We are taught from our early childhood days just how important maintaining physical activity is for long term health benefits and even improving our quality of life. Just like physical health, our mental health requires the exact same treatment and it is crucial that it is not neglected. We all need to take our mental health into account; the state of your mental health can fluctuate as you grow older and experience new things. Statistics show that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and, in England alone, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. Small, powerful changes can have the biggest impact in supporting our wellbeing and our top 10 tips below will be sure to help you look after your own mental health, especially while working from home.
As previously mentioned, exercise and keeping fit have been ingrained into us all since we have been able to walk. We all know the extent to which exercise improves our physical health, but it is also paramount in maintaining a healthy mental activity and mindset. Studies show that those who regularly exercise feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night and will find themselves painting a more positive image of themselves and their lives. Don’t be afraid of the word ‘exercise’ as not much activity is needed to boost your mental wellbeing. In fact, according to HelpGuide you can reap all the physical and mental health benefits of exercise with 30-minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. To help you even further, Lydia – our Marketing Support – has curated a list of 6 effective exercise methods you can do from anywhere, perfect whilst we all spend a little more time in the comfort of our own home.
2. Stay hydrated
Going hand in hand with exercise, drinking more water has a huge impact on an individual’s mental health. Dehydration from lack of water can be a common cause of frequent headaches and lethargy, leading to an inevitable negative mood. Drinking enough water provides our brains with the fluids it needs to be able to function properly, allowing for quicker thinking and reaction times. Unsure of how much you should be drinking? The unofficial advice given is to be drinking around 2 litres a day. This can be a lot for those who don’t drink much so for that extra push you need, why not treat yourself to a personal water bottle with motivational times to drink imprinted on the design of the bottle? They’re both trendy and great for ensuring you maintain your water intake throughout the day.
3. Eating healthily
There are many negative connotations surrounding the word ‘diet’: including countless horror stories of regimented eating plans that inevitably fail because they’re impossible to stick to. Fear not, to change your perception of the word ‘diet’ we want you to focus on the phrase ‘eating healthily’ and use this as a more positive alternative. This doesn’t mean cancelling that Saturday night take away treat or saying no to a chocolate bar on hump day – it’s about incorporating those fruits and vegetables that we gain the most nutrients from to fuel our bodies and minds. Getting your 5 a day in is crucial to your wellbeing, providing that extra boost to carry out everyday activities.
Struggling with what to eat? The NHS website has a great web page dedicated for meal inspiration for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
3. Also – please don’t skip breakfast!
Whilst on the topic of meals, it is important to ensure you enjoy a robust meal for breakfast to prepare for the day ahead. Your body needs the morning nutrients to make your muscles and brain work, as your blood sugars are usually low in the morning. According to research published in the journal Psychological Medicine, delaying or skipping the morning meal is associated with a higher likelihood of having a mood disorder, like depression or bipolar.
4. Practise Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not become overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. The act of using mindful techniques to improve your wellbeing is derived from Buddhist traditions and has now evolved into the 21st-century techniques for innovative ways of looking after yourself. Focusing on stretching, breathing and awareness can increase your mental health and wellbeing whilst at home. For tips, tricks and a whole lot more information on the topic – head to the app store and download one of the free apps created for mindfulness and meditation. Listed below are a few of our recommendations…
- Mindfulness Daily
5. Get your thinking cap on
What better way to start your day than solving a puzzle in the comfort of your own home. Like every other organ in your body, your brain needs regular workouts and Mensa challenges are the perfect way to get your brain focused and in the right frame of mind for the day ahead.
Our HR team have collated a few here if you want to give the above challenges a try!
Research indicates that nearly 80% of our self-talk is negative. This astonishing black and the white figure will no doubt make us look back and reflect on what we actually say about ourselves, out loud or in our heads. Positive affirmations have the power to transform your life and have a massive impact on the state of your mental health. Take these 15 powerful affirmations and use them as a guide to tailor your own personal affirmations, saying them to yourself the recommended three times a day.
7. Keep in touch
Whilst looking after your wellbeing, keeping in touch with those who mean the most to you can massively influence your mood for the greater good. Whether it be on the phone, video call or even using the traditional pen to paper method – your efforts to get in contact with friends and family can have huge benefits for your mental health. With the rapid increase of technology, communication with loved ones has never been easier and there are many social apps for you to download to keep you company. Listed below are the recommended top 5 apps for keeping in touch.
- Google Hangouts
- Netflix Party
8. Pick up a hobby
Free time is something we are all having to become accustomed to in our day to day lives. However, this extra free time provides plenty of opportunities for you to explore hobbies you have never got around to being able to try. Research shows that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood and depression. There is no better feeling than having a hobby you enthuse about, as it paves a path of positive thoughts and an overall healthier mindset. Dust off the old bookshelf or unlock the arts and crafts cupboard, try absolutely anything to get your mind focused. Head on over to Springfield Mind to find the beneficial hobbies you can take up whilst spending more time at home.
9. Simply smile
Take a moment to look in the mirror and simply – smile. Let your teeth do the talking and watch those smile lines appear! The act of smiling actually activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness. Smiling not only helps you but has a positive effect on those around you. They all do say a smile is really contagious!
10. Open up – there is nothing to be afraid of!
Last but certainly not least – don’t be afraid to let those around you know how you’re feeling. Every emotion deserves to be spoken about and it will only come as a benefit to you, once spoken out loud. When times get tough, speaking to others about how you’re feeling can release a burden that you have been carrying on your back, as just being listened to can make you feel like you’re at ease and have everything in hand.
Our own mental health is extremely important and should never be neglected. We hope these 10 tips help you to improve your daily routine whilst self-isolating at home. If you’re working from home with children, why not head over to our parents’ survival guide and read on how to keep kids entertained through the weeks ahead.