There are many ways we can improve our wellbeing but making a start can be tricky. So, what are some easy, affordable, time conscious ways you can improve and maintain your mental health?
Mental health is an element of wellbeing which covers our ability to cope with the emotional and cognitive stresses of our work and personal life. As just one aspect of wellbeing, inevitably, the build-up of poor mental health and stress can have a ripple effect on all other aspects of our life. As such, it’s just as important for us to take care of our mental health, as it is all other aspects of our wellbeing. A great way to do this is by applying one or more of the below 6 tactics to your daily routine, in a way that works best for you.
- Keep active
Headspace acknowledges that being active and participating in regular exercise can improve sleep, give you more energy, provides personal time and/or group social interactions, help manages stress all why having its physical benefits. Whether it be going for a walk, playing a team or individual sport, going to the gym, or having a dip in the ocean, physical exercise enables us to clear our minds and detach from life stressors.
- Always find time for your hobbies
A study conducted by the Australia Psychological Society discovered 80% of participants found purposeful activities or hobbies such as listening to music, reading or art, moderately to highly effective in managing stress. Our point being? Find what you enjoy and spend some time every week doing that activity.
- Sleep is invaluable!
Having a healthy sleep routine is a crucial element when it comes to managing mental health. Ways to adopt healthy sleeping patterns can include keeping regular times for going to bed and getting up, getting a solid 7-9 hours of sleep a night, relaxing for at least an hour before going to be and not going to bed on an empty or full stomach. The Wellbeing Code touches more on this during their interactive mental health and wellbeing workshops available to individuals, workplaces, schools, sporting clubs as well as youth, disability, and employment services.
- Practice breathing exercises
Breathing exercises are an effective stress and anxiety management tool and improve cognitive function and concentration. The Exercise Right campaign delivered by Exercise and Sports Science Australia identifies that deep breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, encourages full oxygen exchange which in turn can slow down your heart rate and stabilise blood pressure. Finding a relaxing spot where you can disengage for even 1 minute a day, relax your muscles, and focus on yourself can truly relax the mind to help manage stress and anxiety.
- Stay connected
Naturally, humans thrive on positive interactions and building relationships with other people and as such, it’s so important for us to keep connected. A journal published by the Ageing Life Care Association identifies that isolation from communities and support systems consequently results in smaller and lower quality support networks, feelings of loneliness and depression, and at worst, deterioration in mental and physical health. Whether it is by a catch up with an old friend, giving a loved one a call, or smiling at a stranger on the street, without those positive human interactions, loneliness and isolation take over our mental wellbeing.
- Drink sensibly
The National Health and Medical Research Council identifies that alcohol is a depressant that can often cause anxiety and increase stress. As a product that slows down our central nervous system, its most immediate impact is the way our brain talks to our body, affecting the way we think, feel, and behave. Alcohol can play a role in the development and progression of mental health conditions, with the likely chance of using it to mask the pain and worsen symptoms further. The Australian Department of Health highlights that healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week, and no more than 4 standard drinks in one sitting, to help alleviate the risk of harm and dependency.
Finding techniques that work for us individually, can be helpful in managing personal and work-related stresses. Taking small steps and making changes to our day-to-day routine can make a huge difference to our mental health. The Better Health Generation has several services tailored towards mental health support in many different settings for individuals and groups. Have a look at what we can offer to you at The Better Health Generation website.