Last year was hard on everyone and we had our fair share of ups and downs in 2022. 2021 certainly taught us to pay attention to our mental well-being and make small efforts to stay on track. To raise awareness about mental health and mobilise efforts to support those experiencing mental health issues, World Mental Health Day is celebrated on October 10. This year the theme is “Make mental health for all a global priority”.
With all this talk about mental health, what is mental health, and why is it important to look into it?
Quite simply, mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables one to cope with the stresses of life, allows individuals to make decisions, build relationships and shape the world we live in. Since our mental hygiene directly impacts our lives, good mental well-being ripples into everything we think, do or say. Good mental health waterfalls into reduced anxiety, improved mood, clearer thoughts, improved relationships, better relationship with self and so much more.
So what can you do to ensure your mental hygiene is maintained? Here are our best suggestions to help to kick-start and improve your mental health journey.
Be aware of when you have to take it easy
At times it can feel like there is a lot to take on. It is in times like these you should be more compassionate with yourself. Some easily accessible strategies can be to set a timer to do something for just 5 minutes, order-in or buy a prepackaged meal, take a few minutes for just yourself without any distraction or try meditation. Try these meditation techniques to see what works for you.
Make time for rest
One of the primary ways to get rest is to pay attention to your sleep schedule. Sleep has an essential role in mental health. This not only means hours spent sleeping but also the quality of the rest; disrupted sleep can adversely affect your well-being. Avoid consuming caffeine in the latter half of the day, go to sleep and wake up at the same time, and make your bedroom a quiet and relaxing space for restful sleep. Spend time walking in the morning sunlight to improve your circadian rhythm (your 24-hour internal clock) and sleep quality.
Eat nutrient-rich food
Foods like caffeine, refined carbs and added sugars may worsen anxiety symptoms. Try to limit these and expand your current diet to include foods packed with mood-boosting nutrients like berries, whole grains, fatty fish like salmon, dark chocolate, and nuts and seeds.
Move your body on your own terms
It is already well-known that exercising helps to boost happy endorphins but the choice of movement can be on your terms. It doesn’t have to mean going to the gym, it can also be dancing in your living room, running or walking outside, stretching or yoga, gardening, swimming, or seated exercises. The point is to move in the way that makes you happy.
Explore or try something new
We humans subconsciously don’t enjoy change but that can result in us doing the same thing over and over again. This can make one feel stuck. Trying something new that challenges you and that can help you discover new skills, jump into new experiences, and boost your well-being. This can boost confidence and encourage you to push further with your personal growth.
Seek medical help if the situation progresses
If the previous suggestions and recommendations do not bring comfort, speak to a professional to aid your journey. The Ministry of Community Development in UAE has set up a Mental Support Line where you can seek assistance and receive essential mental support.
Mental wellness is a journey. Like any journey, there will be hurdles and ups and downs. This is part of a process and can feel daunting at first but it is important to persevere, take it one step at a time, and explore the discomfort to grow and flourish.
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