The art of ‘looking after ourselves’ is often shoved into a drawer and forgotten about, along with those batteries, Domino’s vouchers and those odd cables you haven’t worked out what on earth are for yet.
There isn’t a one size fits all, when it comes to mental health.
It is fair to say, however, that when we are rushing around and pleasing everyone else, we often forget to s l o w down and take much-needed time out.
In aid of Mental Health Awareness Week, we go back to basics and bring you 8 tips to improve your well-being.
1. Eat regular and balanced meals
Didn’t have time to have breakfast this morning? Couldn’t be bothered to cook and had 4 Hobnob biscuits for dinner instead?
This is a big no-no, as skipping meals can leave you feeling tired and irritable.
‘Your brain runs primarily on glucose,’ Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic told Seventeen. ‘When there isn’t enough sugar in your blood to pull from, you lose your ability to focus.’
Aim to eat three meals that are balanced with protein, carbohydrates, vegetables and good fats.
Try making a super easy “Buddha Bowl“, which has all the necessary ingredients you need to perform at your best and they look as great as they taste.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of exercise
It’s a vicious circle. If you feel down, the last thing you want to do is run laps around your local park. But, let’s not forget those endorphins (aka happy chemicals) that flood your brain post-workout.
Whether you join your local exercise class, go for a run or do a workout video at home – exercise will do wonders for your wellbeing, confidence and stress levels.
Click here for a whole range of fitness classes in the Gloucestershire area.
Make sure you get enough sleep
Promised yourself a decent nights kip, but find yourself scrolling through your Facebook feed at silly-o’clock? Find it impossible to wake up on a morning, snooze your alarm and end up putting on your mascara on the bus, a little too frequently? You are probably not getting enough sleep.
What constitutes as enough sleep varies from person to person, but scientists have settled for an average of six to eight hours.
Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington spoke out about how important sleep is for success, following her collapse from exhaustion a few years previous.
To get a good night’s sleep, it’s important to get into a routine. Go to bed at a set time every night and limit your technology use. France recently banned employees from checking their emails after 6pm and Carolyn Murphy stops using technology after 8pm, as the ‘body needs to know when it’s time to “turn off.”
Smile even if you don’t mean it
‘Fake it till you make it.’A quote which not only relates to your confidence and attitude, but also your smile. If you fake a smile, it tricks your brain to release serotonin and actually makes you happier. So smile more, smile at strangers, smile at your partner; trust me, it will change your feelings too. You’ll start to feel more positive as more people smile at you. Has anyone just randomly smiled at you, someone you don’t know? How did that make you feel? Happy? Positive? Imagine what your smile can do to others.
A smile is a powerful weapon, guys.
Accepting the way you are is a lot easier said than done. Take time to remember all of the positive things in your life; what are you good at? Are you organised, driven, creative, a good listener? These are all positives about yourself that you probably forget about. Even something little; make a great cuppa? Pop it on a positive, reward yourself (perhaps with one of those cup of teas and a biscuit). Focus on your positives and you’ll soon feel yourself cheer up. This does take practice. You don’t pick up a guitar and know how to play it, you need to learn.