Mental ill health, of any kind, can affect all of us. Nobody is immune. While around one in four of us will experience it during our lives, some conditions are more common among women, from PTSD and depression to eating disorders and self-harm.

But there are steps that women can take to improve their mental health and strike a healthy balance between work, personal and family life.

Be active

Physical fitness is important to keeping yourself mentally well and helping you stay positive about yourself. Set yourself realistic health goals – a jog, a bike ride or a stroll around the park. Listen to your body and just do whatever you can handle – you will soon learn what you can achieve.

When you have lots on, it’s easy to be exhausted at the end of the day. This often leaves you with little motivation after clocking off. However, if you can, getting out into the open air and doing some exercise, whether it’s intense or gentle, can really help clear your mind and leave you feeling energised.

Support the women around you

Whilst it is important to look after yourself, it is equally important to look out for the other women in your life.

Womanhood is a strong source of support, encouragement and care. If you, or the women in your life, are struggling with a variety of demands, reach out and offer a sympathetic ear.

Make mental health an easy topic of conversations with your colleagues, friends and family.

Make some space

Get comfortable with taking timeouts during the day, even when you’re busy.

Disconnect from the constant buzz of phone calls, text messages and emails. Step away from whatever you’re doing and get yourself a cup of tea or coffee. You could sit quietly and read a book for 15 minutes or even just check in with friends and loved ones.

Personal time can be hard to find but it is a necessity. If you have a busy work and home life you should make space in your day to do this.

Work smarter, not harder

You are likely going to be more productive during certain periods of the day and less productive during others. It’s a good idea to work out which is which and capitalise on the times when you’re at your peak.

If things get too much,

  • practice breathing exercises or meditation
  • Write a to-do list or diary to organise your thoughts
  • Chat with a friend, relative or partner about what’s going on
  • Take practical steps to control stress