Post-holiday blues. Shorter days (and if you’re in Manitoba, frigid temps). A pandemic. Phew, it’s a lot to take in at once!
With Blue Monday behind us and the Bell Let’s Talk initiative right around the corner, it’s no surprise mental health is at the forefront of our conversations. We want to keep that conversation going!
Here are some easy habits to boost your mood and keep your mental health in check during these challenging times:
1) Talk to someone. We’re all human with real emotions and struggles. Whether with a mental health professional, in a support group or with a family member or friend, talking it out can be a very therapeutic process. Remember: there’s no stigma in reaching out for help.
2) Get enough sleep. There are plenty of habits you can form to help you get enough quality sleep! Create a wind-down routine in the evening. Make your bed a comfortable, inviting space. Try to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Put away the electronics at least an hour before bed, which leads us to our next tip…
3) Reduce screen time. We know, we know – it’s easier said than done! But incorporating small changes to reduce your screen time can help you be more present in the moment and remove you from the doom-scrolling. To try it out, set limits on certain apps or schedule a screen-free day each week.
4) Head outside. A little bit of sunlight and fresh air can work wonders (especially for those of us in the northern hemisphere with vitamin D deficiencies).
Forest bathing has become a popular health trend, but the concept isn’t new. It essentially means to immerse yourself in nature, in a sort of meditative process where you connect with and take in nature with your senses. Sounds relaxing to us! Go for a hike, take a stroll or a ski through a treed area nearby, or visit a local park.
5) Move your body. It can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise when you’re feeling down or anxious. But we guarantee you’ll feel better once you’ve gotten your heart rate up and released all of those amazing endorphins! Just 30 minutes of exercise a day is known to reduce stress and anxiety, boost energy and help with sleep.
If you don’t know where to begin, start small with a short walk around the neighbourhood or park your vehicle further than usual to get in a few extra steps. Once you’ve gotten into a good routine, pick exercises you enjoy to keep up the momentum!
6) Shift your mindset. Be on the look-out for negative self-talk and try to shift the mindset to more positive thoughts. It’s important to be kind to yourself mentally and emotionally as well as physically.
7) Take a break. Really. We may have ‘hustle’ in our name but we also recognize the importance of hitting pause! How you relax is completely up to you, but make leisure time a priority, no matter how busy you may be.
We hope these tips help with your day-to-day mental health. If you find you need additional support, that’s totally OK! Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and we can’t stress that enough. The Canadian Mental Health Association has a number of resources available.
You’re not alone, we promise. You’ve got this!