• Fiona Hewkin Counselling

8 Tips to Improve Your Mental Health

Updated: Sep 21


Eight great tips to improve your mental health. There are plenty of things we can do to support our journey through counselling. Activities and mindsets that improve our mental health overall.



I’ve even added some links to some great activities and therapists that are local to me here in Haslemere.

All of the things listed here have been subject to peer reviewed research that suggests that they are beneficial to our mental health. Just so you know I’m not making this stuff up!


1. Get Closer to Nature.

Regular blog followers will know I recently wrote a blog extolling the benefits of getting out in nature. If you would like to read it you can find it HERE.


Getting out in Nature can have lots of benefits,


  • Improves your mood – vitamin D is really good for this

  • Get more oxygen – this increases serotonin which improves mood

  • Reduces anger or stress

  • Improves your physical health

  • Increases confidence

  • Improves self-esteem

  • Helps us feel more connected to nature

  • Can help us meet others and reduce feelings of loneliness

  • Exercise makes us sleep better

  • Nature improves cognitive function – it makes us smarter!


2. Exercise

Our minds and bodies are connected. Looking after our physical health helps with our mental health.

Get some movement in, it doesn’t have to be a full-on gym work out, we are not all professional athletes! Exercise releases feel good hormones that can reduce feelings of stress or anxiety. It can improve our sleep as well. You don’t have to climb a mountain or go hiking for miles. Take a stroll, go to the park, spend time in a garden. If you are local to Haslemere there are tons of walks. The Visit Haslemere website has a list of fairly easy walks to do.

If you want to try some really great exercise from a sensible down to earth coach check out Laurenslatercoaching on Instagram. I love her approach.


3. Get in touch with your feelings

Sometimes we are upset but we don’t know why. It could be a whole host of things and we can’t quite put our finger on it. It could be fear, sadness, loneliness, shame, or something else. Being able to name what we feel is really helpful. We might say to ourselves, “I am feeling really angry today and also frightened”

Using a feelings wheel can often help us identify and name what we feel.


Feelings Wheel

Some people find it helpful to write down what they are feeling, either as a list or as a journal. Whatever you choose to do talk kindly to yourself. Its comforting and really important. Talk to yourself as you would your best friend.


4. Money Worries

The cost of living is rising in an eyewatering way and debt is a real and present worry for a lot of people. Fears around paying the rent or buying food are extremely stressful and can make coping with anything else so much harder. Whoever said money can’t make you happy had obviously never been really skint! Just to clarify money can’t actually make you happy, but it’s a lot easier to be happy if you can pay the bills!

Here in Haslemere there is an awesome resource for money matters. 3 Counties Church offer free, impartial, independent, and confidential advice. Take a look at their website for FREE debt, benefits & money advice, HERE

5. Get Enough Sleep

The average adult needs between 6 and 8 hours of sleep a night. If you are finding this difficult, try some of these tips


Cat asleep under duvet

Cut out the caffeine – it’s a stimulant. Try and avoid it after lunch time

Less screen time before bed – The light on screens messes with our sleep patterns and tells our brains to stay awake. Try and stay off your phone, TV or tablet for an hour before bed.

Try this breathing exercise as you try and go to sleep. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it for one second, breather out through your mouth for six seconds. As you do this make sure your tongue and jaw are relaxed. You might just be surprised how well this works.


Picture of a beach with text describing a breathing exercise

6. Healthy Eating

We all know that a healthy balanced diet is the way to go, so why is it so hard to do? Sugary drinks and snack can give us a sense of a high or comfort. Sadly, this doesn’t last long and can leave us with a sugar crash and feeling jittery and tired. I’m NOT suggesting that we cut all sugar out but be mindful of what you eat and how it makes you feel. Try and eat a few more portions of veg and throw some fruit in for good measure.

Food gets mixed up with our feelings and some people overeat or under eat when they are upset. If that is the case, it could help to talk to someone about this and get professional support if needed.


7. Try Some Supporting Therapies

Those lots of therapies we can access now to support our mental health or our counselling journey. Think of massage, aromatherapy, reiki, EFT. It’s a long list and there’s something for everyone


Massage and aromatherapy

Amanda Clegg of Body Harmony Massage and Aromatherapy offers remedial massage and aromatherapy in Elstead. Massage is great for helping pain and stress and Amanda is qualified to support injury/surgery rehab. Aromatherapy is particularly useful for trauma or abuse survivors as it is non-invasive, and you don’t even need to be touched. She provides personalised blends that be used in a diffuser, a roll on, lotions etc to help address a wide range of issues. Having used aromatherapy while I was studying. I can say from personal experience that it helped keep me calm and focused.


Amanda Riley from The Art of Healing in Farnborough also offers complimentary therapies. Now I do not claim to know how reiki works but I know that I felt wonderful when I finished a session with her.


Aromatherapy bottles


Reflexology

This is a particular type of therapy in non-invasive and can promote deep relaxation. It is based on the belief that different points on the feet, lower legs and hands correspond with different parts of the body. Michelle Galbraith is a reflexologist based in Farnham who offers a range of services. Check out her website HERE.


Tapping

OK I will be honest here when I first heard of energy tapping, I thought it was a load of old twaddle. How could tapping on points of the face and hands change the way that people feel? Then I met Kelly Mayne of Godalming Hypnotherapy and Coaching and I have to say I’m convinced. There is a growing body of research that attests to the usefulness and efficacy of Modern Energy Tapping or of EFT.

Again, this is a practice that is particularly useful for trauma or abuse survivors. It’s non invasive and you do not have to revisit old traumas or relive them.


8. Get creative

Art is good for us! I talked about this in a blog last year. Ok it’s a very short blog but I was just getting started.

Studies have shown that viewing art relieves stress and can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Researchers in the UK suggest that when we look at art that we consider beautiful triggers all the same physical responses as when we fall in love. Now if that isn’t a good reason to potter off to a gallery, I don’t know what is.

Actually, creating art, in any form is even better for us. The act of creating lowers markers for cortisol, (stress hormone) and can raise serotonin levels. Making art impacts on brain wave patterns, emotions and can help regulate our nervous system. The best bit is that it doesn’t even have to be great art. Doodling, colouring in, just messing about with paints all have the same benefits.

Why not try a local art class or community project. Here in Haslemere we have Lucy Flavell who works with Joanna Spragg owner of Escape2Art. She does friendly and affordable classes. I am eying up her class for using pastels, because frankly I am rubbish with them and need all the help I can get!


For further tips for mental wellbeing take a look at the following websites


5 steps to mental wellbeing - NHS

Wellbeing - Mind

Ten Things You Can Do for Your Mental Health


If you would like support for your mental health or would like to discuss any of the topics in this blog, please use the contact from and get in touch.