Mental and Physical well-being, now more than ever NEED to be a priority.
As someone who has worked very hard to come up with a routine to stop my mind going to a dark place and stop the anxiety creeping in, this post is something very close to my own heart. I have come up with a 10 step strategy to help promote mental wellness and to significantly reduce stress, anxiety and depression. This should be used on a daily basis as maintenance.
Top 10 tips for mental wellness
Meditation has been proven to help reduce levels of stress anxiety if carried out on a daily basis. Stress causes increased levels of the stress hormone called cortisol.
This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines. Inflammation is BAD!
These effects can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking.
A study compared electrical activity between the brains of people who practised mindfulness meditation and the brains of others who did not.
Those who meditated showed measurable changes in activity in areas related to positive thinking and optimism.
Check out this great documentary video from ABC Science on the effects of meditation
Click here for Video
Meditation can be done lying down or sitting upright.
I love going on YouTube and using a guided meditation these are great especially if you are new to meditation. I would highly recommend getting the kids involved too as it is an amazing tool to have throughout your life especially during times of heightened stress or feeling overwhelmed.
2 Set a to-do list
One of the most important reasons for keeping a to-do list is the organisation. Organising your tasks with a list can help you from feeling out of control and can make this particular time much more manageable and give you a sense of feeling grounded . Seeing a clear outline of your completed and uncompleted tasks will help you feel organised and stay mentally focused.
When I do my list I usually do:
3 work / business tasks
3 house maintenance /family tasks
3 Personal tasks
I try not to do more than that otherwise it can get overwhelming are very disheartening if you don't get them all done!
quick tip : if you have big tasks maybe write down 1 or 2 tasks in that section on that day.
If you can make one of your tasks easy or something you can do as soon as you get up you will get a feeling of satisfaction and it will put you in good footing for the rest of the day.
3 Create a new routine
Developing a daily routine can help us to feel more in control of everything, and help us to make room for all that's important. Think of it as conscious living or living with intention. Without it we are left to our own devices and can make bad decisions that make us feel bad and negatively affect our self esteem.
Routine can aid our mental health. It can help us to cope with change, to form healthy habits, and to reduce our stress levels.
Nutrition is not only for the body, but for the mind too.
If your blood sugar drops you might feel tired, irritable and depressed. Eating regularly and choosing foods that release energy slowly will help to keep your sugar levels steady and keep your digestive system flowing. Slow-release energy foods include: pasta, rice, oats, wholegrain bread, cereals, nuts and seeds.
Eating breakfast gets the day off to a good start.
Instead of eating a large lunch and dinner, try eating smaller portions spaced out more regularly throughout the day.
Avoid foods which make your blood sugar rise and fall rapidly, such as sweets, biscuits, sugary drinks, and alcohol.
This one is so important and I know its the one a lot of people may struggle with right now. Creating human connection is so important right now and people are desperately searching for it which is why so many people are online. The only problem with this is that sometimes we look for connection in the wrong places such as Instagram and Facebook. You may have noticed this when you are scrolling aimlessly and you don't even know what you are looking for. Be aware that you do not miss out on connections with the people right in front of you and that you are still spending quality time with your partners and children. And that you are still actively present in the relationship and that you are not just living near each other, instead of with each other.
Do things like:
call your family for a chat
Send a heart felt text to a friend
Get in touch with an old friend
Voice clip on WhatsApp -
I think this is very underrated and i think it has such an authentic feel to it and you can get a feeling if someone is actually okay or whether they are just saying they are.
Working out for me personally has got to be the number one way I keep my mental health in check, which was the whole reason I got into fitness in the first place.
Whether it's running walking doing at home workouts or online classes such as Yoga, HIIT or maybe you have a couple of weights laying around in the house. Just do it !
Make it a part of your routine and then set yourself small achievable goals to keep you focused and motivated. Your goal could be to get in the best shape of your life by the time this is over, or it could be from health perspective that you want to minimise the risk of you being ill in the future. Do a press-up challenge, or beat your personal best for a run around the block. Whatever is going to give you a sense of accomplishment.
Working out changes your physiological state and releases endorphins which make us happy.
( I have a goal setting exercise which is perfect for helping you figure out what is going to motivate you and keep you focused - check it out here)
The part most of us struggle with is being able to relax. So, schedule time to relax, You do not have to feel guilty for not being able to go to work or for wanting to do nothing for a couple of hours. If it's a Netflix kind of day then enjoy it. If you want a bath, have a bath. If you have the kids and you have a partner come up with a plan where one of you gets an evening to yourself while the other sorts the kids out. Or if not an evening an hour through the day. You will probably find that you will both be more relaxed and less snappy with each other and the kids.
8 Learn a new skill or practice a craft
Adapt a childlike curiosity. Try new things. Learn new skills or practice any old talents you always wanted to find more time for. Now is your chance. It is so unbelievably good for our mental health to learn new skills. It creates a sense of accomplishment and is great for our self esteem. Some of us may feel through losing our jobs we have lost a part of who we are and so our self esteem may already be fragile. This a great way to re-invent yourself so you can see you can be talented in all sorts of areas
The benefits of practising gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for, experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. The more we look for things to be thankful for the more our brain starts to shift its focus.
Using a gratitude journal before you go to bed or first thing in the morning or with your afternoon coffee; whenever really. But you are best choosing a time where you know you are more likely to do it. Try writing three things you are grateful for, it is important to not just write the same ones, and I try and vary them from being something very simple to something very deep.
The first few times you do this it will be hard; and if it is hard it is a sign you really need to be doing it.
A Gratitude jar is a great practice to do with the kids.
It's like a piggy bank but with little pieces of paper with something you are thankful for and then on New Year's Day you can open them up and see.
10 Look to the future
It's very easy right now to let the current situation engulf our minds and to stifle any opportunities, plans or dreams we may have had. But it is so important to keep planning ahead, even if we do not book specific dates but still planning that once in a lifetime vacation or that dream wedding. We all need things to look forward to even if we're not sure when it will come to pass; but that's what hope is.
I hope that this will help your mental well being. Know that you are not alone, and when this is all over the sun will look a little bit brighter, the air will feel a little more fresher and we will be free to carry out plans to seize opportunities and to achieve dreams.
See you in the new world. Lots of love.