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Mind your mind

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A little over a year from the start of what’s been a most challenging time globally, we are finally seeing some shoots of hope as the world starts to tentatively open up once again. While there is still a long way to go with global vaccination efforts and despite some countries still struggling with the third wave of the pandemic, many are already dreaming of days we can travel, dine out and hug again.

However, there is just as much trepidation as well. Being told to hunker down, work from home, avoid hugging friends and loved ones, there’s no doubt most of us will face the anxiety of returning to some kind of a ‘new normal’. If we’ve learned one thing from the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, mental health is important; so as we prepare to re-adjust to the brave new world, here are some tips to continue looking after your mental health and wellbeing.

Take a break from social media; switch off technology
Remote and hybrid working, back-to-back Zoom calls and webinars, the ‘always on’ culture that’s gone into overdrive in the last year have meant we’re much closer to burning out. More than ever, we need to schedule in digital detox, step away from technology and get off social feeds to give ourselves a break from the constant noise and senseless scrolling.

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Engage in some exercise for 30 minutes a day
Exercise produces endorphins and endorphins mean happiness. Whether it’s a hardcore HIIT session at the gym or yoga from the comfort of your living room, try to make time for exercise to boost your health, spark your energy and of course release those endorphins for a happy, healthy you.

Try and eat a well-balanced diet throughout the day
How true is the say ‘you are what you eat’? A well-balanced diet not only helps us keep fit, but it also helps our emotional wellbeing.

Healthy grains and fibre, fresh fruit and vegetables, good fats which come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish can truly boost energy levels and help with mental wellbeing.

Stay hydrated
Considering we are made of 70 per cent water, it seems obvious that we should keep hydrated. Have you noticed on days you don’t drink enough water you tend to get more easily tired, or irritable, and prone to getting headaches. Studies show that even mild dehydration can cause headaches, lower our energy levels, and impair our ability to focus.

Write down three things that made you happy today
Studies show that those who appreciate the little things and share their gratitude are happier than those who always see their glass half-empty. To boost your mood daily and to have a written record of each day to look back on remember the good memories, set aside five minutes at the end of each day to share three things you are grateful for. Ensure you dig deeper and identify unique moments that day or sensory memories you can capture rather than generic answers such as ‘grateful for a day off’ or ‘grateful for my children.’ Bring the day and the moment of gratitude to life in specific detail.

Make sure to get a good night’s sleep, every night
A good day really starts the night before with good sleep, and for good sleep, your brain needs a routine. Try to go to bed early to make the most of night-time, and to get yourself into the right state of mind, try to wind down an hour before bed – put away your phone, switch of the electronics and try to relax.

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Practise self-care, whichever form it may take
Meditation? Painting? A cold shower? Doing your nails? Whatever your concept of self-care, try to make time to practise that whenever life gets overwhelming and you feel you need to take some time out to relax. If you turn this into a daily ritual, you’ll find in time it will become a habit and you will reset your vibe soon after to take on the rest of your day.

Keep a journal
You know how they say before you send an irate email, you should save it as a draft and look at it again the next day before you hit send – there is much power in writing down your feelings. Likewise, you can challenge your negative thoughts and put things into perspective by keeping a diary.

Focus on the present moment
We’ve done a whole year of worrying about or planning for the future – some planning of trips as milestones to look forward to, some fretting about what tomorrow brings. The truth is that life is this very moment. No amount of planning or worrying is likely to change what the future may have in store for us. Yes, by all means, when possible, plan ahead, and have dreams, but don’t let them get in the way of enjoying the present moment.

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Mind your mind
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