10 WAYS TO BOOST MENTAL HEALTH
I’m not going to lie – the last few weeks have been filled with a lot of stress and anxiety for me. Between moving, starting a new job, the election, and everything in-between in the midst of a pandemic, my mental health has not been in a great place. I’m sure you can agree – 2020 has been a lot. Everything feels so uncertain, and for many of us it’s been really difficult to take care of ourself in all the ways we need.
Over the last few months, self-care has been a priority for me as a way to check in with myself and make sure that my mind and body are in a good place. Making time to take care of myself, my body, health and mental well-being is so important to not only to make myself feel better but to ensure that I am able to help others and perform my best. Over the years I’ve noticed that when I’m consistent with these rituals (journaling and moving my body especially), I tend to maintain a better head space. Though I definitely don’t do all of these things all the time, these are activities and rituals that I rely on to keep my mind and body in a healthy place.
Self care looks different for everyone, there is no wrong way to do it! These are just some of the thing I personally do to take care of myself, and hopefully they can give you some inspiration for when you’re not feeling your best.
Interested in learning more about the top 10 ways I like to care for my mental health? Keep scrolling!
10 STEPS TO BOOST YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
1. Take a bath
If you’ve seen my House Hunters episode, you know I’m all about a bath. Moving into an apartment with a bathtub was a nonnegotiable for me because I love them that much. There’s something about starting a Sunday morning or ending a long week with a bath that is so relaxing and immediately puts my mind at ease. Listening to music or watching a fun show on Netflix while soaking in the tub is my ideal way to relax. Add a bath bomb or bubbles, a face mask, a cup of tea and let your mind and body unwind.
My preferred method of physical exercise is strength training, but I love making space in my workout routine for yoga at least once a week. I’ve been relying on yoga a lot more in the last few months as a way to focus on being present when my mind is racing and stressing. Though I love connecting with people in person, there are some really great yoga YouTube channels that I’ve been using- Yoga with Adrianne is my fave!
I have been an avid journaler for the last few years, and it’s been an amazing tool in helping me to process and understand my thoughts and feelings. Like any habit, it can take a while to figure out when and how journaling can help you best. I personally started out with a 30 day journal prompt that I found on Pinterest, and made it a goal to write for at least 10 minutes every day. Now I write for about 10-15 minutes 5-6 days a week and cycle between writing what’s on my mind, ideas for the future, worries, frustrations, etc. I’ll also use gratitude or writing prompts that I find on Pinterest occasionally if I feel like it! Journaling looks different for everyone, start by setting a timer for yourself and see what comes out on the page!
4. Turn off your phone
If you’re like me, your screen time over the past few weeks has been through the roof. When there is so much going on in the world, it can feel like you need to keep up with everything all at once (I talk more about that here!). Being mindful about where you’re scrolling and for how long can help you stay present, focused, and often boost your mood. Try setting a timer or using the screen time app for iPhone. Once the time is up, put the phone down and try one of the activities on this list instead!
5. Bake something
I love baking; there is something so therapeutic about putting on some music, and getting creative in the kitchen. Engaging my hands and mind in something gentle that requires some focus like baking is one of the ways I love to destress. If I’ve made too much, I’ll often share with neighbours or send some treats to work with my boyfriend!
6. Read a book
Though I usually love reading non-fiction, when I’m stressed or overwhelmed I tend to reach towards fictional books that don’t require much thought or effort to read. I feel similarly towards shows with complicated plot lines – when my brain is already in overdrive, the last thing I want is to push it even further! Lately I’ve been making it a habit to read at least thirty minutes before bed. It tires out my eyes, puts me in a relaxed state, and helps me fall asleep easier – especially when I’m feeling stressed out.
7. Tidy your space
My space is often a physical manifestation of my mood. If the kitchen is a mess and clothes are in a pile, you can be sure that I’m not at my peak. To feel calm and in control, I need to have a tidy space. Taking ten minutes to tidy the apartment before I go to bed allows me to wake up in a clean environment and start the day on a positive note.
If there’s anything on this list that I ‘struggle’ with, it’s meditation. I love the benefits, but it’s definitely something I’m working on making into a habit. Right now I I do it about once a week, and I want to do more! Some benefits I personally have experienced: increased self and body awareness, stress reduction, focusing on the present, and gaining new perspective. I use the Headspace app, but there are tons of free resources online!
9. Cuddle with a pet
This one is pretty self-explanatory: is there anything better than cuddling with your pet? One of my favourite things to do when I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed is to grab a cat and a cozy blanket and relax for a bit. There’s nothing like the love of a furry friend to make you feel right again!
10. Take a walk
This is probably the thing I do most consistently to take care of myself and my mental health. Especially for those of us working from home and not going out as often, walks are so important. When my body is feeling restless, or when my mind is feeling overwhelmed, I try my best to get outside and take a walk in the fresh air. Most days I’ll listen to a podcast, but if I feel like my mind has been overly stimulated, I won’t listen to anything and just enjoy the sounds around me. Taking time away to be outside it one of my favourite parts of the day, and is something that always helps me to reset and feel a bit better.
What have you been doing to take care of yourself during this time? Let me know in the comments below!