Maintaining your mental health
Understanding the importance of healthy lifestyle habits is one thing; practising good self-care every day is another. It’s human nature that people who lead busy lives often defer their day-to-day health needs in favour of professional responsibilities and doing whatever it takes to get ahead in one’s career. That could mean sacrificing a full night’s sleep, ignoring exercise, or opting for unhealthy food because it’s convenient, all of which are potentially dangerous lifestyle choices. There’s a very close connection between your mental health and how well you care for your body, so give some consideration to the following self-care tips.
Make time for exercise
Even a few minutes of exercise each day can make a difference in your mental state. Exercising engages your metabolism and activates the hormones (i.e., serotonin) that make you feel good. Working out also leaves you feeling alert and motivated to confront the day’s challenges. If you’re busy, it’s not necessary to get to the gym every single day. It’s possible to get the exercise you need with relatively simple activities and equipment that can easily be worked into your daily routine, even at home.
Making time for a walk at lunch every day is one excellent option. Another is to close your office door and jump up and down for three minutes straight, rest, and repeat the same exercise for another three minutes for a good, impromptu cardio workout. However, you choose to exercise, opt for an activity you enjoy and which you’re likely to keep doing.
Medical science has shown that there’s a close tie between gut health and mental health. Furthermore, gut health is connected to weight management, so keeping your gut in tip-top shape is crucial to staying mentally alert and physically robust. This can be accomplished by eliminating foods that your body is sensitive to (such as junk food), as well as eating more foods that provide health benefits.
Reduce financial stress
If you’re having trouble keeping up with your bills, you may be dealing with significant stress. Look for ways you can save while still maintaining your self-care routine. For example, instead of heading to the spa, you can create an at-home spa experience with some hot towels, soothing music, candles, and DIY facemask. You can also save by moving your yoga practice out of the studio and into your home.
Find time to unwind
Relaxation time is too often a casualty of a busy, hectic schedule, and that’s bad news in the long run. Being under stress without some form of relief each day takes a residual toll on your body. Taking time to unwind is essential for keeping stress under control no matter how you choose to do it. For some, it might be spending an hour meditating with soft music in the background or doing deep-breathing exercises. For others, relaxation could mean playing a favourite board game with the kids or spending time puttering around in the garden. The important thing is that it reduces your blood pressure and heart rate, and helps prevent obesity and diabetes. It also supports a healthy mental outlook.
Whichever way you choose to relax, your home needs to be a place where you feel positive and comfortable, and this may not be the case if you have loads of clutter lying around and not enough natural light. By decluttering, cleaning your windows, and allowing natural light into your home, you can create a more vibrant environment.
Get your sleep
Sleep is another aspect of your health that impacts all other areas. It’s especially important for good mental health because 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night has a direct effect on your emotional state, mental acuity, decision-making capacity, and your ability to interact positively with others during the day, a key point when you consider how important it is to maintain positive, patient relationships with colleagues.
The steps you take (or don’t take) to maintain your physical and emotional health play a central role in your mental condition. This year, make a point of adopting self-care techniques that minimize the impact of stress by making time for relaxation and exercise and emphasize health fundamentals such as sleep and diet.
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