At The Holistic Healthcare Group, we are passionate about the prevention of mental health illnesses. And good well-being habits underpin the prevention process.
We want everyone to feel mentally well and to have the tools and strategies to help if you are starting to struggle. As the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’.
So this months blog offers 7 good habits for wellbeing, that you can adopt to help you feel mentally well.
1. Getting enough sleep and relaxation
This tip may seem like the most obvious and yet for many, both adults, teenagers and children, it can be one of the hardest habits to adopt. From the pull of the TV, phone or tablet screen in the evenings, to late night working patterns and busy social lives, there are many things that prevent us from regularly getting the recommended 7-9 hours sleep (and 8-10 for teenagers).
When we do not get enough sleep, it will affect our psychological health and affect our ‘performance’, as well as our mood, during the day. Chronic sleep deprivation can even result in severe psychological issues and even hallucinations.
Both the quality and quantity of sleep are important. You should feel refreshed and energised shortly after waking.
There are many things you can do to help you get a good night’s sleep from limiting screen time for an hour or so before bed, to avoiding caffeine and sugary foods in the evening, to taking a relaxing bath or doing a calming yoga session. Make sleep a priority for your mental wellbeing.
Read more about Why a good night’s sleep is so important
2. Eating a balanced diet
Eating well for wellbeing is not necessarily about dieting or avoiding everything you enjoy. In fact, that can have the opposite effect on your mental health. It is important to maintain balance.
When we are busy, it can be difficult to find the time to cook from scratch or shop for fresh ingredients but adopting a habit of choosing healthy meals on a regular basis will help your sense of well-being.
For more recipe ideas and information about nutritional health, go to Nutrition videos or (arriving in Jan) Recipe section in your Melp app.
3. Being social and doing things you enjoy
As lockdown proved, we are social beings. Therefore, it is unsurprising that a good habit for wellbeing includes being social.
Getting out and doing things you enjoy, with people you enjoy being with, is a great habit.
Again, like eating, it needs to be balanced. Be aware of whether your socialising revolves around drinking too much alcohol and smoking, or is happening more online than in person, for example.
Ensure that being social also involves positive relationships, a sense of belonging is important and social occasions should be packed with positive experiences for you. It’s nice to be surrounded by people who you can turn to and will provide emotional support too.
4. Expressing yourself
Getting your ‘emotions’ or thoughts out of your head and down on paper can be very powerful. It reduces any build up and can offer a wonderful form of release.
Journaling can be a positive activity for wellbeing. It’s not about recording your day but writing down your thoughts and feelings. You can write about a specific event or occasion or it can be completely random, whatever pops in to your heard and flows out of your pen or through the keyboard.
If you are creative, you may want to express yourself more artistically through a painting or other artistic creations.
If neither writing reams nor doing art appeals, writing down some goals or affirmations can also be a powerful tool for helping you feel you are moving forward in your life. Melp has recently added a course on motivation which has lots of great tools to help you set and achieve goals, and there are also videos to help you set affirmations is you are unsure how to do this. The new ‘search’ function in the menu will help you find this with ease.
5. Learning something new
Learning something new is a great way to give you something to focus on and to feel excited about. It can be simply trying a new recipe or visiting a new place. It doesn’t have to a brand new skill or year-long course. However, you may consider whether committing to some learning for personal and professional reasons will be a good way to give you more direction.
The effect of learning something new and accomplishing it can be very positive for your mental health.
6. Doing physical movement – all types of exercise
There are many types of exercise and research shows that all forms of physical movement (when done out of choice!) are good for your well-being. It can be traditional exercise, like going for a run, to the gym and playing sport. However, it can also be as simple as getting outside for a short walk or dancing around the kitchen to some of your favourite tunes.
Yoga can be a great way to combine physical movement with support for your mental wellbeing. The Melp app has a progression of Yoga classes you can access and practise at home.
7. Focussing on the present
We all worry about the future, at times, and some of us also have worries about the past. Whilst planning and remaining in control is a good wellbeing habit too, it can also help to have a balanced view of how much we can influence and what we should release, ‘The Circle of Control and Influence’ video in the Coaching video section of Melp will help you arrange the things you can and can’t control.
Mindfulness practice can be a good way to help you feel centred on how you are feeling in an exact moment.
The Melp app has a range of mindfulness videos and tools for you to explore. Or meditation and breathing exercises can also help you achieve a practise of staying present.