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Mental Health Awareness 2021 - Connectable Life

Mental Health Awareness

Your mental health refers to your emotional, psychological, and social well-being and it affects how we think, feel, and act. It is how you see yourself and the world around you, and it is vitally important for your overall well-being, happiness, health, and life satisfaction.

It is normal and inevitable to have down days and to experience stress. But with good coping skills and a sound understanding of your thoughts and mental health, you can ensure that your good days far outweigh the bad, and that the bad days are manageable. We all have a brain, and therefore we should all be open to the discussion of mental health. Much like you need to train your physical muscles to run a race, you need to train the muscles in your mind for the marathon of life.

In honour of World Mental Health Awareness week, let us look at a few of the ways that you can incorporate self-care into your daily life and maintain a good and positive mental health.

Connect

We are social beings and one of our core needs is that of belonging and connection. Without people, we are not a person. Social connection can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and improve our immune systems.

Get plenty of sleep

(Good quality) sleep is a vital, often neglected, component of every person’s overall health and well-being. Sleep is important because it enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day. Look after your body. To look after your body means to look after your mind.

Get plenty of sunlight 

Getting some sun and spending time in nature increases your serotonin, which is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. Nature can generate a multitude of positive emotions, such as calmness, joy, creativity and can facilitate concentration.

Ask for help

It is okay to not be okay and it is more than okay to ask for help. You are not supposed to do life alone, and you do not have to. Speak to someone you can trust, be it a friend, family member, colleague or professional.

Have healthy boundaries

Boundaries are a way of taking control of ourselves and our self-care. They mean that we value ourselves and look after ourselves and our feelings. They also help us to not take on too much.

Manage your stress

Staying on top of things will help us to feel less overwhelmed and enable us to deal with life’s challenges. Create a routine and to-do-lists that are prioritized. Familiarity is also important in feeling certain and less stressed.

Talk about your feelings

ALL of them. You deserve it! Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. It helps to see things clearly, put situations into perspective and, if needed, come up with a solution. We can’t be positive all the time, and that’s okay. Give yourself time. Offer yourself grace. But then acknowledge them and pick yourself up!

Eat a clean and balanced diet

Food is our fuel; it becomes the energy that feeds our brain- and therefore our thoughts and feelings. It is really important that we are mindful of what we put into our bodies as this can have a huge impact on how we feel.

Get moving

Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. When you move your body, you move your brain. Find ways and means that are enjoyable to you so that you can make them a habit and not something you will do once, dislike, and not do again. Make exercise a habit and not a chore.

Take a break

Taking breaks allows your brain and body to get the necessary recharge it needs to keep going.

Practice balance

You cannot do it all. You cannot be it all. And you certainly can’t be it all and do it all at the same time. Have balance in all areas of your life, work and personal. Listen to your body and your mind; there will be signs and cues that you are overdoing it in one area or the other. If you don’t listen to the small signs, your body will have to eventually shout at you.

Avoid alcohol, drugs and smoking

Substances can alter our thoughts and moods and therefore affect the way we feel and live our life. They can also have a negative effect on our sleep and physical health. When feeling stressed or overwhelmed, don’t revert to avoidance tactics like alcohol. Avoidance doesn’t eliminate the stress.

Do something you enjoy every day

Making time to do what you love can help you ease your stress, lift your mood, and expand your social circle.

It improves your motivation, outlook on life, health, relationships, and productivity. After all, doing something you love brings joy, and a happy you is a healthy you!

Get to know yourself and LOVE yourself

Know what serves you and what doesn’t. Know your thoughts, boundaries, feelings, values, and perspectives. Practice what is good for you and try to set aside what doesn’t serve you. Listen to your body and trust your gut. Understanding is key to improving! Take your own advice, too. If a friend came to you and confided in you with what you are feeling, what would you tell them?

Care for others

Doing something for others or caring for others can trigger our happy hormones and help reduce stress as well as improve mood, self-esteem, and happiness. Bonus, it will also help in nurturing your relationship with that person.

Get creative

Being creative can increase positive emotions, lessen depressive symptoms, reduce stress, decrease anxiety, and even improve immune system functioning. By reading, writing, painting, drawing, dancing (whatever it may be!), it allows you to express yourself and clear your mind.

Soothe your soul and awaken your spirit. Being creative allows you to be present, mindful and can be hugely liberating.

Learn something new

It improves the quality of your life and deepens the relationships you have. It can boost your self-esteem and give you a sense of purpose.

Practice gratitude and mindfulness

These superpowers help in rewiring our brains, and therefore our thought patterns and overall life satisfaction. We can develop positive thought patterns, allowing us to make the mundane meaningful and the stressful situations work for us.

Have attainable goals, hopes and dreams

How much do you prioritize these?

Remember, this is how we live with meaning and purpose at the end of the day. Make sure that you are living out your true ‘WHY’, and that your goals align with your values.

Drown out unnecessary sources

If there is a specific show you watch, account you follow or app you use that causes you to worry, fear or feel bad about yourself and life, then delete it. What information you choose to feed your mind is up to you. Apply filters necessary for your mental health.

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