Building Daily Health Habits That Can Better Your Mental Health
How we go about our days, our work life, our home life, rest and sleep can affect our mental health. If you feel as though you've been burning the candle at both ends and need to change up your routine for the better, here are some simple tips that can help you stay in good physical shape to think clearer and be happier.
Manage Your Workday Wisely
Most people spend a large portion of their time at work. And periods of stress and anxiety are common for a lot of workers. However, if it’s getting out of hand, and you realise your work stress is affecting other aspects of your life, you must make a change.
Often the problem is you aren’t moving enough. You will inevitably feel mentally squeezed in that stressful office for eight hours.
Fit physical fitness into your workday. Don’t just sit in your car or the breakroom at lunch. Get outside and take a walk. Being out in nature can bring you back to a more natural place where stress can melt away. Exercise can help with many mental needs, including PTSD, because the movement can improve your cognitive functions and provide the needed routine and structure.
Plus, you can burn calories and breathe fresh air, so you’ll return to work feeling refreshed.
It’s also important not to overburden yourself at work and stretch yourself too thin through constant multitasking. Don’t do too much. You’ll get stressed. Live in the present, take on one task at a time, and do it to perfection before you move on to something else.
What You Eat Can Affect Your Mental Health
If you sit at a desk all day and aren't mindful of what you eat, when and how long between meals, you may not get enough proper exercise or nutrition. You need to stay physically and mentally fit. Instead of staying in the breakroom at work or ordering in, pack a healthy lunch with fruit and food rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon with veggies and brown rice. This food is tasty and low in unhealthy fats, and the omega-3s fight depression and bipolar disorder.
We all know that fast food isn’t good for us, but it’s also associated with increased stress levels. When you eat burgers or high-sugar foods, it raises your cortisol levels, which may make you feel anxious. In addition to the chemical issue, there are also the negative feelings you have when you eat bad food when you know you shouldn’t.
Coworkers may have told you in the past that caffeine and sugar can cause anxiety, but when used in moderation, they will have little effect. However, if you drink too much caffeine, then there’s a good chance you could experience the feelings associated with anxiety, like jumpiness and shakiness.
They say four cups or less per day won’t cause an issue, but it’s wise to stick to moderation if you are anxious. Make sure for every cup of coffee, you are also drinking a glass of water.
Your Day Isn't Over When You Stop Working
When you finish your work day, try to be home (and present, without work distractions) by a similar time every day. If you prepare for a proper work/life balance you're more likely to achieve one. By arriving home (or if you work from home, logging off) early enough to relax, do something you enjoy, and get a restful night of sleep, you are setting yourself up for a better tomorrow.
Healthy hobbies are essential to your well-being, and they give you purpose. After work, try to play a sport, join a gym class or walk to your favourite soundtrack. Any activity that gets you up and moving, so you can clear your mind and stretch your body. If you have kids in the house, involve them in a game or walk to a local park or beach - get the whole family out and moving.
Look at the weeks ahead, when can you book an after-work massage, a movie with friends or special family dinner? By having events on the calendar you'll be happier to look forward to fun activities and feel less stuck in the 'same old' week. Connecting with people we enjoy spending time with also helps with stress levels and can boost your endorphins.
A Good Nighttime Routine Can Help
A final tip to managing stress and your mental health during the day; it actually starts the night before.
We all know the benefits of a good bedtime routine to ease nerves and prepare our body and mind for rest. Sleep deprivation is linked to poor mental health. If you're skipping a proper nighttime routine, you could toss and turn all night, becoming more irritable and anxious as the hours tick. So, before you get into bed to sleep, consider a warm bath or shower, at a consistent time, some reading or journaling or meditation.
Whatever you do, put the phone or tablet down (get your eyes away from all screens).
Sticking to the same routine at around the same time will get your body prepared for restful sleep. If you are still chasing the zzz's consider changing your environment. Is your room too hot or too cold, too much light or too noisy? These are all things you can easily change to help you get the rest you need.
These are the routines and habits that you can try to feel better physically and mentally every day. Little tweaks make all the difference.