We all need to look after our mental health and wellbeing whether we have a mental health condition or not. If possible prevention is always better than cure.
World Mental Health Day encourages people to explore how they are feeling and equipt them with ways to cope with day-to-day life. Our mental health can change from moment to moment and sometimes with little warning.
While there are always challenges (as well as opportunities) in life, 2020 was felt particularly as the world strained to adjust to a new norm and new worries with the Pandemic of Covid-19.
We have some tips on practical steps you can take to improve and maintain your wellbeing including making time for yourself, building positive relationships and getting active.
Relax & Reduce overwhelm
When you feel stressed or overwhelmed it may feel like your mind is whirling 100 miles per hour but this is actually the best time to slow down. Find something that takes you out of your current physical space, do something that distracts and relaxes your mind. For some people that might be listening to music, for others calling a friend, painting or doing some yoga.
Putting tech to the side can also be a great help and encouraging your mind to be in the moment. One way to practice mindfulness to is tap into your senses, what can you feel, see, hear, smell all around you in that moment. Do this while taking at least three deep inhales and exhales.
Take a walk on the green side
Being in or amongst nature including greenery and animals has proven to reduce stress and gives us a heightened sense of wellbeing. Find your local park and enjoy a daily walk or why not bring some of that greenery into your home with pot plants. Next time you meet your friends for a drink why not agree to go for a walk instead and discover a new area.
Again, take a moment to be really present in nature, notice the colours around you, the textures of the plants and trees as well as the sounds you can hear.
Connect with your community
Humans are social beings and whether you’re an introvert or extrovert by nature, spending time with others has shown to reduce worry and stress. Make sure you have people around you that light you up and radiate positive energy rather than leaving you feeling drained every time.
Relationships are about give and take so protect your mental wellbeing and surround yourself with cheerleaders or ask for helps and support if you’ve not done so before. It can feel difficult asking for help but we all need someone to lean on at times.
Charities like Action for Happiness can also open doors to new communities if we are looking for extra support.
Protect your sleeping
Increasing science shows us how vital sleep is for our overall health, not only for the next day when you want a productive day at work but also long-term health related issues.
Protect your sleep, that means going to bed and waking up at a similar time so your body can get into a natural rhythm. People are usually early risers or ‘night-owls’ so also be aware of your natural preference and use that to your advantage. We all need about 8 hours sleep per night.
Get technology out of the room and stop using it right up to the point of going to sleep as this disrupts the bodies’ natural sleep system.
If you struggle to get to sleep play some relaxing music before sleeping or pick up a book to slow your mind down and get you ready for sleep.
We’re loving Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.
Try to eat regular meals and have a balanced diet, as this can help your mood and energy levels.
If you notice you’re reaching for food when you feel a heightened emotion interrupt that habit by taking a deep breath, checking in with yourself and asking whether you really are hungry and enjoying a glass of water before reaching for the food.
On the team at CCD we’re always learning about nutritional value of foods thanks to the array of nutritionists and wellbeing practitioners we work with. It’s a huge and fascinating topic!