From the age we learn to walk and talk, we’re taught the importance of looking after our bodies. Eat your greens and don’t forget your P’s and Q’s – but why aren’t we incorporating care for our minds into our daily lives as we would physically and socially?
As a result, numerous people only think to look after their mental health once they hit a crisis point. Luckily, there are certain things that, if done regularly, help keep depression, stress and anxiety at bay. There are several ways we can support our minds in our everyday lives – discover my top go-to’s to keep your downs from spiralling out of control.
#1 Make A Diary
Just as we store painkillers or flu capsules in the bathroom cupboard for those rainy, under the weather days, it can be a good exercise to write down any go-to supports which always make you feel good. From people who make you laugh to films, food or exercise – after all, exercise has been proven to release mood-boosting endorphins. You’d pop a paracetamol for a headache, now you can turn to one of your support.
#2 Seize Your Sleep
Who doesn’t love a nap? Our bodies are like cars – turn off the ignition and the engine will cool down ready for the next journey. Sleep is a mandatory process our bodies need to experience in order to recover, replenish and recharge for the next day ahead. Overworked and stressed lives can lead to inadequate sleep, which then leads to overeating (usually junk food), grumpy moods and hangry behaviour – making a much harder life. So, ensure you have adequate, high-quality sleep and restart your day fresh, clean and healthy.
#3 Work out
Whether it’s a walk in the park, a 5-aside football match or a HIIT session in the gym, working up a sweat and elevating your heart rate is a great way to distract and bring your mind to a peaceful place. If you don’t fancy working out alone – hit the spin class, boxercise, circuit training, or even take your dog for a walk. Animals are great listeners.
#4 Hydration Is Key
Did you know the brain is made up of approximately 75% water? If this percentage reduces, so does our cognitive function – dehydration very quickly affects the way we think, feel and behave. Sometimes we mistake hunger for thirst, so before you grab a packet of crisps drink a glass of water and reduce the likelihood of lethargic feelings. Soda and flavoured drinks don’t count.
#5 You Are What You Eat
Feel stressed? Grab something to eat, and by that, we mean something clean, nutrient dense and healthy. Keeping a chocolate bar in your desk at work isn’t going to do much help, in fact, you will eventually crash from the sugar spike. A diet rich in vitamins can help relieve stress – you don’t need to pop plenty of pills, simply increase your fruit and vegetable intake – they’re overloaded with feel-good power.
#6 Be A Party Animal (Or Just Socialise)
Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to hit the town 5 times a week to relieve workplace stress – that’d be heavy going. It is far too easy to be a hermit these days, as you can do everything online – simply spend 1 hour a day with someone who boosts your mind. Grab a coffee, take a walk or even call a long-lost friend in your break.
#7 Soothe & Stretch
We don’t expect you to take a flight to Bali, drink green tea for 7 days or attend Sunday Mass on a weekly basis. Holding on to bad thoughts can become overwhelming and trigger into hopelessness that spirals out of control. Take time to let things go, think good thoughts about yourself and others and take your mind to a peaceful place. Refresh your mind.
#8 Be Kind (Or at Least Try)
This may be the hardest thing – it is for me anyway. As we get caught up in our daily routine, being kind and polite can often be neglected. Traffic, slow service at the restaurant, the sound of people chewing – I understand can be VERY irritating. Keep all negativity at arm’s length, you don’t need those dilemmas. If you focus on the positives in life, it brings more positivity to your life. Don’t forget to be thankful, simply say three thank-yous a day, every day. When times are bad – remember the good.
It’s time to manage the good, the bad and the ugly. If you find yourself plagued with stress or anxiety, run a bath, crack open the lavender bubble bath, play soothing music (I’m not suggesting whale sounds) and breathe.