Little Things To Boost Your Mental Health
Going through the motions of doing routine daily tasks can sometimes put us in a slump, mentally and physically. Help boost your mental health throughout your day with these 13 tips:
Drink a tall glass of water first thing in the morning. Digestive health has a huge effect on mental health. A tall glass of water first thing in the morning is a great way to start your day off on the right foot.
Practice calmness and non-reactivity. Commuting can be a great opportunity to practice mental calmness and non-reactivity. Try and change the way you perceive and react to stressors. Try taking a deep breath and finding humor in stressful situations; tread peacefully on the earth.
Reconsider that second cup of coffee. Caffeine is an anxiogenic drug, meaning it contributes to anxiety. Recognize the role caffeine plays in anxiety, insomnia, depression, or other health issues you may deal with.
Protect morning hours for deep work. Be mindful to set apart a chunk of hours for intentional deep work time. Flow state has been observed to be more likely to occur in the morning hours, so consider turning off notifications and direct your attention and energy to the important work you want to accomplish.
Refuel with nutrient-dense food. If you want to set yourself up for optimal mental health, reach for real food. Try to avoid indulging in what’s cheap, convenient, and addictive. Consider meal prepping on the weekend when you may have extra time so you can bring real food options to work for lunch.
Take better breaks. If you reach a slump during your work day, it can be hard to focus on mentally demanding work. If allowed, take a high-quality break. Go on a walk outside of the building to get some fresh air and sunshine, do a breathing exercise, meditate, take a nap, or go have a chat with a friendly co-worker.
Rethink your commute. Is it an option for you to walk or bike home from work? Even if you work far from home, would a 60 or 90-minute walk home be doable? It may seem crazy, but think about combining your commute and exercise into one pleasant walk or bike-ride that can be accompanied by good music or a podcast.
Exercise – even if it’s just for 5 minutes. It can feel like a total hassle to go to the gym after a long day at the office. Do something that gets your blood flowing and has you up and moving, even if it’s only for 5 minutes. The best kind of exercise is the kind you actually do- this approach is realistic and sustainable.
Skip the TV (on occasion). Many people default to watching TV in the evening. Take at least a few nights off per week to do something better with your time: for example, read a book, call a friend, exercise, have a picnic with your partner or roommate, etc. Bring consciousness to how you use your time and do the activities that actually enrich your life.
Give yourself a bedtime and stick to it. Have a time to shut down electronics. Remember to tell your brain it’s nighttime; avoid blue-spectrum light after sunset. Screens of every nature, from your phone or laptop to watching TV in bed, these color wavelengths are strong disruptors of circadian rhythms. It also helps your mind unwind before bedtime, which sets you up for an easier time falling asleep.
Keep your phone out of your bedroom. Keeping your phone on the bedside table makes it be the last thing you look at before sleep and the first thing you look at when you wake up. This sets the wrong tone for the day, and night. Set up your charger outside the bedroom, and adjust your settings so you can still hear emergency calls.
Write down your worries. Studies show that writing down what’s on your mind right before bed with a pencil and paper can help you sleep. Writing down the things you need to remember can help your mind relax; if you find you’re lying in bed keeping track of the ten things on your to-do list tomorrow, take a moment to scribble them down on paper.
Read a physical book in bed. We’ve all gotten used to watching a TV show or scrolling on a phone while trying to go to bed, however reading a paper book in bed by the light of a dim lamp is a great way to put your brain in a sleep-inducing trance state. It’s also a good practice to enrich your inner life.