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Blurt’s Mental Health Toolkit

Depression can affect anyone, at any time. It doesn’t discriminate based on gender, age, ethnicity, wealth, nor personality types. 

While we can’t necessarily keep depression at bay, we can take steps to improve our mental well-being. Our health isn’t binary (it’s not just “good” or “bad”),  and there are things we can do to nudge ourselves up the sliding scale of wellness.

At Blurt, we refer to these positive actions collectively as our ‘Mental Health Toolkit’. The contents of our Toolkit will vary from person to person, but will broadly focus on areas like our physical health, relationships, mindset and self-care.

Used regularly, our Mental Health Toolkit can help us manage our condition, reduce the severity of our symptoms, and boost our overall well-being. We strongly believe that everyone – no matter where they sit on the mental wellness scale – can benefit from putting one together.

Our Mental Health Toolkit: what it is and how it helps – Click to Tweet

"It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It's necessary. " – Mandy Hale

Focus on Feeling Good

Depression does terrible things to our mood and our spirits: we feel numb, low, empty and alone, like our life has no meaning.

Being told to focus on what feels good therefore doesn’t always sit comfortably with us. When we’re in the thick of depression, it can feel like we will never feel joy again.

However, certain actions and behaviours really can have a positive impact on our mental health.  Even if we don’t enjoy them at the time, the things in our Mental Health Toolkit can offer long-term improvements to our mood and ability to cope with life.

The blogs and podcasts below offer an introduction to some things that can help.  Take a look and see if any inspire you:

DEPRESSION: HABITS THAT HELP US THROUGH

While we can’t magically make depression go away, there are healthy habits we can adopt that might ease the pain a little.

DEPRESSION: FOODS THAT BOOST MOOD AND ENERGY

The foods we eat play a vital role in both our physical and our psychological health.  Making positive nutritional choices can make a real difference to our overall wellbeing

SELF-CARE ON A BUDGET: 10 THINGS TO TRY

Self-care is incredibly important in helping manage and prevent depression. There are many acts of self-care that cost very little or are in fact free.

MINDFULNESS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE

Practised regularly, mindfulness can be really beneficial – so it is worth getting to grips with the basics. Here we share a simple overview of what mindfulness is, how it helps and ways we can get started with it.

 

DEPRESSION AND EXERCISE: TIPS ON HOW (AND IF) TO GET STARTED

It’s one thing knowing that exercise is good for us, physically and mentally, but actually doing it when we’re exhausted and fighting depression… Well, that’s a whole different ball game.

DEPRESSION: STRAIGHTENING OUT THOSE WONKY BOUNDARIES

We all have personal boundaries: physical, emotional and mental limits that let others know they can behave around us. Many of us develop unhealthy boundaries, and depression can make them worse.

DEPRESSION: LETTING LOVED ONES IN

“Coming out” with depression is an onerous task, which can feel especially overwhelming when you’re struggling. However, opening up to loved ones can be hugely beneficial.

DEPRESSION: CREATIVE ACTIVITIES TO TRY

Taking part in creative activities is a great for our overall well-being. All of us our born creative, it’s just as we grow up we express that creativity differently.

DEPRESSION: HOW NATURE HELPS ME

As well as the physical health benefits of regular fresh air and exercise, the distraction of getting into nature can offer a change of perspective.

WHY SLEEP IS IMPORTANT

We invited leading sleep neurologist, Dr Kirstie Anderson, to explain why sleep is important and the role it plays in our mental wellbeing.

PRACTISING EMOTIONAL FIRST AID

We invited TED Talk-er and licensed psychologist, Dr Guy Winch, to talk to us about emotional first aid – what it is and how we can practice it.

GETTING TO GRIPS WITH SELF-COMPASSION

We invited one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion, Dr Kristin Neff, to teach us a thing, or two about being kind to ourselves.

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” - Benjamin Franklin

What's in the box?

Our Mental Health Toolkit is as unique as we are. We are all different, so what is helpful for some may feel pretty helpless for others.

The key to building a Mental Health Toolkit that works for you is trial, error and perseverance. Choose some things from the categories below – you can start with the ones that feel less daunting, or that you think you’ll enjoy – and begin to incorporate them into your day.  If they don’t work for you, you can always try something new.  There’s no pressure.

Physical Health: ExerciseEating Well | Making Time to Relax | Focusing on Sleep | Nutrition Supplements | Alternative Therapies | Limiting Stimulants

Relationships: Opening Up to Others | Asking for Help | Socialising | Peer Support | Professional Support – GP, Counselling, Therapy | Building Healthy Boundaries | Volunteering

Mindset: Practising Gratitude | Reframing Negative Thoughts | Meditation | Mindfulness | Self-Compassion | Challenging Imposter Syndrome | Building Self-Esteem  | Setting Goals

Self-care: Attending Medical Appointments & Taking Meds | Undertaking Creative Activities | Enjoying a Book, Film or Music | Pampering | Decluttering | Spending Time in Nature | Relaxing

To offer further inspiration, we asked our amazing Peer Support Group to share what’s inside their Mental Health Toolkits. Here are some of their answers:

“Massage. Chiropractic. Meds. Stuffed animals. Weighted blanket. Walks outside. Meditation. Journaling. Praying. Therapy”

“Smelly candles, soft blankets (anything fuzzy that I can cocoon in), trips to the beach or the woods, loud music in the kitchen and baking”

“Colouring in books with neon gel pens and crafty kits to make stuff. Also can’t forget my BuddyBoxes”

“Getting out of the house into nature helps me a lot, even if it’s a quick walk round the block.
Mindfulness helps hugely, lots of good guided meditations on YouTube!
Making myself be really ‘present’ in the moment, focussing on what’s around me and what I’m doing rather than thinking back or ahead.
Asking for help: I find if I am honest and tell people how I’m struggling, they do rally round and that helps even if it makes me feel guilty!
Blogging/writing – it’s really cathartic and the response I get from other people makes me feel good because it’s helping others too” 

“Cleaning with loud music on
Hot bath with bubbles
Chocolate
Driving (fast, if I can get away with it!)
Writing down what I’m feeling, or a particular event/memory that keeps going round and round (i might make these into my book one day…)
Getting on the floor and building Lego with my boy (doesn’t work all the time though)
The Blurt Peer Support Group has become such a big part of my life and support structure, everyone is amazing and just knowing we’re not alone in this fight is therapy”

“Having the radio on something fun or relaxing (Magic or classic FM is my current favourite) cos it makes me feel connected to outside my walls when I don’t feel able to go outside yet. Getting out, even to the local park is a definite. And comfy cosy socks/loungewear (hoodies, sweatpants, jumpers, slippers) makes me feel that I’m “dressed” on bad days but also super comfy. If one of my cats decides to come give me cuddles, pets are the best . Also, puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles, easy sudoku, mobile puzzle games, puzzle magazines – anything! Gives me *just* enough distraction without getting me feeling overwhelmed”

“Watching movies or my fave tv shows, listening to music, dancing to music, herbal tea, snuggle blanket, painting, going to poetry group, counselling, being in nature, speaking to myself kindly, resting when I need to”

“Still working on building my toolkit. I watch a lot of Netflix. Am also reintroducing music back into my life. Have difficulty experiencing pleasure, but these help. Next: walking & being creative – gotta help them dopamine levels”

“Taking baths, reading, going for a walk, listening to new music, pampering in some way (haircut, nails done, massage), venting to a friend, organizing and cleaning out clutter, essential oils, netflix, and snuggling my cat”

"Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort." – Deborah Day

Things that might help

At Blurt, we genuinely care about your mental well-being.

We offer support to those living with depression in a variety of ways: as well as our blog, social media communities and affirming weekly newsletter, we also offer the lovely things below. They might be a helpful addition to your Mental Health Toolkit!

Remember – your health is important, and *you* are important.  We believe in you.

Love and hugs,

The Blurt Team

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