4 Changes That Have Helped Improve My Mental Health

changes that have helped improve my mental health

In the past couple of weeks I’ve started to realise something – I feel more like me than I have done in a long time. I feel energetic and driven and focussed on what I want to achieve, and other than a couple of panicky moments here and there, my anxiety has been pretty much under control.

It’s amazing really, how sometimes you don’t realise how poorly you’ve been until you start to feel better again. But I do feel better, and so today I wanted to share the 4 changes that have helped improve my mental health. I must stress that these are the things that have helped me, and it’s always a good idea to talk about what might work for you with a professional.

changes that have helped improve my mental health1) Exercise

I’m one of those people who thinks they hate exercise. I sign up for the gym classes or schedule a run in my diary, and then I spend the entire day coming up with excuses to get me out of it. And sure, exercise isn’t always the easiest thing to do and it probably isn’t as fun as eating a Domino’s on the sofa, but my GOD, does it make a difference to my mental health.

A 30 minute jog makes me feel like I can achieve world domination – my mind is clearer, I sleep better and those positive endorphins really do cheer me up. I absolutely believe that trying to get back into a regular running routine has massively helped me get my anxiety under control and it’s a much better destress button then reaching for a glass of vino.

2) Getting a pet

Okay, so I know this might not be the kind of advice you’d expect to read in a post like this, but I swear that adopting out little kitty has worked wonders for my mental health. There’s something so comforting about coming home to someone waiting at the door to greet you, and cuddling Lola on the sofa is the perfect way to switch off after a stressful day at work.

And it’s not just me – studies have shown that petting a dog or a cat helps to lower your heart rate. I think that the routine and structure that comes with looking after a pet is definitely a contributing factor too. Whatever the reason, I can wholeheartedly say that I’ve been infinitely happier since adding our little fur baby to our family.

3) Plenty of sleep

We all know that sleep is good for us, but I don’t think I realised quite how important it was until I wasn’t getting enough. I’ve never been someone who struggled with sleep and I’ve always managed around 8 hours a night, but a combination of a busy summer schedule and quite a bit of stress was making this impossible.

However, recently I’ve switched up my routine a bit and prioritised those much needed early nights, and it’s made the world of difference. Life just feels that little bit less overwhelming when I’m fully rested – I feel calmer, more measured in my decision making and I have the energy to tackle my to do list.

4) Learning to prioritise the right stuff

I think this last point has been the biggest game changer for me. I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to let anybody down, and as a result I always end up with a crazy busy schedule of work commitments and social events – sometimes just looking at my diary can make me feel a bit panicky about fitting everything in.

I’ve realised recently though that I can only be a good friend/wife/employee/daughter/blogger if I look after myself first, and so I’ve been trying to free up some space in my diary for down time. I’ve been saying yes to the stuff that I really want to do, and politely declining the rest so that I can spend a little bit of time chilling out at home, and honestly, that free time has been the biggest gift I could have given myself.

There you have it 4 changes that have helped improve my mental health. Do you find that these things also work for you?

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  • Vicky A

    I’m so happy that your anxiety is under control.
    For me distraction is pretty much the best option. I have a difficult relationship with exercise so only workout when I WANT to so it’s not something to rely on, although I am hoping to continue enjoying it as much as I am at the moment.
    As for my pet, she’s an adorable bundle of floof but is the source of a lot of my day to day worries due to her health issues and the fact she’s systematically destroying my (rented) flat haha.

    V ❤️

    • I can definitely see that having a pet could be a source of stress too! x

  • So glad you’ve found things to help you improve your mental health! I think, once you find a few tricks you can rely on to make you feel better, you’re on to a winner!

    I’d definitely agree with all of these things – especially sleep! And I’m glad it’s not just me who looks at her diary and starts to panic about fitting everything in.

    A really weird, specific one for me is making sure I take time out to eat properly. Don’t get me wrong, I never miss a meal! It’s just that, when I feel stressed, it really helps me to take time away from screens and away from my desk and just sit at the table and focus on what I’m eating. I don’t know why it helps, maybe it just gives me a bit of head space and makes me feel like I’m looking after myself!

    • Oooooh that’s a great tip – I’m going to try that! x

  • Joanne

    Exercise and sleep are both so so important. Also, I think I need a lot of work on prioritising, I tend to say “yes” to far too many things and pursue this whole multi-tasking approach to life when in reality, I think doing less with more focus helps us achieve better things and is better for our overall well being!
    Lovely post. Have a good weekend xo

    Joanne | With Risa: A Lifestyle Blog

    • I totally agree – doing a few things well is much better! X

  • All of these points are so so valid, I whole heartedly agree with exercising, even just a little bit can make such a difference to your mental health! Frankie x

  • Diana Maria

    Good for you for being proactive in your mental health. Exercise- as much as I might not like it, has helped me so much as well. It just makes you feel so good and energized after. Sleep plays a huge role in how I feel as well, all of these are great tips for those struggling with their mental health. The kitten sounds like a wonderful new addition to your home! xx

    Sending light & love your way,
    My Lovelier Days | Bloglovin’

    • I think that the exercise helps the sleep part too! x

  • I really liked what you said about not knowing how poorly you’d been until you start to feel better; it’s so true. The past couple of weeks I’ve been feeling a bit meh because I was overwhelmed and now I’m almost back feeling like myself and looking back at it, I’m thinking “whoa”. Exercise always makes me feel better, and prioritising. I’ve had my kitty cat for 10 years now and he definitely calms me down – apart from when I’m trying to catch a mouse he brought home and lost…

    • Oooooh, you’re making me feel glad that we’ve got an indoor kitty! Haha x

  • These four points are absolutely spot on Sophie! I really think exercise makes a HUGE difference, they way you feel like you have achieved is so good – I never regret a gym sesh or quick jog round the park. I definitely think pets are absolutely key too, I miss having Bear (my golden doodle) to cuddle on the sofa / take out for a long walk – I can’t wait till we are in the position to have a pet of our own 🙂 I have learnt how to say no recently, which I am so proud of haha – having three evenings a week to just do my own thing is so essential! Immy x

    • I totally agree – I sometimes feel guilty for saying no to something when I have no plans, but I need that sofa time for my sanity! x

  • I went to see ruby Wax’s live show/Book Tour on Frazzled last week, she was very good! Alice xxx

  • Number 1 and number 3 are essential to feeling good right. The more I look after myself the less I need to worry because I’m just, you know, good in my mind and body!
    Holly xxx ///

  • 100% relate to each of these points… I have felt SO good from getting out training on my bike several times a week, and totally agree with getting a pet, the love that they have to give!
    Abi xx

    • It’s so true – she cheers me up every single day x

  • Prioritising is definitely the thing I am worst at – I’m definitely feeling v.frazzled at the moment and cant seem to say no to anything! Exercise is a big one for me, its amazing how different you can feel after a little run or a gym class xx

    • I struggle with that too, I feel guilty for saying no to something if I have no plans but sometimes I just need some chill time! x

  • Exercising really does help with my mood, and makes me feel so much better mentally afterwards.
    Alicia x

  • Erin Cotter

    Yes I love getting a good amount of sleep. Plus exercising during the day. I think a lot of times I feel overstressed so I try to oversleep to compensate, but just making sure I get my 8 hours plus exercise is definitely the way! I love animals too. I always think about fostering a puppy instead of buying one since I sometimes travel.