It’s important to find the right mix of food that will put you in a good mood.

That being said, it’s essential to diversify and have a balanced diet. Too many sweets or fried foods can make you happy, but they create an internal imbalance in the long run. Focus on a diet that includes necessary vitamins and minerals.

2. Engage in Exercise

In conjunction with your diet, be more proactive by exercising. On the other side of the world, less than a third of U.S. adults meet suggested benchmarks set by health officials for physical activity. It’s a pretty tight race, with only 35% of Irish active five days or more weekly. Now’s the time to move.

If you haven’t had much physical engagement, start with a short walk outside to stretch your legs. A breath of fresh air can also put you in a good headspace. From there, you can increase your walk time and incorporate other exercises.

3. Practice Self-Care

Burnout can affect your mental health, so find ways to prevent it. Practising self-care can be a great way to refresh your mind. For instance, you can go on an out-of-town trip with friends to treat yourself or just take time out of your day to catch up on your favourite show.

4. Write in a Journal

Writing in a journal can be a great way to track your activities and vent your thoughts and feelings on paper. You can use different coloured pens to record your mood for each day. At the end of the week, look back and observe whether you’ve been stressed. Being more aware of your emotions can help manage your mental health.

5. Limit Social Media Use

There’s plenty of great content on social networks. However, it might be ideal to set a limit. In a global survey, 33% of people who spent more than three hours on social media reported negative impacts on their well-being. Change your phone’s settings or utilise an app to minimise the time you spend online.

6. Keep a Clean Environment

Cleaning is an ideal mindfulness activity since it makes you focus on the task at hand. Apart from being a stress reliever, it can also boost your mental health. A cluttered environment can contribute to depression and distress. Take the time to dust, wipe and organise your space when you can.

7. Turn in Early

Staying up now and then is valid, especially when you have homework due the next day. However, pulling an all-nighter is not good for your mental health. Head to bed early and get at least seven hours of sleep regularly. You’ll be in a better mood and have improved focus when you’re well-rested.

8. Speak to More People

Having a strong network of loved ones can help keep your spirits up. Connect with friends and family as often as you can. Ideally, it’s best to see these people in person to deepen your relationship with them. You can also engage in small talk with strangers to build up the habit of talking to people.

Take Initiative for Your Mental Health

Take the initiative to put yourself first. Being proactive for your mental health can take time and effort, but your peace of mind is more than worth it.

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We rely on the generosity of the public to fund our work and so far together we have achieved great things! Please do continue to support us so we can provide future generations in Ireland with the resources to recognise and talk about their emotions, and equip them to navigate the ever-changing world around them as they grow


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