Today we will be talking about the importance of protecting your mental wellbeing, especially in 2021.
The past year was a very challenging one, and in my personal and humble opinion, Covid-19 had a massive impact on people with pre-existing mental health conditions.
In this post, I want us to explore the ways and tips we can use to shield our brains from bad thoughts and harmful habits. Join me in this journey; it’s never too late to make a change and work towards improving your mental wellbeing in 2021!
1. Exercise, exercise, exercise! 🏃
It sounds simple, but we can all agree it’s not. It can be very tempting to stay in bed or lay on the sofa all day “Netflix and chill” -ing.
However, studies have shown that even a short walk or any kind of physical exercise has tremendous positive effects on your mental health.
Sometimes, all you need is to step outside and watch other people walk by, get in touch with nature, see some green and so on, in order to gain perspective and get out of your head.
2. Adopt copying techniques and mechanisms, and use them when you feel your mental health spiralling. 📝
This can be a hobby that relaxes you, like photography for example. Or it can be a journaling regime, i.e. keeping a diary of all the things that made you happy during the day or things you were grateful for.
You could even write down your worries and what frustrates or upsets you -this can act as a form of self-therapy.
What’s important here is that, every time your thoughts get the best of you, you recognise it and you turn to your failsafe technique to distract you. The aim is to empty your mind and direct your focus to something else. You could use a puzzle, for instance.
A little technique I like to use when I feel my anxiety is getting out of control is the following (which I found in the app Calm, if my memory doesn’t fail me).
It really does help, so feel free to download this picture and please, do use it when you feel you’re losing the plot! 💪🏽
3. Get a pet! 🐰
This one is not always an easy one, as it depends on your housing situation. It has been scientifically proven, though, that having a pet -especially having a dog- can greatly influence your mood and improve your mental wellbeing.
From personal experience, it is amazing how intuitive animals are. You can end up with your very own 24/7 mini personal therapist.😅 But in all seriousness, having a pet as an emotional support animal can really be incredibly beneficial.
It forces you into a routine, it gives you a reason to get out of bed every morning and you are never ever alone with your (bad) thoughts anymore. And lest not forget, pets will adore you no matter what. Now who doesn’t want that! 🐶🐱
4. Be mindful of your diet. 🥕
Have you ever experienced the following? You binge eat all the greasy comfort food you can get your hands on -such as fries, garlic bread, pizza- or you have a sweet tooth, and you buy a choc cake, grab a fork and go at it.
A few hours/days later you feel sluggish, your mind is foggy and suddenly, the world has no meaning; you find no aim in doing even the smallest chore, like brushing your hair.
If you answered yes, then I feel for you, I have been there, too. It turns out, my friend, that junk food is partly to blame for mood swings and mental breakdowns.
I cannot stress enough the importance of having a balanced diet. For the name of Lord, please do eat that choc cake and feel no guilt about it. But, don’t make it your only copying mechanism, aka emotional eating.
Our bodies and minds need all the good nutrients found in veggies, fruits, nuts. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know I advocate a vegan plant-based diet, and that is also a reason why.
5. Meditation and Yoga
So, I’m not gonna lie, I don’t relate to meditating. Don’t get me wrong, I have tried. But, I just cannot keep calm and focus. I suspect my form of ADD is to blame for that.
I do relate to yoga, though. I have used yoga and Cassey’s Pop Pilates in the past, and it really does help. This links back to the exercising and copying mechanisms tips.
Therefore, I thought it appropriate to add both of those here, as you mind find one or both help you deal with your inner daemons.
You don’t have to join a class if you don’t want to; I know first-hand how challenging it can be to get out of the house. You can very easily get a yoga mat, instead, or use your carpet to practice some mindful yoga at home.
6. Don’t skip your beauty sleep! 💤
It might sound cliché, but a good night’s sleep can break or make the rest of your day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
If you’re getting less than six, you will likely notice the impact on more than just your mood.
When we enter deep sleep, our body enters recovery mode and produces growth hormones. These growth hormones create new cells that help heal our skin from any damage done during the day.
However, the benefits of beauty sleep go beyond your epidermis. Find the 7 benefits of beauty sleep according to science here!
I hope you found this post helpful! As always, please take everything here with a grain of salt; these are my personal opinions and I am in no shape or form a mental health professional.
My advice is to consult a therapist or psychologist when/if you are worried about your mental wellbeing. 💪🏽
Do you think I missed any tips? Share your opinions in the comments, I’d love to hear them! 🍀
Take care and stay safe! 😷
Love, M. x
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