The Mind Talk

The Mindtalk
Wellness Tips for Mental Health

When Covid insidiously took over the world, it highlighted the importance of maintaining healthy habits to maintain and sustain physical and mental health. During this difficult period, people responded to the challenges in various ways, including experiencing feelings of deep depression and grappling with different anxiety and mental challenges. Some found solace and support in practices like meditation (breath work), yoga, and cognitive behavioral therapy, among others, to support their wellbeing. In a society that often valued productivity over well-being, people all over the world woke up to the importance of prioritizing mental health.

Everyone’s path is unique – there is no one-size-fits-all approach to maintaining and sustaining mental wellbeing. Here are some of many proven wellness tips for mental health that helped people through the pandemic; now, as we move forward, you may wish to incorporate some or all of these into your daily life:

  • Fill your Cup: The adage “Fill your own cup first before you can fill others” holds true. Too often, many of us prioritize families, friends, co-workers, peers and more at the expense of our personal health and wellbeing. But, contrary to what you or others may think, self-care isn’t selfish; it’s essential. Not only is self-care critical for your own mental health, but it’s necessary if you want to continue to contribute positively to your community. Prioritizing your own needs and engaging in activities that revitalize your soul and fill your cells with joy is important for your mental health.

 

  • Engage in Physical Activity: Engaging in a consistent exercise routine has been linked to improved mental health. Not only does exercise release endorphins and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, but it also enhances cognitive function and reduces the risk of chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes (Anderson & Shivakukar, 2013). Activities like walking, jogging or yoga all focus on increasing your intake of oxygen through the breath which in turn, contributes to a healthier and positive mindset.

 

  • Practice Mindfulness and Meditation: Being mindful of the present moment and focusing on one’s breath has been linked to lower stress levels (Kriakous, 2021); this in turn can decrease the risk of developing anxiety, depression, and other stress-related disorders. Additionally, mindfulness can improve your attention, focus and emotional regulation, all of which are crucial for maintaining healthy and fruitful relationships. Allocating dedicated time each day to mindfulness exercises can enhance your self-awareness and help foster a sense of calm and balance.
Wellness Tips
  • Prioritize Quality Sleep: It cannot be emphasized enough how important a consistent, high-quality sleep routine is to mental health. Evidence suggests inadequate sleep can lead to increased stress levels, mood disturbances, and impaired cognitive function (Herstenstein, 2019). While physical, mental, and emotional conditions are causes of insomnia, lifestyle habits like screen usage at night and alcohol consumption can play a significant role too. Prioritizing a healthy and consistent sleep routine, practicing good sleep hygiene, and identifying any underlying causes of sleep issues – which may involve the support of a sleep expert, is important to protect your mental health.

 

  • Cultivate Relationships: Humans are born to nurture and be nurtured by one another; we have been a part of a community since the beginning of time. Investing effort into maintaining and cultivating healthy social connections in our lives is crucial for our mental well-being. Meaningful relationships can provide emotional support while reducing feelings of loneliness, which can affect our overall life satisfaction with our lives. However, maintaining relationships when your mental health is compromised can be challenging. Connecting with like-minded individuals through activities like team sports or other passions, for example, can help to reduce anxiety and depression.

 

With the pandemic behind us, let us reflect on the lessons learned during those challenging years. Investing in your mental health is a lifelong journey; may these wellness tips for mental health help you along the way in both good and uncertain times.

References

Anderson, E., & Shivakumar, G. (2013). Effects of exercise and physical activity on anxiety. Frontiers in Psychiatry4, 27. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00027

Hertenstein, E., Feige, B., Gmeiner, T., Kienzler, C., Spiegelhalder, K., Johann, A., Jansson-Fröjmark, M., Palagini, L., Rücker, G., Riemann, D., & Baglioni, C. (2019). Insomnia as a predictor of mental disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews43, 96–105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2018.10.006

Kriakous, S. A., Elliott, K. A., Lamers, C., & Owen, R. (2021). The Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on the Psychological Functioning of Healthcare Professionals: a Systematic Review. Mindfulness12(1), 1–28. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01500-9

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