8 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH WITHIN A WEEK
HOW’S YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?
I saw a post today that said the world is basically in “reset” mode. I’ve posted the image below and I encourage you to take a read! With all the negative energy right now surrounding us, it’s a wonder we start to lose our minds a little bit so any form of positivity is always welcome.
This leads me to my focus for today – sharing with you my list to focus on when it comes to looking after your mental health. Some of you may have read these before, but I hope it serves as a gentle reminder that our mental health is and SHOULD BE our top priority. Working on some, if not ALL, of these things will ensure you are at the top of your game – COVID or no COVID.
Before I go on, remember to strive for PROGRESS and not perfection. I love the quote “I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.” It implies that steps toward the right direction, no matter how small, will still get you closer than no effort at all. So give yourself a little grace and be proud of every positive choice you make towards your mental health!
Whether you are conscious of it or not, waking up and scrolling through thirty minutes of Instagram means you are allowing other people’s energy to affect you right from the get-go. You are absorbing various degrees of information (and lately, it’s mostly negative) before your feet have even hit the floor. If it’s not negative news about COVID, then it might be a photo of someone on a holiday and your subconscious is already in comparison mode. When you wake up in the morning, resist the urge to grab your phone (this will take practice if you’re not used to it!). Instead, get up, stretch, think one grateful thought, kiss your loved ones good morning and just spend some time OFF the web. Put your energy towards YOURSELF and your family & pets instead. I promise it’s a much nicer way to kickstart your day!
So we’ve talked about how to start your day, now let’s touch on how to end your day. Sleep plays a huge role when it comes to our ability to deal with everyday problems and life’s adversities. To give you an example, the other day I had TERRIBLE sleep. I think I got a total of two hours of shut-eye. The next day, my brain was super sluggish, I was snappy, my mood was low and I was extra hungry. My lack of sleep deeply affected not just my daily life, but also my work performance (which I value very highly!) Research shows that we should aim for 7-9 hours of good sleep each night. I know this is unrealistic for some, but sometimes adding in a short nap during the day also counts towards our sleep. So if you can, start prioritizing a good bedtime routine and/or naps and take note of how much more mental clarity and happiness you have during the day!
It goes without saying that current times are very strange. Living by “isolation” and “social distancing” rules, restrictions, guidelines. It’s more important now than ever to make an effort to keep connections and NURTURE your relationships. Just because physical contact has been taken away, it doesn’t have to mean we stop connecting! Talking regularly online or on the phone to friends and relatives can make or break when it comes to mental health for a lot of people. Here are some ideas of ways you can keep connecting and having fun, even through COVID:
- Find hobbies! If you have kids, involve them in some way! For example, if you love cooking, set up a little cooking/baking lesson and play in the kitchen. Take photos, make memories, laugh a lot!
- Find an online tribe you can chat to! This one’s easy for you Contessas! Contessa Online is now up and running and there’s no better way to work on your health and wellbeing whilst connecting to a group of likeminded, supportive women. It doesn’t just have to be this though! There’s plenty of online social groups you can find. Grab a friend and join one together and you never know – you might meet some amazing new friends!
- Start up private group chats with friends and families. You could base these off multiple things. For example: Mum groups, Wine and discuss the latest season of your fave show with your besties, chat with your coaches, book club…the list goes on.
Remember, “a problem shared is a problem halved”. Connect and REACH OUT. Talking, laughing, crying with others will help ease some mental burden you may be carrying.
You would have seen it everywhere by now – the messages of “slowing down”, “taking it all in”, “have gratitude”. But how well do you implement it in your day-to-day life? With more time on our hands, this is a great opportunity for us to try something new and just be more physically and mentally aware of things around us. Being “mindful” isn’t just about meditating. It’s heightening your sense of awareness, it’s less distractions, it’s being purposefully conscious. It’s like a breath of fresh air for your mind. Here are some ideas of how you can incorporate a little mindfulness in your day:
- Eat without distractions (mainly technology)
This one is a non-negotiable – and I’m not just saying that because I’m a coach! Whatever “active” means for you – do that. It could be joining online classes, stretching your body and moving through a Yoga flow, it could be walking/running with your dog, it could be doing cartwheels at the park with your kids… whatever it is, DO IT. One of my member check-ins this week mentioned that with adjusting to her new “home schedule”, she missed a few training sessions and said she felt a massive shift not just physically, but also mentally. Set a new goal! Handstand holds, push-ups, work on your double unders. Moving your body is so much more important than just physical reasons. Do it for the other million health benefits because YOU ARE WORTH IT. Combine this with making an effort to eat well and you’re on your way to a much happier state of being. “Eating well” doesn’t just mean “eat clean”. By this, I mean eat in abundance of beautiful fruits and vegetables, try one new recipe a week to keep your taste buds excited, book in a nutrition consult (hello, Candice and Riz!) or watch “Join in with J” sessions on Contessa online if you need a bit of kitchen inspo!
In the past two weeks, I’ve realized just how much I need organization, structure and consistent habits. Now that I am working and training from home, my “home” schedule has been totally thrown off… along with my mental state. Below are some ways you can start organizing your life at home too (whether this is temporary for you or not!):
- Physical organization: Go through your house and declutter! How good does a clean house feel! Put on your favourite playlist and divide your belongings into Keep, Donate, Throw, Maybe piles and sort, sort, sort! You’ll be amazed at how much clearer your mind will feel when it’s all done.
- Create a timetable: I sat down yesterday and created a detailed daily timetable of my tasks, breaks and training times. Yours will look completely different but I encourage you to take some time to do this (even if it’s just a simple one!) because not only will it save SO much time and stress daily, but it will also help ease your mind knowing you have all the things you need to do written down on paper, instead of forever creating cluttered mental lists.
I know it can be a pretty crazy time right now but I hope some of the tips and steps above have helped inspire you to make your mental health a priority. These things you can start now and carry on with you for the next six months and beyond, depending on your situation! “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Adapt and grow! You have everything you need right now to become your best self and that all starts in your head.
Coach J xx