Hello friends! Today I am doing something different which is letting someone else talk! I have my first ever guest post for you guys today from a very lovely fellow blogger whom I met in a Facebook Group I am in. Her name is Amy and she runs her blog Amy’s Writing Desk which is all about mental health. This is a topic I have been wanting to share some information on for awhile now, but I still did not feel like I was as knowledgeable on this topic as I could be to be able to write the most informative piece for you guys, so I decided to let her have the mic on this! Without further ado here are four tips Amy has to share on “Making The Most Out Of Your Mental Health”.
Hi there! I’m Amy and I run Amy’s Writing Desk, a blog dedicated to mental health. I have been invited to share with you some tips on maintaining your mental health and that’s what I’m going to do.
In today’s chaotic world there is no end to the daily pressure we feel in our lives. From social media to rocky political climates, it can all take a toll on our mindset. That goes double if you have a mental illness such as depression, Schizophrenia, etc.
There are some ways to protect yourself from a nosedive or ways to lift yourself up when in one.
Tip 1. Get Up, Get Dressed and Go Out.
It’s easy to lay in bed all day and some of us want to do that, but there comes a point when spending all day inside, under the covers, becomes unhealthy. The monotony of shying away when we’re feeling down or starting to feel down can be augmented when we do this and that’s because the brain has nothing to focus on. The brain, then, will focus on only what it can and that will be on how you’re feeling.
Our bodies require constant stimulation and not just of the sensory kind (sound, touch, smell, taste). A deficiency in Vitamin D can cause us to become moody, so it’s important to get out in the sun a fair bit. People who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (a seasonal depression) do so because of the drop in temperature and light. People without SAD can experience a similar drop in their mood without the prolonged experience. We all need a certain amount of sun on our skin for our Vitamin D to be maintained and when we have good Vitamin D, it lessens the chance of being moody.
For that, we need to go outside, but what to do if you don’t really want to go outside?
There are days when some of us just can’t muster up the energy or the desire to go out, especially when we don’t have a reason to. There’s a way around that. Put on your most comfortable clothes – that favourite sweater and those cool jeans – and walk around the block. Don’t worry about what other people will think. It’s about making yourself feel good. This is about you. About feeling the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. Your mood will automatically lift once you get outside into clean air, especially if you’ve been inside for more than three days on the go. You’ve now found the reason to go out. Just for you.
Once you’re outside, focus on the world and not other people. See if you can make shapes out of the clouds, predict what the next stage of weather will be judging by their formation. Go to that beauty spot on the edge of town, just for the sake of seeing its beauty. Do things that will lift you up.
Tip 2. Avoid Fast Food
When we’re tired, we often go for the most convenient method of feeding ourselves and that’s usually takeout or a snack, but hold on. It is scientifically proven that food containing more than three chemicals is bad for your mental health. These chemicals end up in your bloodstream and interact with your body. Thus, they influence the way your body behaves and this influence impacts your mental health.
Food with chemicals in them are called processed foods, so even if it says organic or low fat/sugar on the label but have chemicals in the ingredient list, they’re just as bad as highly saturated or sugary foods. Chemicals, unbeknown to a lot of people, are used to replace more healthy nutrients that are already lacking in processed foods. Additionally, they are also used to preserve, meaning they have longer shelf life.
To maintain good mental health it’s best to eat healthy. Try to incorporate some leafy greens, red meats and plenty of fish into your diet as they possess nutrients our bodies need to perform to its fullest. Minerals such as iron (found in red meat and some vegetables) gives us our energy and when our iron levels become deficient, we tend to feel quite tired.
Processed foods don’t provide the full extent of the nutrients our bodies require. If you’re down in the dumps, consider what you’ve been eating and if you have been eating healthy, change up your food options as you could be missing out on a vital nutrients in your diet.
Tip 3. Take A Break From Social Media
Everything is on social media these days. Celebrities, politics, etc, etc, etc., and while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, too much of it can negatively impact our mental health. This is because topics on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter sometimes become quite heated, thus raising stress levels. Unfortunately, this is quite a common occurrence. When someone doesn’t agree with something we believe or like, we tend to verbalise our defence as it is a natural response to defend ourselves. Continued stress is emotionally taxing and results in our stress receptors becoming overworked, resulting in low to moderate depression. In extreme cases, it can lead to complete burnout and full blown depression.
Take time away from social media. Better still, try to spend under two hours on it per day. Seeing other peoples gym selfies or holiday pictures can create anxiety in ourselves because it makes us feel flawed, as if we should be doing the same. There is no-one around to remind us that is not the case.
Tip 4. Love Yourself
The best thing to do to avoid becoming depressed – and when depressed – is to show yourself some love. In today’s ubersocial world, we tend to forget that loving ourselves is a key component of our mental wellbeing. We put others and the world first, focusing on how we dress, speak and act. Our efforts are focused on the external world rather than on our internal one, and like social media, too much of one thing and not the other leads to negative effects.
Take time out for you when you know you need it. It’s important that you do. Concentrating on your job, marriage, etc., in an endless stream will wear you down eventually and these things will suffer once you start to slip into depression. You can’t look after others if you can’t look after yourself.
One favourite lifestyle hack that quickly boosts mental wellbeing is getting into a hot, soapy bath with a strong smelling floral or fruity scent. This actually relates back to mind stimulation. Hot baths and strong scents tell your mind it is time to relax and as a consequence, your body relaxes too. Your muscles (which grow taut when stressed or overworked) will release the tension they have been holding and your mind follows. Make these baths special. Spend at least an hour or two lounging, with your head tilted back and your eyes closed. Focus on the smell and the warmth caressing your body. Once you get out, put on a really comfy dressing gown with the comfiest pair of pajamas you own. When you wake up in the morning, you will feel so much better.
I hope these tips help you get the most out of your mental health. Depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses are hard conditions to cope with and can negatively impact just about every waking experience in life if not kept in check. For more information on mental health, please feel free to visit my blog
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Thank you so much Amy for these wonderful tips! I hope these tips can help you guys, not matter what area of your mental health you need focus on. I especially loved when Amy said “You can’t look after others if you can’t look after yourself”, this is something I have always strongly believed in and as a businesswoman I have found that I tend to neglect myself so I will definitely be trying my best to focus on these things from now on.
Do you have any other tips for keeping up your mental health? I would love to hear from you in the comments and don’t forget to checkout Amy’s blog for more information and tips on mental health!
*All images are provided by Unsplash