We live in difficult times. As much as we want to be happy, everyday stress gets the better of us, leaving us exhausted and disconnected with our inner self. Experts however say it’s important to find a meaning to your life, pamper yourself and strike a work-life balance, lest you turn victim to mental health disorders.
The mind-body connection is inevitable – a healthy body leads to a healthy mind and vice versa. Here are some tips that will help you keep mentally fit and strong.
1. Connect with others: Do you always find yourself following a routine and seldom get time to interact with people? Experts say you must break the habit, like right now. Develop and maintain strong relationships with people around you who will support and enrich your life. The quality of our personal relationships has a great effect on our wellbeing. Putting time and effort into building strong relationships can bring great rewards.
2. Set aside me time: It is important to enjoy life, rather than just finishing tasks. Set aside time for activities, hobbies and projects you enjoy. Do a crossword, take a walk in your local park, read a book, sew a quilt, draw pictures with your kids, play with your pets.
3. Pamper yourself: Keep fit and eat well to maintain a healthy body. Physical and mental health is linked and it’s easier to feel good about life if your body feels good. You don’t have to go to the gym to exercise – gardening, vacuuming, dancing and bushwalking all count. Combine physical activity with a balanced diet to nourish your body and mind and keep you feeling good, inside and out. Also don’t forget to take holidays, book spa sessions and celebrate special occasions in your life.
4. Appreciate yourself/others: It is important to count on your blessings, focus on your strengths and appreciate your positive traits. In fact, it is also true the other way round. Appreciating others also keep you in a positive state of mind and thus help you feel better about your life and yourself.
5. Increase your levels of endorphins: If you don’t feel happy enough, inject some positivity in your life by doing these simple activities – Smile as often as you can, even when you don’t feel like it, go to a comedy club or watch a funny movie, learn some jokes and begin to exchange jokes with your friends, take a class in yoga, tai chi, or qi gong.
6. Learn to deal with stress: Be aware of what triggers your stress and how you react. You may be able to avoid some of the triggers and learn to prepare for or manage others. Stress is a part of life and affects people in different ways. It only becomes a problem when it makes you feel uncomfortable or distressed. A balanced lifestyle can help you manage stress better. If you have trouble winding down, you may find that relaxation breathing, yoga or meditation can help.
7. Change your attitude: Learn Time Management: prioritise your time and your activities, let go of unnecessary tasks and learn to delegate, figure out what you can and can’t live without and focus your energy appropriately. Forget the word “perfect”.
8. Break out of the monotony: Do something different. Get a massage, make a journal diary, get an aquarium and watch turtles, fishes or slow animals, relive childhood experience especially happy moments, use the option of call forwarding in your phone, take a vacation to a new place, take a cruise, take a day trip, check out some of those activities listed in the newspaper.
9. Be in sync with sleep-wake cycle: Get plenty of sleep. Go to bed at a regular time each day and practice good habits to get better sleep. Sleep restores both your mind and body. However, feelings of fatigue can still set in if you feel constantly rushed and overwhelmed when you are awake. Allow yourself some unfocussed time each day to refresh. For example, let your mind wander, daydream or simply watch the clouds go by for a while. It’s ok to add ‘do nothing’ to your to-do list.
10. Notice the here and now: Take a moment to notice each of your senses each day. Simply ‘be’ in the moment – feel the sun and wind on your face and notice the air you are breathing. It’s easy to be caught up thinking about the past or planning for the future instead of experiencing the present. Practicing mindfulness by focusing your attention on being in the moment, is a good way to do this. Making a conscious effort to be aware of your inner and outer world is important for your mental health.
11. Ask for help: This can be as simple as asking a friend to babysit while you have some time out or speaking to your doctor (GP) about where to find a counselor or community mental health service. The perfect, worry-free life does not exist. Everyone’s life journey has bumpy bits and the people around you can help. If you don’t get the help you need, keep asking until you do.
(Picture source: Thinkstock Images)
– Inputs from Bhavna Barmi, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Fortis ESCORTS Heart Institute
(Additional inputs from Dr Nisha Khanna)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines