Mental health is an important topic when it comes to Save Ourselves. I've always advocated mental health awareness and will continue to do so through my content.
There are a lot of things, a lot of small topics that branch out from the main topic of mental health. In this blogpost, I want to talk about some simple steps we can take in our day to day lives. These are tried, tested and recommended by me. I hope these help.
Keep a journal A journal is like a safe space for all of your thoughts. No judgements and no inhibitions. You can write down your thoughts, feelings, concerns as frankly as you want, however many times you want.
Maintain a mood tracker Keeping a mood tracker is like having a record of all of your days in terms of how you felt. It's useful to look back on because you can identify if there are any repetitive patterns or if certain external factors are governing how you feel. For example, I've noticed a similar pattern in my moods according to my cycle. And identifying these patterns helps me make sense of my feelings better and to be prepared for the next time this happens.
Introduce routines in your life Routines are the building blocks of your day. It's nice to rely on these repetitive actions that you do each and every day. With time, they become automated and therefore you can rely on your routines to get things done no matter how you feel. And the best part is, you end up feeling good after you've gone through your routine even though you may have started our feeling low.
Smile for 2 mins after you wake up What?! YES! I know it sounds a little silly, but I saw this in a movie once ( I don't remember which one but it had Jennifer Aniston and the guy is some kind of life coach? Help me out if you know!) and it stuck with me eversince. I have combined this with my meditation. I smile for 2 mins every morning and it basically works in the same way as 'fake it till you make it'. Trust me, it lifts up your mood. Try it out!
Incorporate nature in your daily routine We are a part of nature and it makes sense to include that as much as we can. I just feel better when I'm surrounded by a few elements from nature. Do you feel the same way? Whether it's sitting in a balcony, going on a trail, putting up a few plants in your house- whatever level you want to be with nature, it's fine. Just make sure, you get a little dose everyday.
Meditate/ sit in silence for a few minutes everyday. Silence is golden. I have come to believe that in quarantine. I appreciate doing things by myself in silence so much more now. I've been trying to meditate every morning as a part of my morning routine and even if it is only for a couple of minutes, it calms me down and lets me start my day on a slower, peaceful note.
Avoid using your phone in the first and last half hour of your day. It's not easy, I don't do this everyday. But I try. It's easier for me to do this in the morning than at night. But I've designed my routine to let me do this as often as possible. Using your phone the moment you wake up does not allow you to start youor day on your own terms. And at night, it just becomes a part of your last thoughts. That's not a great picture for me, personally.
Create a counter-reaction for your everyday anxiety/ stress. This helps so much. The way we have a cure or a medicine to treat whenever something happens to us physically, it's important to create these counter-reactions for the everyday stress. Something that will allow you to blow off some steam. It can be anything you want. Personally, working out has become that cure for me, for now.
Practice gratitude. Gratitude lets us live our lives in a more humble and optimistic way. Acknowleding all that we have in life and being thankful for it daily can have a long-term effct on your outlook towards life.
Move your body for atleast 10 mins everyday. The mind and the body have a very strong connection which needs to be acknowledged. Some sort of physical activity everyday is an active way of taking care of your body and in turn, your mind.
Listen to peaceful music. Ever since I got into lo-fi, there's been no turning back for me. Listening to peaceful music during the day or just before sleeping can calm you down and put you in a much better mood. Music impacts the way we feel greatly, so why not use it to our benefit? Let me know if you'd like to know about how I listen to music for a better work vibe and what kind of music I'm into.
Avoid violent content as much as possible. I am not a big fan any way, but this can be especially harmful for us if we're not in a great place mentally and just before going to bed. So it can be a good idea to carefully choose what we consume.
Consume social media positively. It makes sense to make this place, that we visit so often , a positive and an uplifting one. I have a a couple of blogs and videos about this, I'll leave them here if you're interested: How to be a positive person on the internet 11 ways to become a positive person on social media 5 ways to use social media during social distancing
Relax for a few minutes after work everyday. We are in such a hurry to run from one task to the other and reach the end of the day to FINALLY be able to relax. But why not take a breather in between? Relaxing for a few minutes after a big chunk of work can help you unwind and mentally and physically refresh you for the next task. That will lower the chances of a burn-out.
Speak to yourself kindly atleast once everyday. Our internal dialogue is a result of the way we see ourselves. And if you're someone who's a little low on self-acceptance or self-love right now, this can be a great way to help. By being more kind and patient with ourself, we allow us to be. And we learn to accept and appreciate who we really are.
Go to bed on a peaceful note. The way we go to sleep not only affects our sleep quality, but it can also carry on to the next day. Going to bed with disturbed thoughts and unresolves issues can cause poor sleep and anxiety. A good way can be to have a self check in before bed, or to write your thoughts down.
Speak / spend time with family/ friends/ loved ones if you feel overwhelmed. Being surrounded by people who love and support is essential for our personal growth. Often when we're going through something, we tend to isolate or withdraw from people. But that does not help much. It's okay to seek company in times of turmoil and to vent to someone you trust.
Keep a list of activities you feel good after doing. Ironically, we run out of things to do when we need them the most! So let's do something good for our future selves by keeping this list ready. Here are a few things that make me feel better. Feel free to use this list!
Do nothing for atleast 5 mins everyday. 'The art of doing nothing' is not as simple as it sounds. Being alone with our own self and our thoughts can seem a little weird if you're not used to doing that. Doing nothing allows us to be familiar with ourselves and helps us unwind. With nothing on our mind, and nothing to do, we can just BE. And that's a great thing to be.
Start becoming more aware of your thoughts. This one takes practice and a little effort. But once we get the hang of it, it can make us feel so empowered. We need to know that we have the ability to choose which thoughts we can entertain. Every thought we have isn't necessarily true and it can be a good idea to filter our self-harming and unhelpful thoughts to make more room for better ones.
These are 20 simple things that you can slowly start to incorporate in your life. You don't need to start all 20 right away. Proceed slowly and steadily and let these be an ingrained, mindfully incorporated part of your lifestyle.
How we spend our day everyday has a compounding effect on our mental health. Being consistent about taking small steps enables us to take care of ourselves in that moment as well as buliding long lasting self-care habits for the long term.
Check out my videos on this topic here:
Watch the IGTV video here: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CBuu21YDemG/