Health & Wellness

Make your mental health a priority

October 9, 2020
Make Your Mental Health a Priority

World Mental Health Day is October 10. According to Mental Health Australia, 1 in 5 Australians are affected by mental illness. This year Mental Health Australia

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

Sunshine

sunshine

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.

Get moving

Steptember

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

talk it out

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

listen to 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

Midlife Exercise and Diet

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

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

journal

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

healthy food

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?

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12 Comments

  • Reply Christine October 9, 2020 at 11:07

    Great post Sue, thank you for this reminder of the importance of taking care of our mental health. My mother in law used to suffer quite badly from SAD and really was quite debilitating for her at times. The tips you have given us are simple ones that we can all incorporate into our daily lives. X

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 17, 2020 at 13:09

      Thanks Chris I don’t think we can ever place enough importance on making our mental health a priority. SAD is definitely an issue with many people and fortunately I’m very grateful to live in the Sunshine State. x

  • Reply Donna Connolly October 9, 2020 at 11:12

    Hi, Sue – Thank you for sharing this important reminder about mental health, as well as these essential tips. I like the diverse range of your suggestions – and how practical they are. Great post!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 17, 2020 at 13:10

      Hi Donna, mental health should always be a priority and one we need to continually discuss and encourage others to not feel stigmatised but to reach out for help. x

  • Reply Debbie Harris October 11, 2020 at 20:17

    Fabulous tips Sue, many thanks for sharing and reminding us of how we can help keep our mental health in tip top shape.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 17, 2020 at 13:13

      Thanks Deb, I’m a huge advocate for good mental health and well-being so happy to put the spotlight on it whenever I can. x

  • Reply Kathleen Aherne October 13, 2020 at 08:57

    Thanks Sue for the effort and expertise you put into your posts.
    Our JULIE has chosen this post to be featured in the next Blogger’s Pit Stop.
    Kathleen

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 17, 2020 at 13:07

      Thanks so much Kathleen for this and Have a lovely weekend. x

  • Reply Kathleen Aherne October 13, 2020 at 19:15

    Well, here I am again to say that our ELISE also chose your post to be featured in the next Blogger’s Pit Stop. So you will have a double feature 🙂
    Kathleen

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 17, 2020 at 13:06

      Thank you so much Kathleen I am always grateful for the opportunity to share. x

  • Reply Christie Hawkes October 20, 2020 at 08:57

    It’s so important for all of us to mind to our mental health, Sue, and these are all important ways we can do that. Sometimes I forget that my diet affects mood and mental health. Thanks for the reminder! I hope all is going well for you. Take care!

  • Reply Jennifer October 20, 2020 at 18:52

    Self-care is so important. Women tend to relegate self-care to the end of the line and that’s not how it should be. We can’t take care of anyone if we don’t take care of ourselves first. Great post.

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