In light of Mental Health Awareness Week, here at Psycle we’re making a conscious effort to form some new healthy habits that our mind will thank us for. We spend so many hours each week thinking about, planning and doing things for our physical health – whether that’s working out or eating a certain way – but what if we did the same for our mental health? The truth is, we should – and it doesn’t need to be difficult. So join us in making this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week the start of a new approach to wellbeing – one that values both mind andbody.
1 Download a mindfulness app
Thankfully, people are becoming more and more aware of just how important mindfulness is for our overall health. As a result, there has been a huge rise in the popularity of apps like Headspace, Calm and Buddhify – which offer guided meditations for a whole host of goals and circumstances – making it much easier for beginners to explore the world of meditation.
Have one of these apps at the ready, and whether it’s upon waking, before bed or during a break at work, choose a meditation that suits you and dedicate 5-15 minutes per day just to focus on you. The key is to make meditation part of your daily routine, rather than waiting until a particularly stressful time in order to practise it.
2 Take regular yoga classes
Yoga can be the perfect way to allow both body and mind to work together in unison to get you operating at the ideal frequency. Choosing a style that focuses on the more spiritual side yoga can offer, rather than an intense or extremely physical style, allows you to be active while recruiting some input from your mind, too. It’ll get your blood flowing, encourage you to focus on your breath and allow your body to recover from the fast-paced workouts many of us usually dedicate our time to throughout the week – which can often put the body under a lot of stress. This stress, while good for getting results in the gym, can negatively affect the mind if we don’t do our part to get it back in check.
A weekly yoga class can help us to check in with the mind, get the body back to where it needs to be and give ourselves the reset we need for the rest of the week.
3 Do a weekly workout you love
Getting specific results and reaching goals requires planning, dedication and time. If your goal is to reach a new personal best on the back squat, or to cycle a certain distance under a certain time, then you’ll obviously need to be training smart, following a programme and doing very specific training.
But sometimes, you need to throw the rulebook out the window, forget about those gains for a day and just do a kickass workout – either with a bunch of mates or on your own to clear your mind – and enjoy that sweat fest followed by the rush of endorphins you know and love. Don’t train because you have to, train because you want to.
4 Keep a journal
Putting pen to paper at the end of a long day can help you to shake off the stresses you’ve carried with you and encourage you to release those negative emotions and thoughts, offloading them into a journal entry and out of your mind.
It’s important not to journal only on the bad days – make a habit out of doing it daily and you’ll soon reap the benefits. While it can be cathartic to spill the negativity on to paper, writing about positive emotions as well can help to remind you of the good times; things you should be grateful for that you may sometimes take for granted. There’s nothing more humbling than that.
5 Take a personal day
And we don’t mean to run errands. Taking a full day each month to dedicate to the things you want to do but never seem to be able to fit around your regular schedule is something we should all do – but most of us don’t. Even if you have to book a day off work for it, plan a day to do all the things you wish you would do if you didn’t need to worry about laundry, cleaning the house or going grocery shopping.
Book in for that exhibition you’ve wanted to see for ages, go and check out that new fitness studio that just opened up or wander around an area of your city that you’ve never explored before. Let your mind and body recharge as you stimulate it with new surroundings. Whatever you do, do not be tempted to run those errands.