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Tips for a healthy headspace

Download the Tips for a healthy headspace fact sheet

Good mental health allows you to deal with the changes and challenges life throws at you and live your life in a positive and meaningful way. It includes things like being able to work and study, deal with day-to-day life stress, feel connected to others, be involved in activities in your community and ‘bounce back’ when things go wrong.

 
Just like physical fitness, mental fitness takes regular effort. Here are some ways you can build your mental fitness every day.
Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is good for your brain and body, and helps you feel energised, stay focused and protect your mental health. See our sleep fact sheet for more information and advice.
Keep learning
Setting goals and learning new things can be a fun way to boost your confidence. Here are a few ideas:
  • read a book or the news
  • sign up for a class that interests you
  • cook your favourite food
  • learn to skateboard
  • research a culture you are interested
  • learn a new language.
Connect
Feeling connected to others is an essential part of being human. So spending time with friends and family (including pets) and people in your community can really strengthen your mental health and wellbeing.
 
Plan a catch-up with friends, remind someone that you are grateful to have them in your life or cuddle your pet. Getting involved with volunteer work that you care about, hobbies, clubs or committees, sports or a safe online community can also help you feel connected and meet new people.
Eat well
Eating well can improve your mood, energy levels and general health and wellbeing. Fill up on good food (like veggies, fruit and whole grains) and drink plenty of water to give your body and brain all the power it needs to function well.
Stay active
Keeping fit and staying active can help you to sleep better, manage stress and boost your mood. Walk or take the stairs when you can, startdoing some morning stretches, ride your bike instead of catching the public transport or find a sport or physical activity that you enjoy and make a plan to do it regularly.
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Relax

Taking a moment to slow things down is really important for both your physical and mental health. There are many ways to relax – like having a warm bath, writing a journal, spending time in nature, reading a book, listening to slow music, stretching or sipping a cup of tea.  

You may also want to learn some techniques to relax your body and manage thoughts and feelings, such as ‘progressive muscle relaxation’, ‘relaxation exercises’, ‘creative visualisation’, ‘mindfulness’ and breathing practices. A few websites and free apps that can help are listed here:

ReachOut Progressive Muscle Relaxation Training

Learn the steps involved in progressive muscle relaxation and get tips on what to do if you’re not getting the hang of it.

youthbeyondblue Relaxation Exercises

Learn about lots of different types of relaxation exercises, including deep breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, creative visualisation and yoga.

Smiling Mind App

Learn mindfulness meditation techniques to help reduce pressure and stress in your daily life.

ReachOut Breathe App

Learn breathing exercises to help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Cut back on alcohol and other drugs

Curbing the amount of alcohol and other drugs that you take, (or avoiding alcohol and drugs altogether) will help you keep a healthy headspace. Even though alcohol and other drugs may make you feel good in the very short term, they can interfere with your mental health and make you feel much worse in the long run. For more information on managing alcohol and other drugs, see Understanding alcohol – for young people

Seek help

A problem can sometimes be too hard to solve alone, so it’s important to speak up and get support from friends and family. If you feel like support from family and friends may not be enough, seek professional help. You can see your general practitioner (GP), make an appointment to chat to someone at your local headspace centre or visit eheadspace for online and phone support. 

For more information on mental health difficulties, see What is good mental health? 

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The headspace Clinical Reference Group oversee and approve clinical resources made available on this website.

Last reviewed 5 July 2017