Practical ways to prioritise your mental health that will change your quality of life
As we near the end of the year, you may be feeling run down and burnt out. It’s important to take care of your mental health during this time – and always.
Ever heard the saying “health is wealth”? Possibly one of the most accurate statements out there. And of course, your mental health forms part of your overall health. How much have you been prioritising your mental health?
As the year draws to a close, exhaustion and burnout come creeping in. Make sure you’re focusing on your mental health now, and always. If you feel like you do prioritise your mental health but then can’t actually think of how or you feel like you just don’t have the time to focus on your mental health, keep reading.
There are simple and practical ways to prioritise your mental health that will change your quality of life without taking too much thought or time.
The importance of mental health
When we think about our health, we usually think about our physical health and what we should do to improve it. This is most likely because you see and feel when your physical health isn’t where it should be. And others can see any changes in your physical health and make comments about it.
Your mental health is less noticeable to you and those around you. It’s easy to make excuses about why you feel a certain way than to face it straight on.
Mental health is vital as it impacts every area of your life. The importance of good mental health ripples into everything you do, think or say.
Some benefits of taking care of your mental health can include:
- Improved mood
- Reduced levels of anxiety
- An enhanced sense of inner peace
- Ability to think more clearly
- Improved relationships
- Increased self-esteem
Simple ways to prioritise your mental health
We promised some pretty spectacular and easy ways to prioritise your mental health and we promise, these won’t disappoint.
Prioritising your mental health doesn’t always mean taking days off of work or seeking therapy (although, these are some pretty great things to do when you need it). There are some things you can do every day that won’t impact your daily life but will have a massive impact on your mental health.
Often, prioritising your mental health can come in the form of a little self-care and doing things that put you first for a few minutes a day. Doing these things won’t magically improve your mental health but over time, you’ll start to notice the positive effects these new habits will have.
30-minutes of daily exercise
Just a disclaimer here: If you HATE exercise, and absolutely detest it, forcing yourself to do it every day is not going to help your mental health.
We get that exercise isn’t for everyone. But with that being said, we highly advise that you find some form of movement that you love be it dancing, walking, or stretching. There are ways to exercise other than going to the gym or running for 30 mins straight.
Find something you love and do it for 30 minutes a day. Physical exercise releases feel-good endorphins and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being.
If you struggle with anxiety, conscious breathing exercises are a must.
When you feel your anxiety levels begin to rise, take a step back and focus on your breathing. Close your eyes and think about how you are breathing without changing it. Then begin to take deep breaths noting how they feel as they enter and leave your body.
Alternate between shallow and deep breaths while consciously thinking about the air entering and leaving your body.
If you are unable to do this level of breath work then simply close your eyes and breathe in for 5 seconds and release for 5 seconds. Do this a few times and you take note of how it feels.
Feed your brain
What you eat influences your brain chemistry and your gut health. Recent studies have shown that your gut acts as a “second brain”. This means that your gut can trigger an emotional shift. The gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system that trigger mood changes and may contribute to mental health disorders.
Make sure you’re:
- Reducing foods that are processed or high in sugar
- Taking prebiotics and probiotics or eating more fermented foods
- Checking if you have food intolerances and removing them from your diet
- Eating more fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods
- Consuming a high-fibre diet
7- 8 hours of high-quality sleep
The length and quality of your sleep highly impact how your mind and body function. High-quality sleep enables better thinking, learning and memory.
Having a low quality of sleep can worsen mental health disorders including depression and anxiety.
Make sure you prioritise your sleep by:
- Having a consistent “bedtime”
- Not being on your mobile devices directly before you sleep
- Not watching TV directly before you sleep
Daily mindfulness or meditation and rest
Your mind is a powerful tool. Make sure you’re giving it the rest it deserves.
Practice mindfulness or meditation by:
- Finding a quiet place where you won’t be distracted or disturbed
- Starting with a 2-minute meditation and building up to 5, 10, or 20 minutes each time you do it
- Setting a time of day (morning or before bed) to meditate every day
- Trialling different meditation techniques to determine which style works best for you
Resting your mind gives you a break from the hustle and bustle of the world around you. It is important to “switch off” for a few minutes a day. But this doesn’t mean scrolling endlessly through Tik Toks or bingeing a series. You need to focus, be mindful and release your mind of any thoughts.
These are some simple and practical ways that you can put yourself first and prioritise your mental health.