Photography Andrew Coffey
Strengthening our mental fitness is all about doing small things consistently.
- Whanaungatanga (connect) – Spending time connecting with whānau, friends and teammates helps build our sense of belonging and makes it easier to reach out when we need support.
- Me kori tonu (be active) – Fuel your body with the best hydration and food, fresh is best. Try and limit sugary foods and drink where possible.
- Tukua (give) – Doing something nice for someone else is great for our mental wellbeing. That could be volunteering your time or your presence.
- Talk to people you trust – Sharing what’s going on in your life, good and bad, with people you trust is a great way to strengthen your support network and get things off your chest when you need.
- Practice gratitude – Take time to notice the things you are grateful for. Doing this daily can help train our brains to make focusing on the positive a habit.
- Be in the moment – Mindfulness is a great way to give your mind a rest. Focusing on your breath is a useful tool to bring your attention back to the present.
- Prioritise sleep – Sleep is one of the biggest influences of mental fitness, most people need between 7-9 hours and there are so many ways to help improve your sleep.
- Take time out – Having time to rest is important. Block out time in advance that is ‘protected time’ for you to spend doing something you enjoy to re-energise.
Need help right now?
Don’t wait. There are many options to call or text for instant support and help right now. Visit headfirst.co.nz for a list of places and people who can help.
Signs your mental fitness might be struggling
We can all go through times where we struggle with our mental fitness. It’s important to have an idea of what some of the common signs are so you can keep an eye out for yourself and for others. Some common signs are:
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Feeling sad, down or not enjoying things you usually would
- Changes in eating habits
- Feeling very anxious or worried constantly
- Mood swings
- Participating in unsafe behaviour such as excessive drinking, taking drugs or violence