7 ways to improve your mental health

7 ways to improve your mental health

May 20 , 2020

Let's TALK about mental health

This week is mental health awareness week and there really is no better time than the present to become more PRESENT
To be mentally healthy is more than just Not being Mentally unwell.
It is something that needs constant attention much like physical health and unless we keep up certain aspects in life, our mental health can suffer.
The thing about mental health is that it can very easily be made worse by knock on effects. All It takes is for something to knock us off centre for our mental state to quickly decline. That’s why doing activities and practices that promote mental health help us stay positive, motivated and better able to cope with life's obstacles as they happen. 
A great anchor point for staying mentally well is to have solid foundation of Self Care. 

Why is Self Care so important for mental health. 

Let's look at what is meant by the term Self Care.
'Self-Care' is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health'.
It is the deliberate nature of self care that is important. By setting the intention of self care on improving our health and wellbeing we get in to a positive mind frame in which the emphasis is on being responsible for taking care of ourselves. 
In doing so we will make better life choices for our health and wellbeing, further fortifying our mental health which will greatly improve our overall experience and enjoyment of life. At the end of the day, all we truly have is our own experience of life, through our consciousness. It seems like a good idea  to try and do activities that enhance our experience rather than those that may be detrimental to it. 
Another great incentive for mental wellness, as well as improving the experience of life, is the effect we have on the people around us.
When we take care of ourselves we can be responsible for helping others too. Even if it is only by influencing those around us to take care of themselves too. 
It is not selfish to love and care for you self, it is fundamentally one of the only things we can have control over.

7 ways to improve Mental Health.

1. Self Care Schedule, Increased Productivity.

 

Especially in our current situation, its a good idea to set out time each day for some sort of self care activity. It can be anything from putting on a face mask to making healthy smoothie but really make an emphasis of the caring for the self element. Little acts of self love and appreciation can do wonders for our general wellbeing. 

A top tip is to reward yourself with acts of self care. For example, set a task that you know needs doing, It could be sorting out the pile of paper work on your desk you've been looking at for weeks or clearing out your wardrobe and say to your self "I am going to spend this time doing this task and then reward myself with something really nice for me" and make sure you stick to it. Doing this will really improve productivity, staying on top of chores is really good for mental health especially when you reward your self with self care after doing it. We are reward based beings, If we want to get ourselves better at doing something we need to reward ourselves for doing it or we'll just fall at the first hurdle. Creating mood/vision boards can be really helpful for being able to visually see what you are aspiring to have. You can write down and stick in pictures for various aspects of your life you want to improve and then set achievable goals that will help you get that vision you have created. It can be incredibly helpful to do this, as without knowing what you are aiming for you may never achieve it.

2. Talk to yourself kindly.

What is the internal voice saying? Try to notice how you talk to yourself and how often you are self criticising. A great way to try and shift that voice to a more positive one is with positive affirmations.

Start the day saying 3 things that you are grateful for about yourself or that you want to see in yourself.

It could be:

"I feel energised"

"My skin is glowing"

"I love my body"

 3. Take care with what you expose attention/energy to. 

There is no doubt we have all been glued to our phones and laptops during lockdown but there is really a huge benefit to knowing when to put them away. From social media’s magnification of how we compare ourselves, and our lives to others to the doom and gloom of media click bait, there’s plenty out there online that can have a damaging affect on our metal health. Try to have a cut off point in the evening, when you put your phone down and ‘switch off’. Doing so can really help with sleep as it allows the brain to relax from the constant stimulation it gets from our phones. There is a reason our devices are displaying how much screen time we are using as data is suggesting the link to excessive screen time and anxiety is on the rise.

Another good tip is to detox from things online that make you feel bad. You can mute certain people and pages that don’t bring you anything good, Just do it, its really not worth subjecting yourself to bad stuff. Just like in life, be mindful of who, and what you give your energy to. It is important to protect your self from things that can drain you and set of negative thinking. In contrast try to seek out positive information, follow good news outlets and people that are sharing positivity.


4. Unwind your mind/relax

Un wind, doing whatever works for you. If meditation doesn’t work for you, don’t worry, find something that does. Get outdoors, being in nature can have a calming effect on the nervous system. Reading books. Staying conscious in such a turbulent time is very important. Having a down time from screen time is vital for allowing the brain to cool down from the stimulation. doing so will really improve sleep quality. Try having a box or drawer you can put your phone in after a certain time in the day, light a candle and relax. News media outlets can create fear. It is of course important to stay up to date with current affairs although you can be mindful about how much news you take in and from what sources you get it. It can be easy to absorb the negative news and take it on board however try to protect yourself, especially about things that are not directly affecting you. A good way to do this is to stay present. The mind will run away with news and think of the worst, making it appear like a situation is much worse that it really is. By staying present, you can listen to what is going and gather the facts without creating more fear for yourself.

5. Jot down your thoughts

It may sound silly but you can learn a lot about how your mind works by jotting down thoughts as they arise throughout the day. In doing so you may be able to see how often your mind is thinking negatively.

We can often be so hard on ourselves, self criticising and imagining the worst and by journaling those thoughts and being able to see them we can start to change them and be kinder to ourselves.

6. Exercise 

Exercise of course has plenty of mental and physical health benefits. Serotonin is the chemical found in the brain responsible for regulating mood that is released during exercise helping to maintain its levels.

Instead of feeling guilty about not exercising try and find new ways to stay active that you enjoy. Schedule time in your day for some sort of exercise and keep it interesting by changing it up so that it doesn’t become a chore. Try splitting the days up through the week. As an example you could take a run one day, a long walk the next and then do some yoga the day after, then repeat and take a day off on the seventh day. The following week you could switch the activities up, with cycling, Hiit (high intensity interval training) and a core workout.


7. Healthy diet

Diet and mental health are quite closely linked. The types of food we consume can have an affect on our general wellbeing as well as our physical health. It's really all about balance. Eating a healthy varied diet is ideal but of course, treat yourself now and again otherwise it can be too difficult to keep up. Have a cheat day now and again but most of all, look at food as energy for living. Looking at food this way can help us make the link between caring for ourselves correctly and giving the body the nutrition it needs to thrive. A great way to take care of yourself with nutrition is with a supplement like our Tender Love & Hair food supplement which contains key vitamins, minerals and amino acids for promoting healthy hair skin & nails, boosting energy levels, enhancing mood and strengthening the immune system. 

I Hope this is a useful guide for keeping track and checking in on mental health. One of the biggest and most profound discoveries I have made was through reading the book ’12 Rules for life by Jordan B Peterson’ It made me realise that I alone am responsible for myself and my wellbeing. No one else. It is a great book and I would recommend it to anyone. One of the 12 rules Peterson lays out is Rule #2 ‘Treat yourself as if you are someone you are responsible for taking care of” When you truly do this you start to make better decisions for your own health and wellbeing and my life improved dramatically.

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