Mental health is not a given in the hectic world we live in – especially these days, with COVID-19 in the mix. Job uncertainty, lack of human interaction, and pervading fear of the pandemic’s recurrence are only some of the many factors that can chip off chunks of our mental wellbeing. Still, there are quite a few things we can do to keep our psychological equilibrium in check and stay on the safe side of the mental health agenda. So, what are the things we can do to nurture our mind and drastically improve our mental health in times of global upheaval?
1. Focus on the Positives
When times are hard, it can be really difficult to find a silver lining in every single cloud – but it’s far from impossible. Invest active effort and try to take notice of the little things in your immediate environment during the day that you can be grateful for. Focusing on the good things that happen around you every day can help you restore faith in positives and preserve your mental equilibrium in the long run. So, what are the things that you can be grateful for today? Write them down and see just how lucky you actually are.
2. Break Some Sweat
Medical studies have shown that physical exercise can boost mood and help keep depression, anxiety and various psychological hitches at bay. Release of endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin which occurs during training has an invigorating effect on our overall mental wellbeing. For a neat side-effect, regular exercise is also good for your physique and long-term health. The takeaway? Sign up for the gym today and do yourself a triple favor by a single routine tweak.
3. Pedal through Nature
Did you know that cycling through nature can elevate your mood and help you regain – or retain – mental fortitude? Gliding through trees and across rough terrain on sturdy mountain bikes is a great exercise for both the body and the mind. Spending time in nature allows your brain to de-stress and reboot, while hard pedaling labor and conquest of challenging trails trigger release of happiness hormones in the brain. For added fun, a biking session will also physically remove you from the gloom of your everyday setting.
4. Omm Your Way to Bliss
Meditation and other New Age techniques have been around for a while, and for a good reason, too. According to some studies, not only does meditation alleviate anxiety and depression, but it also enhances processing of emotions which is essential to long-term mental wellbeing. If you’re a newbie, it may take you a while to get into the nirvana state of mind, but don’t give up. The outstanding effects which meditation has on your overall psychology are definitely worth the extra effort!
5. Open up to a Loved One
Sometimes, talking about everything we keep inside isn’t easy, but a heart-to-heart talk can go a long way in times of trouble and distress. Humans are social beings by nature and even though you may be a loner, you will still need some contact with others now and then – and especially at a time when everything you believed to be safe and stable starts to shake and collapse. A chat with a trustworthy person can ease mental load and restore a smile to your face and make you feel you are not completely alone.
6. Charity Goes a Long Way
In times when you might feel that you’re the most unfortunate of souls out there, remember that there are others who are in a much graver situation. If you can afford it, it might be helpful to muster the strength to do something for them. Charity and volunteer work are beneficial for both the givers and the ones on the receiving end. By volunteering in an animal shelter or soup kitchen or working with the homeless, you will do a lot of good for others and get a mood boost yourself – and maybe you’ll even find your purpose.
7. Adopt a Furry Friend
Loneliness can be a real bugger – all the more so in times when you feel less than. For a heart-warming and mind-soothing plot twist, why not get a pet? A human and a pet are a match made in heaven, especially in the times when either of them is hurting. These days, science is including pets in the mission to cure mental health – and the endeavor appears to be working like a charm. As a bonus, having a pet will also dial up your sense of purpose, so you may just give it a go – for your heart’s and mind’s sake.
8. Count Your Zzzs
Proper rest is one of the essential elements in the wellbeing puzzle – but it’s also one of the first to go to shambles when the pillars of our world start to shake. Do your mental health a favor and shape up your bedtime routine by ditching screens from your sleeping area and setting up a bedtime schedule. Aim for 6-8 hours of solid sleep per night and try to stay away from heavy, fat- or sugar-laden foods before bedtime as rich dinners have a detrimental effect on sleep quality.
9. Mind Your Plate
Be honest now: are you eating your way to lasting mental wellbeing? Many people feel down and out without knowing exactly why, and they are all too quick to dismiss the significance of their diet for their psychological state. If you want to stay fit as a fiddle both physically and mentally, watching your diet is a must. To secure lasting mental health, drop fast food from the menu and set aside time each day to prepare your own meals. Bonus point: eating healthy, energy-boosting foods is both delicious and it costs less, too.
10. Take a Break
When everything begins to slide into a rut, a short break from the norm may be everything you need to stay on top of your mental shape. A weekend trip will infuse your life with vigor and excitement, and it will also allow you to take your mind off everyday stress and focus on other, more inspiring things in life. To max out on stimulation, you can choose an adrenaline holiday or day trip with thrill-packed activities such as bungee jumping or rafting. Now, that’s an outing you’ll never forget!
Preserving mental health in times when the world seems to be losing it is not always easy, but it is nonetheless crucial. As the old adage goes, the choices we make define our destiny, and it is up to you to call your shots wisely. Use the tips above to shape your daily routine with your long-term psychological wellbeing in mind. Sleep well, eat clean, exercise regularly, consider getting a pet, do some charity work, allow yourself a break from the norm when you feel like it, and your mind will always be in a good place. You’re welcome!