How to Up Your 2021 Mental Health Game
We typically talk of health and wellness in terms of the physical self. Conversations around weight loss or improved appearance and confidence are the norm. However, your body is only one part of a three part series that makes up you. Mental and spiritual health complete the trilogy.
Most of us have some sort of physical health routine or it’s a priority for us to work on developing a regular one. Less commonly, we think of routines involving spiritual and mental health as important to overall health and wellness. When we dedicate time or energy to these pillars of health, it’s often considered a treat or even a luxury.
Imagine driving a Ferrari but thinking about oil changes or basic maintenance as unnecessary? Or only taking a look under the hood when you know there’s already a problem? That’s literally what we’re doing when we ignore our mental and spiritual health as part of a lifestyle.
January through April tend to be the hardest months for mental health because they’re dark and cold. But, that just means now is the best time to develop a routine to counteract the negative impact of the Canadian winter.
Here are some of my favourite ways to keep mental and spiritual health in top shape that might also work for you as building blocks in your mental and spiritual journey.
The Headspace app:
Headspace app is amazing for both introductory and advanced meditation practices. Mediation has a plethora of benefits, and Headspace helps you use it strategically to align with your specific needs and goals.
Sometimes being outside your own environment is essential to concentration and peace and quiet, especially if you have pets, a partner, children or roommates. In this case, while temporarily closed, there are some great mediation centres in Toronto to help you grow your practice.
Plants and Herbs:
There are a number benefits of having plants in your home. Better air quality and the removal of toxins are two of the best. However, researchers in the United Kingdom found that people who live around nature feel much happier than those that don't and adding some greenery to your home can change your mood. In fact, it’s been proven that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity and boost your mood by up to 15 percent.
Positive thinking is first and foremost when it comes to creating a positive environment for yourself. It’s the easiest, cheapest, most immediately effective way to change your circumstances.
It’s also important to embrace positive self-talk and intentional, goal-oriented thinking.
A physical entity like a vision board or writing out your affirmations, dreams and goals can create an emotional connection that motivates you and evokes thinking that supports your intentions and keeps them top of mind.
Monitoring Screen Time:
Like Black Mirror told us it would, the digital world has replaced the real one. It’s temporary but it’s resulted in an extreme increase in screen time for just about everyone. Screens can be draining and studies are starting to show that they’re also interfering with everything from sleep to creativity.
If you routinely let your RMT benefits go to waste, stop it right now!
Massage can be incredibly therapeutic and relaxing and helps with a variety of different conditions from muscle soreness to headaches. It relieves tension and anxiety and reduces stress. In fact, a good trigger point or deep tissue massage can change your whole life (not really but almost).
Self-care: the way you like it
Self-care isn’t limited to bath bombs and spa days. It’s not assigned a price, time allotment or specific treatment. It’s simply about you and your needs. An expensive mani-pedi is just as much self-care as buying nail polish off the clearance rack at Winners and going DYI. Self-care is about evaluating and addressing your needs, especially ones you’ve deemed unimportant due to other commitments, and recognizing they’re not selfish, materialistic or an unnecessary expense.
In fact, self-care can be something as basic and unassuming as getting a family doctor if you’re dependent on walk-ins or booking a life coaching session to help guide you through your next big life move.
What are your favorite ways to focus on your mental health? I would love for you to share in the comments below!