I’ve spoken to you all before about my mental health journey. However, if you haven’t already read it, click here.
I like to think that I have come a long way mentally, from where I was a few years ago. It took a while, but I have finally got myself into a routine that I feel comfortable with, and know works for me.
There are a few things that I do every single day (I call them my non-negotiable’s), which I know are strong reasons as to why I feel a lot happier and healthier in my mind.
I am a firm believer that daily exercise can be one part of a positive action, to help you manage your mental health.
There is mounting evidence to suggest that exercise is part of an effective way of treating and managing mental illness. Exercise can make a massive difference in mood and I believe, should be a fundamental part of mental health treatment.
Now in no way am I a trained professional in this area, but I do speak from experience, and also know others who agree that exercise is fundamental to their mental health plan.
A few other things that I have learnt throughout my mental health journey:
I used to have a gym membership, which meant that I would spend 1-1.5 hours at the gym, walking around not really having much of a workout plan. I found that I didn’t see much benefit from this both mentally or physically – so I quit the gym and vowed never to return!
I have found that higher doses of exercise works better for me.
This is why I opt for F45 HIIT training, as I get to spend 45 minutes a day, working out as hard as I can and working up a massive sweat. This is always a time of day where because I am so involved in the exercise (because of how intense it is), there is no time for me to be anxious!
Walking really does wonders for the soul, and I am so amazed at how powerful an afternoon walk after a day at work can be.
Smashing out 5km’s at a slow-medium pace after a long day of being at work, can well and truly change my mindset for the rest of the evening. I don’t know about others who enjoy walking, but I use my walking time as time to talk to myself (sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud depending on where I am).
This is time that I can use to sort out my worries, reflect on my goals and decide on what my next plan of attack is. I used to listen to music while I walked, but now I just listen to my mind…
When I exercise every day, I sleep better, and when I sleep better, my mind is better.
I think we all tend to underestimate the power that good quality sleep can have on us. I used to get 5-6 hours a night, and would spend the last two hours awake, scrolling through my phone in bed. This would mean that I would then have an interrupted, light sleep and would generally be tired and cranky the next day.
Now, I get around 8-9 hours of sleep a night, and my boyfriend and I have a rule that there are to be no phones in bed. We even charge them away from our bedsides, so that we aren’t tempted to scroll through Instagram late at night.
I am one of those people who likes to be kept busy. When I was out walking with my Mum the other day, we were talking about my upcoming schedule and all the things I have coming up. I said to Mum that I don’t know how I do it all (really, I don’t). Mum then explained to me that it’s all got to do with my anxiety, and that I have a mind that needs to be stimulated the majority of the time. And, she’s so right!
This can sometimes work in my favour, and other times it can backfire as I can get overwhelmed with all that I have going on. I like to think though, that if my mind is asking to be stimulated, then I am able to handle all the various “hats” that I wear and responsibilities that I have.
Of course, I always try to ensure that I have plenty of down time so that I can give my body the chance to switch off and relax. Getting plenty of sleep helps with this too!
So these are just a few of the things that I have found that help with managing my mental health. Other things that I know work for others include meditation, yoga, and other healing elements.
Of course, each person’s mental health story and journey is different, so this post is by no means a way of me trying to tell you HOW to manage your mental health.
It’s more to show you the things that I do to keep myself on top of everything, and hopefully it’s things that you can try too!