It’s particularly in times of crises that we tend to rethink our idea of mental and emotional wellbeing. As the pandemic affected our relationships, our freedom to be close and intimate with our loved ones, and our routine, some of our safest comfort zones have been forever altered. Suddenly, when a coffee date with your best friend is out of the question and video calls with your elderly parents are all you can get, those small, but meaningful interactions gain much more significance.
The ability to take a yoga class, to attend a dance recital at your kids’ school, or to Zumba your stress away – all your standard healthy coping strategies no longer apply. It’s especially then that you need to find other, equally empowering and healthy mental health boosters. From food, mindfulness meditation, to yoga at home, you can create your own self-care routine focused on your mental wellbeing more than anything else. Here’s what you can incorporate today.
Say no to unhealthy stimulants
In addition to taking better care of your diet by introducing healthy, good-mood foods, you also need to reduce or eliminate the intake of unhealthy foods and stimulants that can affect your mental health negatively.
For starters, alcohol, smoking, too much processed sugar, and similar stimulants with zero nutritional value should not be on the menu. These ingredients might give you a momentary sense of relief and satisfaction, but they’ll actually lead to an energy slump rather quickly. Replacing unhealthy, emotional eating patterns with healthy eating will help you elevate your confidence, mood, and sense of wellbeing.
Schedule sleep on a regular basis
If you schedule your workouts, start scheduling your sleep, too. Too many people neglect their body’s need to rest and recuperate, which is primarily achieved not just with pure daytime rest, but through regular, consistent, quality sleep. If you suffer from insomnia or you’re restless during the night, chances are you’re feeling exhausted, irritated, and anxious during the day.
Create a sleeping routine that will help you unwind before bedtime. Read a book and conduct a digital detox to slow down your mind and avoid blue light exposure. Take a soothing bath, or add scented candles into your bedroom to create the right atmosphere. Give your body time to prepare for sleep, and try to stick to a routine to make sure your mind gets enough rest.
Feed your mind and your body
Healthy food is the pillar of your mental and physical wellbeing. By balancing your micro and macronutrient intake, you help your body balance your hormone production, energy levels, sleep quality, and mood. You can reinforce your nutrition with the help of wellness supplements that target your mental wellbeing.
For example, you can improve your sleep with the help of herbal supplements with magnesium and lavender, while vitamin D is a great addition to your meal plan during the colder season when you don’t get enough healthy sun exposure, which can wreak havoc on your mood.
Keep yourself active
With or without quarantine, many people find it difficult to kick-start a fitness routine – and yet, it’s a vital component of a healthy lifestyle that will contribute to your mental health, not just strength and physical endurance.
Start with something simple, like a bodyweight home workout routine you can follow along on YouTube. Try a fitness app with varied training sessions on offer. Invest in a few fitness tools like a kettlebell or a few resistance bands to add some diversity to your routine. Sometimes, a longer walk with your pooch is all you need, but you do need to be active in order to keep your mental health balanced.
Make time for mindfulness
For some, meditation seems obscure and unstructured, thus not all that attractive. For others, it sounds too good to be true. Although guided meditation has a different impact on your wellbeing, you can start your own mindful meditation practice to calm your thoughts, ground yourself, and start the day with the right mindset. It’s not the be-all, end-all of boosting your mental health, but it’s a wonderful addition to this arsenal of tools you already use.
Journal to understand yourself
Writing down what you’re feeling, what thoughts might be causing you worry or stress, and putting your fears on paper gives you a fresh perspective. Studies have shown that journaling helps with anxiety and depression, and it has a tendency to boost mental wellbeing in already healthy adults. It’s a healthy strategy to understand yourself, process your feelings, and gain important insights into potential solutions to your issues.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You’re not alone in this complicated, challenging world of ours. Sometimes, no matter how well you eat, sleep, and train, you might still find yourself struggling. Fortunately, you can find help from online and in-person psychologists, some of whom are prepared to book appointments online and via the phone in case you’re in isolation.
Then again, sometimes all you need is a friendly conversation with a close friend or your spouse to remind yourself of all the incredible things in life to feel grateful for. Support is always a call away, so don’t be afraid to ask for it when you need it.
Mental health is as vital as your physical fitness, which is why you need to take your time to discover different, effective best practices you can include in your own life. We’re all different and authentic, which means that sometimes, what a yoga class does for one person, journaling will do for another, and the like. Get creative and keep an open mind, and over time, you’ll have your very own mental health practice that will empower you to be more resilient, grateful, and self-aware in life.