Make hay while the sun shines

Many, many years ago when I was a mere whippersnapper I had a boyfriend whose brother had broken his back in a motorcycle accident.  The brother was really struggling with his mental health, but my boyfriend would encourage him during his ‘good head’ days to put structures and other things in place to help him through the ‘bad head’ days. My boyfriend explained that he was all about helping his brother to ‘make hay while the sun shines’. I never truly took this to heart until a few years ago when I myself started a period of introspection and thinking about what good mental health looked like to me.


Find out what works for you


We all have mental health; sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s poor.  Recognising the state of your mental health is as important as recognising when you have the flu or not.  When you can recognise when your mental health is suffering, you are one step ahead of putting things in place to get you to a healthier head space.  Equally, knowing what helps you to get to a better mental health state is so important in finding your way back there when necessary.


Foods that naturally amplify feeling good through the neurotransmitter serotonin


Apart from medication, did you know that there are also some foods that are helpful in raising levels of the mood stabiliser and feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin in your brain?  Try some good quality dark chocolate, salmon, eggs and tofu to mention just a few.  Keep some of these ingredients in the house for when you need a particular boost, or even better, make eating these part of your weekly diet.


Additionally, thinking about what helps you get back to a better head day is best done when your sun is indeed shining; it will make it an easier task.  However, if you’re not there right now, there’s still nothing stopping you making your own list.  Perhaps having someone with you while you put this list together might make the task a bit easier for you.


Do things that make you feel good


Here are some ideas to help you get started on this journey:

– Think of 3 or 4 small activities that you enjoy doing, that help you focus on nothing else, and that don’t take a huge amount of effort.  Write them down and pin them somewhere visible as a reminder when you’re struggling with your mental health.

– Make sure that you have 2 or 3 people you can call or speak with when you’re not in a great place.  As tempting as it might be to shut down when you’re not in a good head space, social support and contact is really important.

– Stick to a simple routine to help structure your day, from getting up at the same time and making your bed, to making sure that you shower and look after your personal hygiene needs.

– Practice mindfulness, whatever this looks like to you.  Some like guided mindfulness while others enjoy colouring in.  Whichever you choose, enjoy it and use it regularly.

– Meditation is another great way to help get your head into a better place.

– Get out of your house!  Spend some time in nature and exercise, even if it’s just a walk.

– Most important of all: be kind to yourself.

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