We all have mental battles at some point of our lives, if you don’t think you or you ever will then please ignore this blog and carry on with your day. I thought given the current global crisis that has had an impact on ALL our lives, that it was important to address the impact it is making on our mental health and ways we can take care of ourselves during this time.

Personally, I have faced many seasons of my life so far where my mental health has suffered. From being a young mum and wife to coping with being a stay at home mum and not contributing financially to my family and then to moving overseas to a developing country with no real plan or support network. I don’t claim to be an expert in the field of mental health, but I have had my fair share of challenges of my own throughout my life and these are just a few habits I have adapted to help me cope and find balance in the crazy overwhelming journey of life we all travel. The number one thing to remember in this crazy time is, that this too shall pass & when it does you will come out of it a little stronger, a littler wiser & with a sense of achievement that you endured the storm.

START A GRATITUDE JOURNAL By practicing gratitude, we learn to acknowledge the goodness in our lives. Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. It helps us feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve our health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

What should you write in a Gratitude Journal? - Count your blessings. Pick a time daily to sit down and reflect on what went right that day no matter how insignificant it may seem or what you are grateful for in your life. - Write a Thank You note to someone, be it a family member or friend. Aim for a note a month. - Reflect. How is where you are in life today different than a year ago–and what positive changes are you thankful for? - Relive a Memory. When was the last time you laughed uncontrollably—write about how you felt. LEARN TO SAY NO

Humans are social animals who thrive on reciprocity. It’s in our nature to be socially obliging, and the word no feels like a confrontation that threatens a potential bond. But when we dole out an easy yes instead of a difficult no, we tend to over commit our time, energy and finances.

“The ability to communicate ‘no’ really reflects that you are in the driver’s seat of your own life,” said Vanessa M. Patrick, an associate professor of marketing at the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. “It gives you a sense of empowerment.” So, if you feel overwhelmed, no is a small word that can remind you how much control you have over your destiny. For most of us, that means living a happier and less stressful life, which is easier to do from the driver’s seat. SET SMALL ATTAINABLE GOALS & REWARD YOURSELF FOR THE LITTLE VICTORIES. All too often we write these huge goals for the next decade of our lives and while we all have good intentions, for those of us that suffer from anxiety when it comes time to actually implementing the steps to achieve these goals we often find ourselves overwhelmed just at the thought. So inevitably we end up failing to achieve the goals we set ourselves leaving us with a negative experience. By setting ourselves smaller attainable goals AND rewarding ourselves when we achieve these goals, it not only encourages us to eventually work our way up to setting bigger goals for ourselves but also the reward invokes a positive experience instead of a negative one.

EXERCISE Exercise has many benefits, not only for your physical health but also your mental health. In your brain, exercise stimulates chemicals that improve your mood and the parts of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. It can also get you out in the world, help to reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation, and put you in touch with other people. Make sure you pencil in 30 to move your body because it not only helps your body but your mind as well. EAT A BALANCED & HEALTHY DIET There is a strong link between the food we eat and how we feel, therefore changing the food you put into your body is key to improving your mental health. Research shows us that a better-quality diet is consistently associated with reduced depression risk, while unhealthy dietary patterns – higher in processed foods – are associated with increased depression and often anxiety. In short keep the fruit & veg intake high and the processed foods to an occasional indulgence. GET A HOBBY Many hobbies are inherently creative. Whether you’re painting, woodworking, or baking muffins, you’re not only producing something that never existed before, you’re engaging the creative network of your brain. While engaged in a creative hobby, you may also find yourself in a mental state known as “flow” or as its better known as getting “in the zone.” It occurs when you’re engaged in an activity to the point of almost meditative focus. Getting into this focused state promotes mindfulness, known for its positive effects on stress and anxiety. Creative hobbies are also the perfect antidote to high-stress jobs, turning to something non-work-related allows us to “hit the reset button in the brain, replenishing neuro chemicals that have been depleted by a few hours of high-stress work.

LISTEN TO MUSIC Music is not only a source of pleasure and contentment, but there are many other psychological benefits to it as well. The notion that music can influence your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours probably do not come as much of a surprise. If you've ever felt pumped up while listening to your favourite fast-paced rock anthem or been moved to tears by a tender live performance, then you easily understand the power of music to impact moods and even inspire action. The psychological effects of music can be powerful and wide-ranging. Music therapy is an intervention sometimes utilized to promote emotional health, help patients cope with stress, and boost psychological well-being. So, when you are feeling blue, turn on some feel-good tunes to make you feel better. The above tips are just some of my rituals I practise, and they may or may not work for you but it’s certainly worth a try. I also want to add that if you start to feel overwhelmed or anxious in anyway, reach out to someone to talk about how you are feeling, a good vent can sometimes help a lot. I read a great post on my feed today which got me thinking and this post is my interpretation of its meaning. I’ll let you to interpret what it means to you.


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