We all know that Health and Safety is our priority at Sodexo. Our physical and mental health and safety are inextricable linked.

Your mental health influences how you think, feel, and behave in daily life. It also affects your ability to cope with stress, overcome challenges, build relationships, and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships. Whether you’re looking to support the management of a specific mental health condition, handle your emotions better, or simply to feel more positive and energetic, there are plenty of things you can do to take care of your mental health.

Here are 10 top tips to take care of your mental health and that of your loved ones, friends and colleagues. By reading the following, you will start the very first step of looking after your mental health and getting the most from life.

1. Value yourself
Treat yourself with kindness and respect. And make time for your hobbies and favorite projects, or broaden your horizons. For instance, do a daily crossword puzzle, meditate, plant a garden, take dance lessons, learn to play an instrument or become fluent in another language.

2. Eat well & stay hydrated
Your brain needs a mix of nutrients and fluids to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.

3. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is really important for our physical and mental health. Sleep helps to regulate the chemicals in our brain that transmit information. These chemicals are important in managing our moods and emotions. Skipping even a few hours here and there can take a toll on your mood, energy, mental sharpness, and ability to handle stress. And over the long-term, chronic sleep loss can wreak havoc on your health and outlook.

4. Keep active
The mind and the body are intrinsically linked. When you improve your physical health, you'll automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. Physical activity also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that lift your mood and provide added energy. Regular exercise or activity can promote mental and emotional health, relieve stress, improve memory, and help you to sleep better.

5. Keep in touch
No matter how much time you devote to improving your mental and emotional health, you will still need the company of others to feel and be your best. There’s nothing better than catching up with friends or family face to face, but that’s not always possible. You can also give them a call, drop them a note, text, or chat with them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open: it’s good for you!

6. Care for others
Helping others isn't just good for the people you're helping; it's good for you too. Being there for someone can help with your self-esteem and make you feel good about your place in the world. Feeling a sense of belonging in a community is crucial to your mental health. You could try volunteering for a local charity, or just being neighborly.

7. Take time to laugh
When we laugh, our bodies produce endorphins, which are considered to be the “happiness hormone”. We also release the hormones dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that are in charge of our motivation and balance our mood. All of these substances fight several mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, as well as boost your overall health and wellbeing. And the more intense the laughter is, the more it helps us keep a positive outlook on life.

8. Take a break
A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health.

It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work, a brief meditation, a short walk outside, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some ‘me time’.

9. Manage stress
Stress is often unavoidable, but knowing what triggers your stress and knowing how to cope is key in maintaining good mental health. Try to manage your responsibilities and worries by making a list or a schedule of when you can resolve each issue. Often if you break down your worries and stresses and write them down, you realize that they are manageable. Try to avoid procrastinating and address your challenges directly.

10. Ask for help
One of the most important ways to keep yourself mentally healthy is to recognize when you're not feeling good, and to know when to ask for help. There's no shame in asking someone for support if you're feeling low or stressed. Everyone goes through periods of time where they don't feel as good as they could. You can try speaking to your friends or family, or your manager at work or if you think your mental health is affecting you negatively, then you can speak to your doctor.

This is not a comprehensive list of tips. but it is a good place to start. For more information please see our video on mental health here.

How can we help?