• Question: What advice do you have for maintaining good mental health and well-being in our daily lives?

    Asked by Blingo366 on 1 Feb 2024.
    • Photo: Georgia Lambert

      Georgia Lambert answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      That is a great question! Everyone will have different things that will work for them and I am not a health care professional so I can’t give specific advice. But three things that help for me are going on walks outside whenever I get the opportunity (especially in winter when there is so little daylight) 🌳, talking through how I am doing with my housemates over a cup of tea when I need or want to β˜•, and talking to a therapist about once every two weeks πŸ“†.

    • Photo: Erin Pallott

      Erin Pallott answered on 1 Feb 2024: last edited 1 Feb 2024 3:48 pm

      A hard question, and I’m sure many will agree that it’s something we’re still figuring out even as adults! I don’t research in these fields, and I’m not an expert.
      But for me personally, it’s about being kind and gentle with yourself. You have an inner critic that will talk bad about everything you do, and you have to learn to tell it to quiet down!
      Also knowing when to take a break! Studying is hard because there is always more you can do. Try your best to stick to study hours and then switch off in the evening!

    • Photo: Martin McCoustra

      Martin McCoustra answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      I’ve been very lucky in my career in that I learned early on to take a break from work regularly and to not think about work. Basically, that meant I never worked at weekends and I still generally don’t. I’ve also been lucky that I can use stress to my advantage to make myself work harder. Though I wouldn’t recommend trying to work when you have the flu!

    • Photo: Bruno Silvester Lopes

      Bruno Silvester Lopes answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      I like to practice gratitude and mindfulness πŸ™‚ and thank all the people who have helped me to succeed where I am today despite all the difficulties and challenges πŸ™‚

    • Photo: David Bremner

      David Bremner answered on 2 Feb 2024:

      I am not a health practitioner and each person is different. What stresses or totally overwhelms one person will provide a challenge to someone else, we are all different in how we react to workload, situations and people.

      For me it is all about balance. Yes, you have to work hard to achieve what you want to, to progress through your chosen profession etc but it should NEVER come at the cost of stopping you from being with the people you love or doing the things that you like doing. I’ve learned that the hard way.

      Always being available for or to help others is brilliant and very commendable but don’t forget about you, make time for yourself too.

      Getting out into fresh air with nature or animals always puts a smile on my face, unless its snow, i don’t like snow!

    • Photo: Alexander De Bruin

      Alexander De Bruin answered on 2 Feb 2024:

      As others have said I’ve found that it’s about balance. Having a clear separation of work and not-work definitely helps and is something that I’ve found much easier to do since moving out of academic research.
      Other than that, I’ve found that mindset is the biggest factor for my daily wellbeing. The first part of my current mindset is only worrying about things that are within my control. Yes I’m aware of bigger & badder things going on in the world and my workplace, but my focus on what I can change and control helps to keep me from feeling overwhelmed. The other part is changing the voice of my internal critic to someone I find annoying and can therefore challenge that internal “not good enough” voice much more easily.
      The final thing that helps me keep positive is bouldering (indoor rock climbing), which keeps both my mind and body active and focused on something other than work.

    • Photo: Andrew McDowall

      Andrew McDowall answered on 2 Feb 2024: last edited 2 Feb 2024 10:30 am

      For myself, I find that keeping a clear separation between home and work is critical. Work is for work and home is for home. The time travelling between is great for switching between modes. I’m fortunate in that I live within walkign distance of work and have access to nature and green spaces. Light excercise and green spaces, the beauty and harmony of nature help a great deal. Finally I used to do traditional martial arts, including use of weapons. The excercise and camaraderie helped but so did the need to focus on the immediate. It concentrates the mind and brings into perspective what really matters when what really matters is the person in front of you trying to beat you about the head with a stick or punch you in the face or throw you to the floor.

      What works seems to be very individual and what is good for me may not be so for you. What works for me has also changed over time. When I was younger activity and excercise were the best way to deal with the stresses and strains of life. As I’ve grown older then more peaceful and contemplative means work better and now I turn more to the experience of beauty and harmony – in art, music, nature or architecture to achieve the same end.

    • Photo: Chigozie Onuba

      Chigozie Onuba answered on 4 Feb 2024:

      I would say having a good work like balance, going for a walk at least 20 minutes everyday, taking regularly breaks if possible and having a good sleep at night.
      Also speaking with family and close friends and going out for dinners and birthday celebrations etc.

    • Photo: Festus Ejikemeuwa

      Festus Ejikemeuwa answered on 5 Feb 2024:

      Practising meditation and praying, finding time to do some exercise and above all keeping in touch with family and friends.

    • Photo: Erica Oliveira

      Erica Oliveira answered on 5 Feb 2024:

      Make sure to find time to do things you enjoy, like watch series, read a book, or play games. It is also very important to do some exercises to keep your body and mind healthy!

    • Photo: Michael Schubert

      Michael Schubert answered on 5 Feb 2024:

      Always make time for yourself! Find the things you love to do that inspire you and make sure you do them. That might be anything from playing an instrument to playing a video game! Personally, I like to read, write, and get outdoors. I love camping, wheelchair hiking, canoeing, and playing with my dog.

      Learn to be kind to yourself and get comfortable with mistakes. Everyone makes them, so I find that it isn’t helpful to dwell on them. I try to just figure out what went wrong, how I can learn from it for next time, and move on.

    • Photo: Sharron Kenny

      Sharron Kenny answered on 5 Feb 2024:

      always make time for the things you enjoy. even if its just a little time, everyone needs a break and a passion away from work and bills πŸ™‚

    • Photo: Kirsty Lindsay

      Kirsty Lindsay answered on 6 Feb 2024:

      I think balance is important: thing like knowing when it’s time to put down work even if its not finished to have time with your family to eat a meal, or exercise, or rest/ sleep.

      and never feeling guilty about needing to rest: scientists and health care people are notoriously bad for feeling bad about stopping because we love our jobs!

    • Photo: Hannah Fawcett

      Hannah Fawcett answered on 6 Feb 2024:

      Being a researcher can be tough as it is a very busy and demanding role. I try to take time to be with family and friends and get out in nature for a walk.

    • Photo: Sophie Spinks

      Sophie Spinks answered on 6 Feb 2024: last edited 6 Feb 2024 2:04 pm

      Maintaining good mental health and wellbeing is so important! You need to look after yourself and keep yourself emotionally and physically healthy, before you can help anyone else. I would say that maintaining a good mixed diet and exercising regularly will help you keep physically healthy. To have good mental health, its important to have a good support network. Having hobbies and making time to socialise with friends, can help boost your mental health.

      Its also important to remember what makes you happy and improves your mood. You can make a list and do these things to cheer you up and make you feel better when you’re having a bad day or feeling mentally unwell. Seeing family and friends, spending time with people you love and with pets have been proven to boost your mood too!

      I have found that educating myself on mental health and wellbeing also helps. Telling people how you feel is so important too. Talking to family or friends can make you feel better and having someone to listen can make your feelings feel more valid

    • Photo: Lydia Eeles

      Lydia Eeles answered on 6 Feb 2024:

      It is so important to look after your mental health. I struggled a lot with this during my PhD, but had always been quite happy go lucky prior to this.

      During this time, I learnt that for me, doing things that had nothing to do with work were helpful for me. Things that made me happy included just being outside – it didn’t really matter to me about the weather, just being under the sky really helped my moods. Yoga, hiking, aerial arts, baking, making things and generally being creative, and learning new things that I wanted to, but didn’t have to learn (such as languages or dance class) have also all helped me to maintain good mental health and well-being.

      It doesn’t have to be any of these specific things though. FInd something that you really enjoy and make sure to find the time for it, don’t let that slip from your routine becuase you feel like you are too busy, this is a sure fire way to reach burnout. It really can make such a difference.

    • Photo: Kirsty Ross

      Kirsty Ross answered on 7 Feb 2024:

      Making sure that you don’t burn the candle at both ends by doing too much. I have a bad habit of doing this and I’ve come very close to burning out, which isn’t healthy for me or my family. I try to make sure I get enough steps in during the day. I’ve also taken to going down to the West Sands in St Andrews at 7am(!) to get a photo of the sunrise throughout the year. Looking at the sea makes my brain quiet. Lastly, keep an eye out for ‘glimmers’. These are tiny moments of joy. For example, my first sip of a hot coffee, as I can feel it all the way down to my stomach. The more you look for them the more you find.

    • Photo: Alberto Granero

      Alberto Granero answered on 9 Feb 2024:

      Control de controllables. Or, in other words, do not try to control things that are outside your control (e.g. weather, other people…) as that will cause stress. You can find things outside your control that you may influence though.

    • Photo: Mike Langford

      Mike Langford answered on 11 Feb 2024:

      This is so important, especially as COVID introduced revolutionary ways of working for some that has created mental health challenges for many.
      Working from home sounds great but creates social isolation. Access to work emails on your phone meana you are constantly on.

      My tips have all been said before.

      Set clear boundaries for home and work.
      Create time for activities/hobbies with people (ie put the phone down)
      Create routines that become habits. A minimum of 15 min exercise every day.

      For me…mindful 15mins
      I make fresh coffee from beans using a manual grinder as my mindful exercise – i now search for new beans that enhances the smell and taste experience.

    • Photo: David McGonigle

      David McGonigle answered on 11 Feb 2024:

      I don’t have much to add: there are some great answers in this thread.

      The best advice, exemplified by many others is to be kind to yourself.

      We haven’t changed our biological makeup at all in the last 20 years. However, sociologically – how societies work – has. Social networks, FOMO, the need to get likes, and the endless comparisons: it’s hard. Suddenly our social groups have expanded: great for experiencing and empathising with others that you’d never meet otherwise, less good for being bombarded daily with others’ carefully curated ‘perfect lives’.

      It’s not a solution to say just switch off your social media. We’re stuck with it, now, for better or worse. But you can ration it. Don’t doomscroll. Connect with people irl as well! Cherish your friends. And go dancing whenever you can. Certainly helps me…!

    • Photo: Pam Harrison

      Pam Harrison answered on 13 Feb 2024:

      Personally I work part time, as that is what works best for me and my family. I need time to myself sometimes so that my mental health doesn’t suffer – either just at home crafting or going out for a walk.
      I also make sure I spend time with my loved ones. There is more to life than work and getting the balance right for you is important.

    • Photo: Emma Singleton

      Emma Singleton answered on 19 Feb 2024:

      I look after myself by making sure I plan some time each day to do something I enjoy. For me that is going for a walk, messing about at my allotment or doing some yoga. Whatever you find fun away from work, it is important to schedule time in to you day or week to make sure you do it.