Guest article provided by: watermarkhomes.co.uk
You’re likely already taking regular steps to maintain your physical health. However, mental health is just as important. So how can you support this? What can you do each and every day to improve and reinforce your wellbeing? Well, in this article we will suggest five simple actions to take each day to help build emotional resilience and bolster your mental wellbeing.
What to do every day to support your mental health
- Spend time outside
Daylight is a vital source of vitamin D. Your body uses vitamin D to help regulate mood-boosting chemicals. Therefore, it’s important to spend some time outside every day. Harvard recommend 10-15 minutes, though of course this will depend how sensitive your skin is to sun exposure. Remember, you should always protect your eyes from UV damage.
As well as boosting your vitamin D levels, being outside has other benefits. Studies at Yale have revealed that being in nature regularly can “lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood.” That’s pretty powerful!
So, try to go outside each and every day, even if the weather isn’t great. Perhaps you can pop to your local park, enjoy a nice cuppa in your garden, or combine your time outside with our next tip and feed two birds with one scone? *
- Move your body
Physical exercise is great for both your physical and mental wellbeing. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours in the gym or run for miles (unless you want to of course, in which case, go right ahead)! Any kind of movement will support your mental health. So, choose something you love to do and commit to doing it every day.
Perhaps you like to walk and talk with a friend? Maybe you enjoy a PE-style workout with Joe Wicks? I love daily yoga with Adriene Mischler, but you might prefer a boxercise class, a swim before work, or dancing around, while cleaning your kitchen. Anything that gets your body moving will boost your mood. In fact, evidence has shown that exercise raises your self-esteem, helps you to set and achieve goals, plus it actually causes “chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood”.
- Clear the clutter
There is no doubt that your immediate environment can have a significant effect on your wellbeing. A clean and clutter-free space has been shown to reduce stress, boost self-esteem and make you feel more optimistic. In addition to this, a clear and tidy workspace can improve concentration and focus. In order to avoid feeling overwhelmed, try decluttering in small chunks. Perhaps start with just one drawer, or your coat rack. Work methodically, sorting items into ‘keep’, ‘trash’, ‘donate’ and ‘repair/clean’, before cleaning the space and returning the items ‘to keep’.
Happily, cleaning and decluttering is also fantastic exercise, so it’s twice as beneficial for lifting the spirits!
- Practise Gratitude
Harvard studies have found that “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships”.
When you make time to focus on what you are grateful for and fortunate to have (i.e. to ‘count your blessings’), you start to appreciate these things even more. Consequently, you spend less time and energy fretting about what you don’t currently have.
A great way to practise gratitude is to try daily journaling. Keeping a gratitude journal can help you to sleep better, feel more positive, be more emotionally resilient and feel more contented. If you’d like to try gratitude journaling, but have no idea how, this website has 10 journaling prompts to get you started.
- Sleep soundly
Sleep is essential for both your body and mind to work properly. Consequently, poor sleep and poor health (both physical and mental) are often closely linked. By improving one, you can often improve the other.
Regular, good quality sleep allows your brain to regulate the chemicals that help to manage mood and emotions. A healthy sleep cycle can help reduce anxiety and depression.
So, there you have it, five things to do every day in order to support your mental health. You now know that many of these are interlinked and complement each other. For example, exercise can help you to sleep more soundly, spending time outside can help you feel more grateful, and decluttering is a great way to stay active. Hopefully you can find a way to do each of these things every day in order to boost your wellbeing.
This guest post was written by Gude Hudson-Gool of Synsera Homes.
Gude writes from her sofa, usually with a steaming hot cuppa. In her spare time, she enjoys paper-folding (origami) and yoga. She used the extra time gained from anxiety-induced insomnia at the start of 2020 to write a book about how to stay sane during lockdown (it was the best kind of therapy).
*Yes, I know that’s not the original expression, but I find this version much more agreeable!