Wednesday 10 February 2021

Helping improve my mental health with small changes

The current changes has led to plethora of news about it's impact on our mental health.  I've written plenty about how it's impacted on us and just generally about the additional stresses that come with raising children who happen to have additional needs.  Then someone said to me "Well, what can you do about?"

It's easy for us to think about our kids mental health, more than our own.  In the same way we prioritise everything else.   If you are suffering from clinical depression or anxiety, something that needs expert help, then seek support or a facility run by professionals who can put you on a mental health program.

We know that talking about our stresses is really important, but I've also been told that thinking about what I do on a daily or weekly basis, can help me look after myself and my mental health more.  Just as I would look after other parts of my health, like taking vitamins (ps. I'm not that good at remembering to do that either). 


I am terrible with this.  The idea of having to organise someone else to look after the kids (even if it's a case of the other half who is working from home) is a pain. It's just easier to do it myself. I can't be bothered with all the fuss of going out for a run... getting changed, finding running socks and trainers and then showering when I get back too! Not easy when there's a kid with a iPad stood by your side. 

It might sound strange because I know I feel better after some exercise. It can be a way of looking after my mental health. It speeds up the production of chemicals in the body – serotonin, for example – that boost my mood. The more of these chemicals and hormones I have, the less cortisol I will have (the ‘stress hormone’) and the happier and healthier I could feel for a period at least.   

The key is finding something that works for you. If you don’t like the gym, yoga might be ideal. f you need to be at home then following an online workout video can give you the boost you need.  Sometimes I do quick workouts using an app with my kids, other days it's a walk outside.  Trying to really been mindful at these times too.  Noticing what it's like on the walk, the weather and how it feels, what's happening around me.  It really helps me just focus on the now, not all the worries and whatever else is happening.


It's OK to have some junk food and reach for the chocolate.  I know I do and that's not the end of the world even if I know it's because I'm feeling stressed.  The important thing it that I try not to do it all the time. 

By eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, I'm trying to give me better, and that can improve my mental health at the same time. Some ideas of what you can eat that will make me feel great include sweet fruit and raw vegetables, oily fish, lean meats, fresh soup, and even salad! I sometimes also try smaller portions, gradually reducing the amount of food I'm eating if I know I've had snacks. Plus I can add multivitamins to my diet too ... if I just remembered to take them. 


Sleep has been a major issue in our house for years.  If you need to sleep, you should sleep try and find it - trust me. If that means going to be earlier than usual or getting up later, or even having a short nap during the day (short being the operative word here since you might feel worse if you nap for too long), then so be it.

I know it's not easy when things are disrupted. I end up staying up later and later and I' don't really know why.  I'm using the excuse that I'm waiting to 'feel' tied before going to bed.  This is important but only when it's true.  I think it's really because I'm just spending time alone without all the rest of the chaos of the house.   But I know there are things I can try to help me get more sleep.

Bu I know that your body repairs itself when you are asleep. All energy and brainpower are focused on making these repairs and that’s good for your body, but it’s also good for your mental health. It means I won’t be worrying about other things and my mind will be clear. This is why, when I wake up after a good night’s sleep, I’ll usually feel rested and happier.. or possibly at least less grumpy.  


  1. It is amazing how small changes can make a big difference. I actually found that yoga was the biggest help for me. Improved my sleep, lessened my joint pains, and made me feel better about myself. Just need to work on my diet.... #KCACOLS

  2. Well, I'm getting more sleep due to less activities! Isolation is horrible for exercise, though. not burning many calories walking from the PC to the fridge and back, not matter how often I do it!

  3. Exercise is a big one - it can shift my mood just getting the blood & oxygen moving! #KCACOLS

  4. It's funny how exercise, food and sleep are basic human needs but they are the first things to go when we stop looking after ourselves. I agree that these small things make a big difference but for me I sometimes find them the hardest to prioritise- especially for myself.

    Katrina x

  5. I find it hard to keep motivated too when it comes to exercise. I've been trying to do a variation of actvities to keep it interesting. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS

  6. All so important. I'm really trying at the moment but it is so hard isn't it! #KCACOLS

  7. Exercise is definitely a big one for me, even if I don't always want to do it, I know I'll feel so much better once I've moved my body a bit. x #KCACOLS

  8. This is s super helpful reminder of how some small achievable changes can have a huge positive impact on your mental health x x Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS


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