6 Ways to Look After Your Mental Health
When we talk about health, we often get hung up thinking about our physical health. We may want to look a certain way, be able to walk a certain distance, or complete a particular challenge. But there is an elephant in the room. Alongside optimising our physical health, we also need to give our mental health a little MOT.
When we’re thinking about mental health, we want to consider how we regulate our behaviour, feelings and thoughts.
To this end, there are some warning signs we can keep an eye out for, and they include:
- Disrupted sleep,
- Feeling less happiness or joy from normally happy or joyful things for you,
- Changes in appetite,
- Feelings of fatigue,
- Low energy.
You should always seek the advice of a qualified professional if you are struggling with your mental health, but we have compiled some things to consider alongside any professional support you may need.
Mixing up your meds!
We’re not talking medication; we’re talking about the Mediterranean Diet. By far, this diet has the most to offer for optimal health, but when we mix it up with the DASH diet, it results in the MIND diet which stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.
A 2021 systematic review pulled together 13 studies and highlighted that certain nutrient patterns (eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, olive and seed oils, fish and lean meat/poultry – and eating lower amounts of highly processed foods) could lead to better brain integrity and function.
So, ensure you are eating plenty of:
- Green leafy vegetables,
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil,
- Wholegrains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice,
- Oily fish like salmon,
- Beans including lentils.
Give mindfulness a bash!
Give a mindfulness or meditation app a whirl for 10-15 mins a day and see how you feel.
Get a good night’s sleep!
Good sleep is so important to our health, especially our mental health. There is certainly some truth in the saying, “got up on the wrong side of the bed!”
Poor sleep is regularly linked to depression anxiety and other mental health challenges. Not only that but these mental health challenges also make it harder to sleep well which means we often find ourselves in a vicious cycle. The important thing is that sufficient REM sleep facilitates the processing of emotional information.
Depending on the time of year, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a subtype of depression which affects people during reduced daylight hours. It is closely related to the disruption of internal biological clocks and therefore sleeping patterns.
Try our beditation programme to support your sleep.
Ongoing feelings of loneliness can significantly affect how we feel, so staying in touch with friends and family is so important. It’s also about quality and not quantity – we don’t need 100 friends, just a couple of really good ones.
Sometimes, having a common interest or goal can help us meet new friends or give us a reason to keep in touch with existing friends. Don’t forget we have a refer a friend option on InstructorLive. Just head into your account information and click “refer a friend” to give 50% discount and get 50% on your next payment.
Get out in nature!
Did you know that being in nature reduces scores of anxiety and depression?
Our species has existed for thousands upon thousands of years – but even the oldest cities have only been around a fraction of that! What this means is that we largely evolved in nature, and this environment therefore shaped our brains – for want of a better phrase, going back to nature almost takes us back to our roots.
What the data says:
Being in nature is seen to improve sleep scores,
Spending time in green spaces simply makes us happier,
Mental stress scores significantly reduce when we live in urban areas with increased green spaces,
Time in nature improves our relationships with others and also cognitive functioning,
Try to head outside at least once a day. And see how you feel.
Regular exercise can have a profound impact on mental health. It can relieve stress, improve anxiety symptoms, enhance brain function, and help us sleep better!
Not only that but exercise can also improve levels of self-esteem and confidence, which means we have more positive thoughts.
Overall, most people, when engaging in regular exercise, report enhanced mood, increased motivation and a greater sense of control over well-being.
The trick is to find exercise that you enjoy, so take a look around and see if you can find something that ticks your box!
Optimising our mental health is crucial, we hope these tips have given you some food for thought, but please feel free to share any strategies or tips you find help you.