By John Blakey, Health and Wellbeing Advise, Fife College
As the College’s Health and Wellbeing Adviser I offer guidance and info on a variety of things related to health, mental health and wellbeing to our students and staff.
For me mental health and wellbeing is simply about having a bit of self-awareness of how you are doing and how you can cope with everyday life stuff. Your mental state can change all the time, but generally speaking, having good mental health and wellbeing means you are:
- Reasonably self-assured and do not judge yourself to harshly
- Able to express yourself with a range of emotions
- Confident in sustaining positive relationships with other people
- Contributing to the community you live in
- Living and working productively
- Coping with the stresses of daily life and managing times of change and uncertainty
We all have times in our lives when we feel low, sad, stressed, or find it hard to cope because of loss, loneliness, relationship problems, worries about college or money. Sometimes, there might be no conscious reason why we experience a period of low mental health and wellbeing.
In my role I often refer people on to services and resources that can help with these things, or I may chat to them about everyday things to try and help them vent frustrations, which in itself is beneficial for some. It might be that people just need some time and space just to be, and I often help with this too. I believe there are always things we can do to increase our chances of staying happy and healthy.
These can include:
- Voicing concerns - opening up and talking about the way you feel with someone can be a game changer for a lot of people.
- Forming positive relationships - Building and maintaining constructive relationships with people is an essential part of staying happy and healthy.
- Sleep, diet and exercise - A lack of sleep can have a serious impact on our wellbeing so making sure we get a good sleep each night is important. Eating a well-balanced regular diet with plenty of water and greens can help make you feel healthier and happy too. Regular exercise is also a great way to enhance self-confidence by releasing positive hormones like endorphins dopamine and serotonin.
- Honesty – It is a very usual response to struggle when people ‘push on regardless’ and tell others that they are “fine” when they may be facing difficulties. It is important to be truthful about feelings and get support and help when needed.
- Mindfulness – This is a practice that allows people to pay attention to the present moment. Often wrapped up in meditation, breathing exercises and gratitude.
- Enjoyable activities – When we engage in pleasurable activities it creates connections to other people and places, improving our confidence.
- Relaxing - Taking time out of a busy schedule to relax is essential in order to realign and keep present.
For more information about mental health visit: