“Managing my physical health is closely tied up with looking after my mental health.”
Physical health and mental health are strongly connected. Maintaining physical health is scientifically shown to improve mental wellbeing, and vice versa. If one declines, the other can be affected too.
The elements of physical health most helpful to mental wellbeing are regular exercise, a balanced diet, proper sleep, and cutting down unhealthy habits such as smoking, alcohol and drugs. Other major factors affecting physical health are stress, working too much, and being too inactive.
Studies are more and more showing that a holistic approach to health – incorporating physical, social, emotional, and mental health – is necessary for mental wellbeing, and help a great deal with managing and recovering from mental illness.
Take a look at our pages on being active, food, and sleep for more detailed information.
A closer look
Hydration plays a crucial role in physical and mental health
Exercise stimulates chemicals in your brain that improve your wellbeing
Recreational physical activity improves mental health
People with mental illnesses are more likely to smoke
Exercise helped me cope. I got on my bike, I ran, I did exercise classes. I found it such a great release. It was lovely to get out in the fresh air, and to calm my mind.
Keeping myself centred and balanced is crucial for my mental health. I'm careful about what I eat and drink, try to fit in some 'me time' regularly, and I find swimming quite meditative. When my little girl has her swimming lesson, I do a few laps. Our physical and mental health are so wrapped up together.
Playing footy is a huge part of my life. It's the only time I can properly feel my emotions and regulate them because I know it's something I'm good at. That's a big outlet for me. I get to clear my head and distract myself from what's going on in my mind.