There’s Strength in Numbers - #littlethings campaign
This month, YSI is partnering with the #littlethings campaign to talk about how social contact and doing things with others can be good for your mental health. Being involved in activities that you enjoy is proven to have a positive impact on how you feel. It takes courage to meet new people, but it can make a big difference to how you feel.
How do I get started?
Think about the hobbies you enjoy or the things you have always wanted to try. Doing something you enjoy will help make you feel well and learning something new can be good for your confidence. Local groups’ online profiles; school, college and university noticeboards; libraries; local VECs; parish newsletters and notice boards in shops are all good sources of information about what’s happening in your area. Once you start looking, you will probably find lots of social activities in your community.
You might decide to join a group, a club or get involved with a community activity. You can learn something new by signing up for an evening or weekend course. Taking part in a local action cause or political group is a good way to have your say and others may benefit from your contribution.
If there is nothing happening in your area, then perhaps you can start something?
The power of helping others
By supporting and helping others, you are more likely to feel good about yourself. There are lots of simple ways to help others - from volunteering, to visiting an elderly neighbour who lives alone, to helping a neighbour with work in their garden or house. Go to the Volunteer Ireland website for information on things you can do throughout the country.
Keep it going
It’s important to try to regularly spend time with others – seek out company not only when you need it, but as a part of your daily life. Try to make a regular arrangement to meet friends or family. It will be something to look forward to and will enrich your life over time.
About the Little Things campaign
The #littlethings campaign highlights that we all experience difficult times in our lives, and that when we do, there are some evidence-based little things that can make a big difference to how we feel. These little things can help us to cope but there are also supports and services we can use if we need to. Here are the #littlethings that can make a big difference to our mental health and our wellbeing:
- Keeping Active – being active every day, something as simple as a walk, is proven to have a positive impact on your mood.
- Talking about your problems – problems feel smaller when they are shared with others, without having to be solved or fixed. Just talking about it will do you good.
- Looking out for others – Lending an ear to someone else in trouble, or catching up with someone who seems distant, can change their day, or their lives. You don't have to fix it for them - just listening is a huge help.
- Doing things with others – Taking part in a group activity that you enjoy is proven to have a positive impact on how you feel, be it a game of football, joining a choir, volunteering.
- Eating healthily – A regular healthy, balanced and nutritious diet will help both your physical, but also your mental health, and have a positive impact on how you feel.
- Staying in touch – Catching up with friends and family is good for our mental health, reminding us that we're part of a community, and having a positive impact on how we feel.
- Drinking less alcohol – For the average Irish drinker, reducing alcohol will have a positive impact on their health and mental wellbeing, making it easier to cope with day to day difficulties and stresses.
- Sleeping well – Getting a good night's sleep of 7 or 8 hours, as often as you can, will have a positive impact on how you feel. Protect your sleep if you can, it will do you good.
Find out more: Go to www.yourmentalhealth.ie for more information on mental health, and how to support yourself and the people you love. You can find support services near you, and learn about the #littlethings that can make a big difference to how we all feel.
Do you need to talk to someone?
Childline provides a free and confidential listening service to children and young people up to the age of 18. The Childline helpline is open every day, 24 hours a day and Childline Online Chat is open every day 10am - 10pm.
Free helpline: 1800 666 666
Online Chat: www.childline.ie
Samaritans is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone struggling to cope. For confidential, non-judgemental support please call 116 123, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.samaritans.ie for details of the nearest branch.