30 ways to improve your mental health

30 ways to improve your mental health

Did you know it’s our 30th anniversary this month? We’ll be sharing lots of information about our history, plans for the future, and a some fun and themed challenges throughout the month to celebrate 30 years of The Cellar Trust! We thought we’d kick start things by sharing our 30 ways to improve your mental health…

1 – Listen to your favourite music

Music can give you a fantastic boost. Whether you’re into pop, rock or indie, do something today that involved music – turn on the radio, make a new feel-good Spotify playlist, or head to a record store to get out and about and find inspiration.

2 – Go for a walk

Being outside and in breathing in the fresh air is great for the mind and body. Whether you go for a 10 minute stroll or a full day hike, even just a little bit of time spent outside can make a huge difference. Check out some of our favourite walks and green spaces here.

3 – Do something that used to make you happy as a child

Whether you make jam sandwiches for lunch or start a diary, do something from your childhood that made you happy.

4 – Organise and de-clutter

A drawer full of odds and ends or a wardrobe that needs a little TLC? Why not spend an hour organising something in your home! It feels great to get de-clutter and even doing something small is a big achievement. Did you know we have a charity shop in Shipley town centre? If you decide to have a clear out please do think of us.

5 – Compliment yourself and someone else

Start your day by mentally listing or writing down three things you like about yourself. This could be something as simple as the colour of your eyes, an achievement you’ve had during the week, or you favourite personality trait, and then remember how that makes you feel! While you’re at it, compliment someone else during your day, whether you praise a colleague on a fantastic job, or tell a friend that you love their new nail colour. Small acts of kindness towards yourself and others feel amazing!

6 – Get an early night

We’re all guilty of going to bed late or not getting enough sleep in general. When possible, why not head to bed half an hour early to make sure you’re ready for the day ahead. That extra bit of sleep will work wonders and put a spring in your step.

7 – Have a social media ‘detox’

We’re all guilty of spending too much time on social media. Today make a conscious effort to reduce your phone screen time or stay away from it altogether if you can!

8 – Cook something different or bake a cake

Dig out those old recipe books or find something new to make or bake. Cooking and baking are both very therapeutic activities, and you can enjoy the results yourself or share with friends and family.

9 – Make plans with a friend

Whether you make plans with someone you see every week or someone you may only see once a year, get something booked in the diary with a person you love to spend time with. Catch up over a coffee go to one another’s for tea.

10 – Paint, write, or try something else creative

Doing creative activities is great for wellbeing, so why not try something different for day 10? Try your hand at poetry, song-writing, painting, drawing, knitting, and something else you’ve always wanted to have a go at.

11 – Plan a healthy meal

It’s really easy to rely on convenience food when you’re busy or have a lot on your mind. Go out of your way to make a healthy snack or meal – whether that be a little pack of pomegranate seeds or a lovely bowl of salad!

12 – Read a book

Why not scour your local charity book store to find something new to read? You may stumble across a new fiction find, or a fantastic autobiography by someone inspirational

13 – Find a quite place to meditate

Whether you take five minutes out to sit and relax, or listen to some soothing music – try different meditation techniques and see if you can find one that works for you.

14 – Dance while you do the housework

Tackling household chores can seem like a mammoth task, but if you pop some music on and dance your way around the vaccum cleaning or bop along while washing dishes, it’ll make it more fun and lift your mood!

15 – Treat yourself to a colouring book

Colouring is great for mindfulness, and there’s loads of brilliant options out there from patterns to landscapes! Pick yourself up a book and some pencils/crayons today

16 – Go to the cinema

Not been to the cinema in ages and seen an advert that’s caught your eye? Why not take a solo trip to the cinema to see the latest independent film or big blockbuster! There’s also lots of fantastic 2-4-1 offers out there so bring a friend if you fancy making it a trip for two!

17 – Be a tourist in your own town

No matter how long you’ve lived in a town or city, there’s always something new to explore. Why not check out the community boards at your local event spaces and libraries, or have a google search to see if there’s anything new and exciting happening in your area

18 – Go on a picnic

Check the weather forecast and if there’s a beautiful day coming up then head out on a picnic. Spending even just a few minutes in the sunshine (remember the sun cream!) can boost your mood

19 – Write a to-do list

Lists are a great way to help you get those ever-increasing mental notes down on paper. Whether you use the notes app on your phone or treat yourself to a notebook or some post-its, writing things down can really help with stress, and consolidating your thoughts can make bigger tasks more manageable

20 – Say no to something

If you feel rushed off your feet and are able to say no to a function or event then do it! Having time to relax and recuperate is important, and being busy all the time may mean you don’t get the chance for ‘me time’

21 – Plan a games night

Whether you opt for Monopoly, Kerplunk, or Twister, why not book in a games night with a few friends? It’s a great way to have a laugh and get together with your favourite people!

22 – Drink more water

Sometimes we’re so busy we forget to drink, or we just slip into bad habits of only having soft drinks! Make a point of drinking enough water each day – you’ll feel more energised and it’s a great start towards a healthier lifestyle

23 – Practice a hobby

Have a hobby you love but sometimes feel like you don’t get to spend enough time on it? Block out some time in your diary to pick it back up again! It can be ten minutes of crocheting or an hour of badminton – make time for the things you love

24 – Do 30 minutes of yoga

Yoga is a great way to start your day, or to unwind and relax. There are lots of classes in and around Bradford, or why not sign up to an online class so you can do it from home?

25 – Write down something great that happened today

Write down something fantastic from your day and put it somewhere visible (on the fridge, in your diary etc.) to remind yourself of an achievement, big or small, that happened today

26 – Ask for help

Is there a task you’ve been struggling with at work, or do you need to talk to someone about how you feel? Ask for help. It can be a colleague, a friend, or someone else, just be sure to take the first step in asking for some help and assistance if you need it

27 – Set a small goal

This can be anything from a week of making packed lunches instead of convenience eating, to trying to spend less time on social media. Go for something challenging but achievable and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment

28 – Pamper yourself

Taking ten minutes out to do a face mask or paint your nails can make you feel so much better. Head down to your local supermarket or beauty store and pick up something small for a mini pamper

29 – Write an email, send a letter or message someone you haven’t spoken to in a while

Some of us have friends we don’t get to see very often, which can be down to distance, hectic schedules, or anything in between. Take the time to write someone an email, letter or message to let them know you’re thinking of them and find out what their latest news is

30 – Take up a new sport

Always fancied joining a local club or taking up a new sport? Now’s the time to go for it! It’s a great way to get yourself out there and meet new people

Looking after your mental health at university

Looking after your mental health at university

Starting university can be a really daunting experience. Whether you’re commuting from home, living away for the first time, or juggling family life and studying, it’s important to look after yourself and others. Below you’ll find our top tips for managing stress and putting things in place to make the transition easier…

Before you start…

Register with your local GP in your new town/city

When you move to a new town or city there’s a lot of ‘life admin’ to sort out. One thing that should be at the top of your list is registering with your local GP to make sure you can access health services and emergency care if you need it. For further advice and information, please visit the dedicated NHS webpage.

Research your local mental health services

Whether you’re staying close to home or moving away, be sure to research your local mental health services should you need them. Your (new!) GP can refer you to a range of services, but like a lot of our services, you can also self-refer. You can find a lot of charities and organisations on social media or via google, who will be happy to help you in any way they can.

Lists, lists and more lists!

Lists are a great way to help you get those ever-increasing mental notes down on paper. Whether you use the notes app on your phone or treat yourself to a notebook or some post-its, writing things down can really help with stress, and consolidating your thoughts can make bigger tasks more manageable. Here are some handy lists that have already been made for you…

  • If you’re moving into halls or student housing you’ll find this fantastic UCAS checklist really helpful!
  • The Complete University Guide has a brilliant ‘Managing Your Money‘ page, which advises on everything from council tax to budgeting

When you’re there…

Talk to your peers and/or access the university mental health support service

When you start university it’s likely everyone will be feeling excited, but also anxious, stressed, homesick and a little lonely. Did you know that universities have dedicated mental health support services, sometimes called a student wellbeing service, which you can go to with any kind of mental health worries or issues. If you’d prefer to talk to your peers, then why not ask your new flatmate out for coffee as it’ll give you both a chance to share your feelings and know you’re not alone. Although it may seem like a small step, it really can make a big difference.

Limit your time on social media

It’s very easy to compare yourself to others, especially when everyone is having new experiences and posting more frequently on social media throughout September. Try to do or remember the following:

  • Although easier said than done, be sure to enjoy the moment and not compare yourself to others – what people portray on social media isn’t always true to real life
  • You can track your social media usage via the settings on each platform, so why not set yourself a challenge to reduce this
  • Book in regular catch ups via phone or FaceTime with family and friends back home. Having set times will give you something to look forward to and help you keep connected to home life, and means you’re not just communicating via WhatsApp or text

Create a new playlist

Listening to music is a great way to boost your mood, so why not create yourself a brand new playlist for your first week at university. Here are some great ideas for playlists:

  • Select artists and bands from the region you’re in or have moved to
  • Include songs from the year you were born and the year you start university so you’ve got a little bit of everything from two important years in your life
  • Go for an uplifting theme – whether that be anthems, pop or holiday songs – it’ll come in handy when you’re studying and help keep you going!

Take regular breaks and have naps

As you’re learning to juggle a new schedule, keeping on top of your sleeping habits is really important. Not having enough sleep can massively contribute to levels of stress and anxiety, so where possible try and set yourself up for a fantastic day ahead by going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting in a couple of power naps on busy days

Help available in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven

We serve Bradford, Airedale Wharfedale and Craven, and work closely with other fantastic mental health charities and organisations across those regions. If you’re starting unviversity in any of these areas, please do make a note of the following information should you ever need it:

  • First Response offers support 24 hours a day, seven days a week to people of all ages living in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale or Craven experiencing a mental health crisis. Please call 01274 221181 if you need support
  • You can get in touch with us directly via 01274 586474 if you need to access any of our services
  • Use the NHS directory, the Bradford District Care Trust site, or the Bradford DIVA directory to find other local services