Updated: Apr 11
Mental health is an everyday care that we take with things that affect our nervous system balance. Just like we exercise and eat well to keep our bodies healthy, we need to exercise and feed our minds good "food" in order to keep it in balance, happy and healthy.
I have had a bit of a journey with my mental health in the past, with food disorder and panic attacks. As many people might say, "I don't have any mental issues", let's not forget that more than ever people all around the world are suffering of anxiety, depression, burnout at work, problems in their relationships, problems with heir self image, disconnection from the self, etc
Throughout my journey of personal development and healing, I have slowly build a daily routine that could support my mental health. Over time I started feeling more connected and my true needs being more clear to myself. I used to have crazy indecisiveness attacks because I was so disconnected from my essence that I didn't know what I wanted. I used to be a very anxious person also, nowadays I know how to manage moments where I find myself more anxious but overall I am much more relaxed, calm and present. Needless to say this didn't happen overnight. It was a slow building of habits that made me feel healthier physically and mentally. In no way I'm trying to tell you what you should or shouldn't do, this is simply a diary of what worked for me over the years. Some bad habits took me months or years to drop, some good ones were also a bit of a journey to acquire. So my advice is, be patient with yourself, but start the journey as soon as you can.
Starting your day scrolling your phone. Ok I have done that, my partner does that and many people around me also. It's addicting and it's very "self-soothing" to scroll down your social media feed. But in the long run, just like drugs are an immediate release that do you no good, so it does scrolling, specially first thing in the morning when your brain is so vulnerable. This moment when you first wake up will set your mood for the rest of the day. Also artificial light messes up with your circadian rhythm. Instead of looking at your screen you should be looking at natural light, if possible direct sunlight, to signal your body it's time to wake up. Trust me, this is even more effective than coffee!!
Drink coffee on an empty stomach. I get it, if you don't drink coffee you can't wake up, I have done this for years and it was a habit that took me months, if not years to give up. I love coffee also who doesn't. But coffee on an empty stomach is a no go for various reasons. It's very acid for your stomach, it raises the insulin in your blood and it can give you crazy anxiety if you take it on an empty stomach. And imagine, this is the mood you're setting for your day. Anxiety and bad digestion. If you love coffee and can't give it up, at least drink it after you eat.
Sleep after midnight. The occasional friends gathering, a concert or a night out is ok, we are all humans and life is also about having fun! But if you make sleeping after midnight a daily habit you're missing out on the most precious recovery sleep for your body (and brain). Doctors say that the most restorative sleep we get happens between 10pm till 1am. It's easy to check that for yourself, when you go out and come back at 3am, you can still sleep your good 8 hours but still feel tired no? Having a sleep routine (sleeping and waking up at around the same time) is one of the best remedies for your mental and overall health.
Snooze until last moment. I am a snoozer, I didn't used to be one until my partner turned me into one! Knowing that I like to snooze for at least 15 minutes, I set my alarm to even earlier so I have time to enjoy the morning calmness before heading out. It is so important to be able to do things slowly in the morning, again, it is setting the rhythm of your whole day. If you wake up late and rush out the door you're already putting your body in a fight and flight mode. Try this, put your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than you normally do. Eat slowly, enjoy the moment of sipping your coffee, watch the life outside your window while taking in some day light. It changes your whole day.
Sit all day in an indoor environment. I know some, even perhaps most of you reading this, have office jobs and you're thinking that you don't really have a choice. But our bodies were not designed to sit in artificial light all day. Our bodies were designed to move and just like plants do, we also need natural light. Try this, take your coffee or lunch breaks outside. Grab a take away lunch and sit on the bench instead of inside the restaurant. Go for a walk before you return to the office. That already helps.