Now that Christmas seems just a distant memory, perhaps it’s time to stop, sit back and re-evaluate your health and wellbeing. After all, it’s a new year so maybe 2020 could be your chance to make some positive changes? This way, you can still live life to the full but perhaps without some of the stresses and strains of everyday living.
I have to hold my hands up to the fact that I spend most of my time, rushing here and there. Whether it’s work or play, I always seem to find something I must do, so sometimes, rest may not even get a look in. I did manage to slow down somewhat last year but there’s always room for improvement isn’t there? That’s why, this year, I have decided to sit back and make time for my mental health and wellbeing. So, join me with my top tips which may help you find ways in which to switch off and recharge.
Once, this may have been seen as a passing fad but these days, meditation seems far from that. After all, there’s even research to show meditation can improve your focus , emotional state and overall wellbeing. It’s a great way to reduce stress and control anxiety which means it instantly gets a thumbs up from me!
Now, I’ve tried Headspace – my sister actually recommended it to me and she loves it. There are basically hundreds of themed sessions to choose from. So, whether you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, lack of focus, anxiety or stress, it seems there’s something for everyone. There is even a meditation for work section, which claims to increase focus by 14% in four weeks and cuts mind-wandering by 22% in just one session.
Add exercise to your routine
I find exercise is one of my favourite ways in which to feel happier and healthier. In fact, studies show that exercise will boost your mood, increase your self-esteem and ultimately helps you sleep better. So, what’s not to like? Therefore, a good workout will do wonders for your mood and health. It’s partly due to all the endorphins you release during exercise which help to increase your sense of pleasure and overall happiness. Even a good walk will benefit you, your body and your mind. In fact, you can even use this time to process life’s problems on a gentle stroll. Currently, I’m walking every day, go to Pilates and have recently started tennis at my local gym. I love all three and they certainly help me to keep positive and feel healthy. So, overall, my wellbeing is getting right where I’d like it to be!
Consider what you eat
According to mental health charity Mind, food can affect mood so improving your diet may help to improve this, give you more energy and help you think more clearly. So, eating the right foods regularly will be key to keep your blood sugar levels steady. This is because you may feel tired or depressed if your blood sugar level drops.
I’m a firm advocate of breakfast and I just can’t do without my porridge with berries on top. It really does get my day off to a good start (even if it does go downhill after that!). For lunch, choose everything in moderation so soup and bread or sandwich (not baguette), or salad could still fill you up. Processed foods, which will make your blood sugar rise and fall rapidly, are a no-no and high sugar and carb diets are probably best left well alone.
Follow my tips on how to eat a balanced diet here.
Avoid toxic people
Now, this may sound obvious but this is such an important tip. These sorts of people drain your mental thoughts, so try to distance yourself from them physically. After all, this sort of person will not care how they affect you. There are all sorts of reasons why they may behave in this way and some don’t even know they’re doing it. So, do your best to rise above their behaviour and don’t let them upset you.
Unfortunately, it seems toxic behaviour has become more common in the world today, whether you’re subjected to it at work or in a gym class. However, it’s good to learn coping strategies and not let it affect what you do or your life. So, strengthen ties with friends and others you trust and find activities away from the toxic person or environment if you can. This way, the person can not affect your wellbeing and you’ll feel happier and healthier in the long-run.
Connect with friends and family
The more quality time you spend with friends and family, the better, As a result, you can talk to someone you trust about how you feel, which could instantly improve your mental health and wellbeing. Whether you feel like social contact or not, engaging with other people can be such a positive force for wellbeing and this will improve your mental health. I’ve found some great tips on the NHS website, which will help you improve your mental wellbeing here.
Remember that reaching out is not a sign of weakness. Also, interacting with people you encounter during the day can make all the difference to your wellbeing. Although social networks can help in some ways, face-to-face time with others is way more beneficial.
If a problem is getting you down, try to remove yourself from it and do something completely different. This way, you can try to prevent yourself from over-thinking the situation especially if you are feeling it is weighing you down. Learn to take time out and relax, whether this may be taking a hot bath, listening to music or watching a film. List all the things which help to keep you feeling more content and keep them in your life.
If you want to improve your mental health and wellbeing, getting enough sleep will be vital. In fact, chronic sleep loss can seriously affect your health and positivity. Sleeping less can affect mental sharpness, energy, mood and your ability to handle stress. I know I need 8.5 hours’ sleep however it can be tricky to wind down after a busy day. So, I may take a warm bath and try not to look at my phone for at least an hour before I go to sleep.