I’ve felt my mental health slipping lately. As someone who has suffered high anxiety (clinically diagnosed social anxiety) and depression several times, I fear the low moods that crop up too often are a warning sign of the inevitable: my depression returning.
However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Negative emotions are just as valid and important as positive ones. Sadly, we can’t pick and choose. All we can do is feel them all and notice what they’re trying to tell us about ourselves and our lives.
If, like me, you want to be someone who tries to keep on top of their mental wellness as much as possible, then here are my top 5 ways to care for your mental health as part of your everyday routine.
1 – There’s An App For That
Firstly, it is a great idea to find an app (or two) that works for you and your needs. Thankfully, there are loads of apps to download on your phone that can help with your mental wellness.
Search any of the following to find what you may want or need in the App Store:
- Work Out
- Habit Tracker
- Walk/ Run
And then use them every day. Allow them to send you notifications so that you don’t forget.
2 – Activity
In order to keep up a level of mental wellness, you need to be active every day. You can’t allow yourself to fall victim to this lifestyle of sitting for 8 hours at your desk, sitting while you commute to and from work, then going home to sit on the sofa while you eat dinner and watch TV!
It’s so easily done, I know, but it’s also not that hard to incorporate some activity within it all. Not only will this be great for your body, but it works to keep the mind fit, awake, and healthy, too.
- Take a walk at break times
- Take the stairs
- Walk to work if you can, or walk the long route from the car park/train station
- Get up to stretch every hour at your desk
- Do some exercise before or after work
- Definitely be active on the weekends
3 – Awareness
Self-awareness is the key to mental wellness – there, I said it! If you are aware of what you’re thinking and feeling, you’re in a better position to do something about it, instead of being ignorant and feeling bad without knowing why.
How do you develop awareness?
- Spend time alone
- Spend time being still and quiet (meditation, yoga, slow-paced activity)
- Reading (ideally books about emotions, mental health, lifestyle, habits cognition etc. because it will help you identify things that are going on inside of you)
- Walking (ideally without a destination or anything playing on your headphones)
- Mindfulness practices (paying attention to details around you; using the five senses to pick up on what’s around you and bringing yourself into the present moment)
Once you have started noticing thought patterns or emotions that keep cropping up, capture them. Write them down and take a look over the results. What is the pattern? What keeps happening or what situations trigger these feelings? This is important information for taking action for mental and emotional wellness.
*Sometimes, simply writing how you feel helps you feel better straight away.*
Also, awareness means being aware of other things that could contribute to poor mental health, like:
- Sleep patterns
- Nutrition (diet, vitamins, balance, energy)
- Your environment
- People and social health
- Stress and overwhelm
- A need you’ve neglected lately
4 – Productivity
I can’t lie, there is a direct correlation between my lower moods and inactivity. Days where I don’t do much or have any tasks, are the times I’m likely to feel low. The reason for this is partly because a bored mind starts looking for things to focus on, and sometimes (especially if you have a mental illness already) this is negative things and “problems” in your life.
This is why we need to find a balance. Not being too overwhelmed, overworked and over-stressed, but not bored or inactive either.
It’s important to be productive, not busy.
We live in a culture where fatigue, lack of sleep, and busyness is celebrated as some sort of trophy for the motivated and ambitious. This isn’t true; it’s a lie. Be productive instead. As in, take actionable, appropriate, calculated steps towards what you actually need to do. Not doing this and doing that, juggling a thousand things that are all half-arsed because you’re overwhelmed.
I definitely know that I’ve felt low since having my blog already scheduled for posts 2 months from now! So, not having much to do right now while I’m waiting for some things to start in my life soon is making me anxious.
It’s important to know a number of things that you can do to be productive even when you’re unemployed or haven’t got much going on (post on this coming soon). Add them to your routine to ensure that in all ways that are important to you, you know what a productive day looks like and you can take action towards it.
- Puzzles and quizzes
- Teach yourself a language
- Learn a new skill
- Meet up with a friend
5 – Share
And lastly, it’s important to share. I know this is outside the comfort zone of so many people, but to tell you the truth, my mental health has been so much better since I let go of the fear of judgement and just spoke about it. Having my blog, going to therapy, speaking with friends and family about how I feel has taken the pressure off my mind.
I will always encourage people to share how they feel in a safe space.
Therapy was amazing for me. Not because it’s fun, but because having that space to go deep into how I felt was so important and something you don’t realise you need until you do it.
- Find that one friend who you can open up completely with
- Speak to a therapist
- Attend a group or class where these things are shared
- Host a blog
- Join an online forum
These are the things that work for me. I know that I feel lowest when I’m not being productive, active, or aware enough, and when I’m not sharing or using the resources out there to help me.
Use these things as part of your weekly routine, and you will be caring for your mind regularly.
I hope I’ve helped a little, take care x
If you need any help in bettering your mental health, or better coping with anxiety, depression, and stress, then my book “You’re As Mad As I Am” may be for you. Check it out here, and download a free sample to see what it’s all about.
Check out my FREE downloadable workbooks that can walk you through emotions, mental wellness, confidence, low moods and more.