12 almost-free ways to care for your mental health

In our last article, we introduced the concept of mental health and being aware of how your mental health can impact your relationships and performance at work. Here are 12 ways to care for your own mental health without having to spend too much money. 

1. Get enough sleep on a regular schedule.

Falling asleep isn’t always easy and if you’re experiencing a lot of stress, it can be hard to get enough rest at night. Try to stick to a schedule so that you go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day. 


2.  Eat a nutritious meal 3 times a day 

Be sure to eat lots of fruit and vegetables and pay attention to what you’re eating. Just like your physical health, your mental health needs healthy food to heal too.



3. Drink lots of water

Though perhaps a bit boring, water can help your mind stay sharp and your energy levels up. Keep a bottle of water on your workstation to help you to remember to drink water regularly. 


4. Get out of bed

If you aren’t currently at work, staying in bed can feel like a good idea. But leaving your bed and moving to a different room can get your day started, helping you to accomplish your goals for the day and motivating you further. 

5. Drink alcohol sparingly

If you consume alcohol, you don’t have to give it up entirely but do pay attention to how much you’re drinking and try to reduce it. Alcohol can be a vice many of us use to deal with stress, but being intoxicated can lead to impulsive behaviour and negatively affect your sleep. 


6. Connect with a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time

Send a quick voice note or Facebook message to a friend you haven’t connected with in a while. Chatting with someone about their kids, their life or the football score can help you gain perspective and gratitude. 


7. Play your favourite music

Start up your favourite playlist and just dance! In the car is the perfect place to sing along so that no one can hear you! 

8. Spend some time outside

Take a walk to the shop, eat your lunch outside or just sit with a cup of coffee in the sunshine.

9. Take a shower 

When you’re feeling depressed, simply taking a shower can feel impossible. Start with something small and work your way up to a cup of coffee, eating breakfast or going to work. 


10. Take your medication

If your doctor has prescribed you with medication for your mental health difficulties, be sure to take it regularly. Setting an alarm on your phone is a good way to remember. 

11. Plan a special treat for the end of the day

Maybe you’re looking forward to an ice-cold beer or a bubble bath – or both! Plan a treat so that you have something to look forward to after you’ve finished with all the less fun things in your day. 


12.  Wear something that makes you feel great

Put on your best sneakers, a little bit of lipstick or maybe some jewellery. Feeling and looking your best can give your confidence a boost to tackle the day. 



Resources for further reading: 

How to sleep better

10 tips for a great night’s sleep

Diet and mental health

The best and worst foods to eat when you’re stressed out

Nature and mental health

Why self-care is vital to our mental health

If you need to talk to someone:

Run in partnership with The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), the 24-hour toll-free Fair Kitchens helpline is there any time you need to talk.

All calls are confidential and you can remain completely anonymous.

Call 0800 006 333 at any time

As well as free telephone counselling, callers can also access further services through the helpline such as nearby support groups, crisis interventions and face-to-face counselling. You don’t have to negotiate this trying time alone.

This is the second in a series of articles focusing on mental health in the restaurant industry. We will look at different ways to care for your mental health, how to build a healthy work environment, how to talk to someone when you’re struggling and, most importantly, where you can get help.

If you’d like to share your story about mental health in the restaurant industry, please email

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