is encouraging all Australians to make a personal promise to improve their own mental health. #lookafteryourmentalhealthaustralia
Too often we ignore our mental health and yet it is all part of our total well-being. In the past, speaking out about our mental health was taboo and many suffered in silence or worse. Finally, today we are encouraged to be open about how we feel and also to be alert to how others in our circle are feeling.
2020 has been particularly difficult as our lives have been affected by COVID-19. Mental health has been tested as we experience, isolation, social distancing, concern about employment and finances. These have put extra strain on an already stressed out society.
Most of us are fortunate to just have a ‘bad day’ or a ‘bad patch’ but Depression is real and should not be ignored or brushed aside.
If you feel that your are experiencing more than just a ‘bad day’, reach out for help from your doctor or if you need immediate support contact Lifeline 13 11 14.
Make your mental health a priority
We always feel better when the sun is shining and according to the Mayo Clinic decreased sun exposure can be associated with SAD -Seasonal Affective Disorder. A type of depression which can be linked to the changes in Seasons. Even in winter, getting outside into the fresh air can help. Reduced exposure to sunlight can affect our moods.
Being active and exercising regularly helps us to not only be physically fit but also mentally healthy. The Heart Foundation’s article Physical Activity & Depression explains that research shows the positive affects of physically activitity in reducing anxiety, stress and depression.
The American Psychological Association talks about the Exercise Effect and how ‘Evidence is mounting for the benefits of exercise, yet psychologists don’t often use exercise as part of their treatment arsenal.’
Unplug and take a tech-free day
Ensuring that you take time to relax, rest and recover your mind, body and spirit is essential for good mental health.
Social media and technology has become a daily habit for many of us and sometimes can add to our mental stress and anxiety.
Taking time to unplug and get back to nature and focus on becoming more self-aware will re-energise you. Can you go without social media for at least one day?
Talk it Out & stay connected
COVID-19 has had a dramatic effect on our social connection. Isolation and social distancing have impacted the way we connect with others. Video chats have become the norm.
Having a virtual or in-real-life coffee and a chat with a friend can sometimes help us feel more positive. Talking about our problems can sometimes make them less overwhelming.
However, if we are feeling more than a little ‘down’ seeking professional help might be the answer.
Listen to your favourite Music
Put the headphones on and listen to your favourite music. Close your eyes, relax and be carried away. I find classical music soothing, however if rock is your thing go for it – whatever helps you to relax and makes you feel uplifted.
You can’t beat ABBA for a good upbeat dance-a-thon around the living room!
Meditate & Breathe
Never underestimate the value of taking a few deep breaths to calm the body and mind. Start the day with 5 – 10 minutes of meditation. Slowly inhaling and exhaling and focusing on clearing your mind will set you up for a more relaxed, less anxious state of mind.
There are many Guided Meditation Apps free and paid for services, that you can download to help you start your meditation journey. Here are 12 Best Meditation Apps for 2020 you could try.
Gratitude has been written about so often that it can start to lose the impact of why it is important to our mental health.
Making time to give thanks helps us to focus on the positives in our lives. This can be difficult at during periods of stress and poor mental health.
Gratitude can help improve our self-esteem, minimize negative habits, thinking patterns and feelings.
Journal your thoughts
If you are feeling down but don’t want to talk to someone, writing your thoughts into a journal helps. Many people keep a daily journal to write their thoughts and feelings and it is amazing how lighter you feel when you have transferred your thoughts – positive or negative – onto a page and out of your mind.
Do something that brings joy to your life and don’t feel guilty!
Taking the time to do something just for you will make you feel happier and more positive. Sometimes, we get so caught up with looking after others that we forget about ourselves. Having some ‘me time’ without feeling guilty can sometimes be just what you need.
Do something each day that brings you joy
Eat foods that boost your mental health
According to Harvard Health, what you eat can affect how you feel.
Studies have shown that when people take probiotics (supplements containing the good bacteria), their anxiety levels, perception of stress, and mental outlook improve, compared with people who did not take probiotics.
Other studies have compared “traditional” diets, like the Mediterranean diet and the traditional Japanese diet, to a typical “Western” diet and have shown that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in those who eat a traditional diet.
“If you are feeling depressed take a step forward by seeking professional help.”
Invest in your health and experience a Retreat
Sometimes we need help to step out of the world for a time. Taking time to experience a Retreat for a few hours, or days (if you have time) can improve our overall health and wellness. That is why I’ve developed our half-day retreat in collaboration with Carol Wedenberg from Harmony and Healthy Yoga. Our first retreat will be held on the Gold Coast on November 1st and we have plans to bring retreats to you in 2021 through the Virtual World. You can read more about our Retreat HERE
A Retreat of Self-Discovery to Find Harmony and Happiness to Live Well
“A Holistic health and self-care wellness retreat with a difference”
What can you do today to bring more joy and less stress to your life?