Looking after both your body and your mind are important for good health and wellbeing. In part one we outlined how to look after your body which included adequate nutrition, the right exercise, treating an illness or injury and intentional rest. Here we’ll take a look at how to look after your mind and stay in good mental health…
Holistic Health: Look after your mind
DO THINGS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD
Good mental health and relationships make people happier. Happy people experience higher levels of concentration, they are more productive and are engaged in life. Doing something that makes you feel good every day to help you achieve this happiness.
We suggest you start by thinking about the little things that make you feel good. It may be something as simple as making your bed every morning, having your coffee break or buying fresh flowers. Perhaps the walk to work each morning boosts your energy or your after work gym session helps to clear your mind. Whatever it may be, acknowledge it, embrace it and integrate it into your daily habit.
Doing what makes you feel good will also help you to enjoy your work, be more grateful and cultivate positive relationships with others.
SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT YOU
Positive relationships – with family, friends, colleagues and your community – are important for good mental health. Spending time with the people who care about you can strengthen your self-confidence and fulfil an emotional need.
Having a good support network can help us to make better decisions. We need people who will listen, give advice when needed and help to resolve our problems. This can lead to a better quality of life and consequently a positive mental health.
Plus, healthy relationships can lead to a healthier lifestyle. Often the people closest to us are important influencers. They encourage us to eat a more balanced diet and exercise more. They motivate and drive us to succeed and are our biggest cheerleaders. Likewise, when we act as support for the people who care about us, it can help reduce stress and create a sense of peace.
SCHEDULE “ME” TIME
Too often we limit the need for “me” time because of the never-ending to-do list and constant demands of modern life. Research suggests that while socialisation is vital for a healthy mind, purposeful alone time also plays a role in a person’s well being.
Being by yourself with little distraction allows your mind to clear, to focus and encourages creativity. It also helps us to unwind, to think deeper and problem-solve. Studies have shown that the quality of me-time is more important than the quantity. Allowing yourself this time at least at least twice a week helps the brain to recharge and reset.
Start on this positive path to good mental health by scheduling activities that give you a break from your routine. This might be getting a massage, going for a cycle, a long walk or simply reading a good book. Giving yourself headspace can lead to a reduction in anxiety and stress and boost your energy levels.
If you are struggling to find time alone in your busy day there are some simple tricks to help you find it. For example, you could wake up before the rest of your household and spend twenty minutes alone each morning. Take a solo lunch break and find a peaceful place to sit, eat and reflect. Or alternatively, in the evening, spend a half an hour of solitude somewhere alone, unplug turn off any electronic devices.
Similarly, sleep is something we sometimes take for granted. It is often sacrificed in favour of working longer hours or watching late night TV. However, sleep is a fundamental part of our health and wellbeing. It has been proven to benefit many aspects of our physical health including curbing inflammation and promoting weight loss. But it is also an important factor in our mental health.
Adequate sleep helps to strengthen our memories, self-esteem and our ability to cope with life’s daily challenges. A lack of sleep can affect your mood and energy levels which may lead to negative thought patterns.
The recommended sleep for adults between 18 and 64 years of age is seven to nine hours. To get a good sleep we recommend that you don’t intake any stimulants in the evening including caffeine and sugar. Try a herbal tea instead and introduce a bedtime routine to wind down in the hour before sleep. Avoid electronic devices and let your mind switch off as part of your routine. For anyone who finds it hard to fall asleep, try listening to white noise or ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response ) to guide your sleep.