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Without a doubt, good mental health has always been essential for good health and well-being. In the past year, the profound impact of COVID 19 on our daily lives has tested our patience, resolve and mental health at times.

The following is an example list of goals to help improve your mental health. If you choose to set yourself any of these goals or similar goals, it is recommended you write them down with a date you will begin to take action on them and write out steps you will follow to create a plan to turn your goals into reality. After following this process displaying your goals as a written statement in a place, you are likely to see often reminds us of our chosen goal and hopefully helps us focus on this.


The quality of our relationships impacts our mental health and well being. In the past year, spending more time at home has meant that many of us will have spent more time than usual with our family and partner and enjoyed this additional time. On the other hand, some of us may have found it a bit claustrophobic and very challenging at times! For those who live alone, we too may have welcomed the extra time at home, although some will have experienced a lack of social interaction, loneliness, and isolation at times. To improve our relationships’ quality, we could jointly come together with our family and partner at home and agree on a goal to share allocated quality time doing activities that all family members would enjoy also incorporating our own personal time and space where possible. Those who live on their own can put a goal in place that focuses on staying in regular contact with friends and family on the phone or online.


A regular moderate amount of exercise of three to four times a week of around 30 minutes, depending on the current fitness level and ability will promote our fitness level. Anyone who has not exercised for several years and with any ill health conditions should consult their doctor before the commencement of exercise for individual advice. Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and improving self-esteem. Many of us will be familiar with the fact that exercise creates a chemical reaction of endorphins that interact with your brain’s receptors and help trigger a positive feeling. Of course, we can do many things to exercise, including going for a walk, running and jogging, cycling, dancing, cleaning and tidying our home, getting the heart rate going, and providing exercise. In terms of exercise at home, it is possible to research and find a suitable YouTube workout channel to try at home.


Good nutrition means the body gets all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to work best, which benefits us in several ways, including reducing the risk of different diseases, fighting off illnesses, and recovering from illness and our overall well-being . I’m, sure many of us, are familiar with the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ or to put it another way “tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are” (Anthelme Brillat – Savarin). Simultaneously, suppose we consume alcohol or any other activities not good for the body in that case, maintaining this to a moderate level or less will allow our body to benefit even more from the nutrition we feed it. Thus, eating a healthy nutritious diet gives us good energy and can help us feel better; research suggests what we eat affects our mental health and well-being.


Spending even more time in our homes has meant most of us have spent even more time on the internet and increased screen time. Several studies suggest higher screen use levels in children and adolescents are associated with increased risk of depression and lower well-being. Perhaps similar adverse effects can be expected with adults. Research has proven that connecting with the natural world and nature is good for our mental health, well-being and happiness nature-impact-our-wellbeing. We might start by noticing three good things in nature each day from a bird’s song to the breeze in a tree to connect with nature. We may even choose to walk in our local park or open green space and observe nature outside our home. Other ideas include gardening at home, growing vegetables and fruits or plants indoors if we lack outside space. Another great option is being a pet owner and caring for a pet and the rewarding aspect from interacting with that pet.


Part of looking after ourselves includes adequate rest and relaxation to promote our physical and mental health by helping our body rest, recover, and re-energise. For rest the importance of good quality sleep is essential The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends “at least 11-12 hours sleep for preschool-aged children, 10 hours sleep for school-aged – aged children, 9-10 hours for teens and 7-8 hours for adults. On the other hand, there is a vast choice of things we may find help with relaxation including deep breathing, mediation, yoga, listening to music, cooking, painting, various arts and crafts, and watching television. If we live a busy life with work, study, or family life, good quality rest and relaxation away from our daily responsibilities are even more vital for good mental health.

In summary, it is, of course, accepted that setting goals or the type of goals we can set to improve our mental health are dependant on our mental capacity. In some cases, people in poor mental health may struggle even physically to look after themselves daily. If you found that your life circumstances had changed overnight through bereavement, relationship loss, loss of a job or business etc., you may feel too depressed to work towards any goals other than just getting through the day. If we think we are in poor mental health, it may be necessary to rest and recover and seek support from family, friends, or a doctor or counsellor’s professional help. However, if you do feel able to set yourself some new goals to improve your mental health, it’s a great way to invest your time and energy to improve your mental health. - CHRIS SHAW

Chris is a personal development life coach and a writer who, through his challenges, is passionate about helping people to achieve their best and live their dreams whilst taking action against what’s holding them back. Chris was born with a physical disability of club feet and childhood epilepsy. From a very young age Chris’s personal experience includes living with the impact of alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illnesses and supporting others with these challenges. Chris worked as a charity worker for ten years interacting and helping people with various conditions and challenges. He prides himself in caring, connecting and supporting people from all backgrounds. Chris has set up Plan to Succeed to provide information and practical support to help people achieve their best and live their dreams.

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