This Sunday is World Mental Health Day and whilst we all have mental health, it feels like more than ever we could do with a few tips to ensure it does not boil over. Mental health means something different to everyone, therefore it is more fitting to work out what helps keep yours in check and your mind calm.
Our nervous system works to ensure full function of our body, but when it perceives more aspects as a threat rather than a relaxing situation, it can encourage an adrenaline rush which can be accompanied by anxiety, stress, worry, fear, confusion, doubt, overwhelm, and exhaustion. To prevent these feelings developing, we can aim to up-regulate our parasympathetic system to promote more feelings such as those of being calm, clear, aware, elevated, joy, and focused. The following tips can work as both a toolbox to ease these feelings of stress and anxiety, but equally as a preventative measure to ensure you don’t get to the point of feeling overwhelmed.
Our cortisol (stress hormone) levels are at their greatest when we wake up. This can then lead to anxious feelings about the rest of your day, or it could provide the starting point for things to accumulate. Aim to get outside as early as possible, and in natural daylight. 20 minutes per day is enough to cause this shift in hormones. This can reset these hormone levels and make the day easier to progress through. Exercise scheduled early can also have the same effects, as well as bringing those feel-good endorphins with you and an added energy boost.
Turning off notifications on your phone and having a plan for the day can keep you focused and on track. Try to schedule specific times to check emails and stick to it. This will help to manage your time and remain productive on the main tasks. If a task can be completed in 5 minutes or less, complete it straight away to save building an even larger to do list. Prioritise each thing in terms of 1) today, 2) tomorrow, 3) this week, 4) next week. This will help to remove the pressure each day can bring and allow you to really give your energy to one thing at a time.
Most importantly, schedule some time for yourself every day. This may be a small amount of time sometimes, depending on your diary, but it is important you have that window of time to just breathe and find the joy in the little things too! you can read more here about how Pilates is fantastic for reducing stress for a variety of reasons, as well as these tips to calm anxiety and have a healthier mind.
If things do start to feel overwhelming, get outside with a friend. Connection has been found to be the biggest thing to bring us joy and can make any difficulties seem smaller or more manageable afterwards. If you need something instantly, try these breathing exercises for calmness.
I hope these little tips may help if or when you need them!