Self care encompasses everything we do to keep ourselves healthy. Eating a balanced diet and exercising are important for our physical health, but mental health also requires maintenance. Below are just a few tips for activities that could help boost your mood or relieve stress that are easy enough to fit into everyday life.
We don’t have to be suffering with a mental health problem to benefit from putting more focus on mental health, just as we don’t need to be sick to benefit from getting our five-a-day. Even a small change can leave us feeling happier, more productive or less stressed, so for Health and Wellbeing Week here at Thorpe Park, we want to encourage you to practice some self-care and look after your mental health.
Spend time outdoors
If you spend a lot of time sat at a desk, one great way to boost your mood is getting outside. Studies have shown that natural light can have significant benefits in improving your mood, so taking your lunch break sitting in the sun could put a spring in your step. Even looking at a tree has been demonstrated to reduce blood pressure and stress levels, so why not try to spend some time surrounded by nature?
It’s easy to forget during the 9-5, but Thorpe Park is situated close to some beautiful areas of countryside. Have a look at some of our local walking routes, beginning at The Springs. With the light summer evenings you could go for an after work walk, or organise a walking meeting with some co-workers if you have a project that really needs talking through. Not only could it leave you feeling happier, you’ll be getting in that daily exercise too!
Make time to relax
It’s easier said than done when we’re all busy rushing from one thing to another, but giving yourself some dedicated relaxation time does a lot to help your stress levels. What you do to relax will vary from person to person – you may practice a hobby, run a bath or just crash out in front of the telly. But give yourself space to stop thinking about work and take a proper break. If you need a little help switching off, why not try one of the virtual yoga sessions we have scheduled this week?
Some quality relaxation time can even help you sleep. Spending 45 minutes before bed away from screens and stressors can significantly improve the quality of your sleep as well as making falling to sleep quicker and easier. Avoiding working shortly before bed will also make you less likely to lay awake worrying about tomorrow. By building relaxation time into your daily routine, it will also be easier to maintain and help you keep a regular sleep schedule.
Socialise with friends and family
It may seem obvious but spending time with family and friends has a significant impact on your mood. Try to designate some time for socialising, be it sharing an evening meal with your partner or a regular games night with some friends. Talking about any worries you might have is a great coping mechanism but even putting any concerns aside and just having a fun evening can be very beneficial.
Life sometimes gets in the way, and we shouldn’t give in to ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ when we have a lot going on, but keep an eye on how often your job interferes with your social life. If you often find yourself missing out on group outings because you’re working late, your work-life balance may be out of whack. Read our article on work-life balance for more information how to maintain a healthy relationship with work.
We all know nutrition is key to our physical health, but did you know it could be impacting your mental health too? Healthy foods can have a positive impact on your brain chemistry. Eating plenty of vegetables, lean proteins such as seafood or legumes, and wholegrain cereals are all said to contribute to stronger mental health. Avoiding or cutting down on things that have a negative or destabilising effect, such as alcohol and caffeine, can also help. You can find out more about nutrition at our lunchtime seminar, hosted by PureGym, as part of Health and Wellbeing Week.
But eating for mental health has more to it than physical. Cooking a meal for yourself and your loved ones is a great way to show yourself some love and is an act of self-care, especially if it is something you enjoy or a meal you have a good memory associated with. Eating foods that you enjoy can improve your mood and sitting down to enjoy a meal with company can be equally beneficial. Striking a balance between eating healthy and indulging on occasion is important, and can take practice, but it’s worth doing since it is so key to both mental and physical health.
Self-care covers a lot of things, and will look different to everyone. These ideas are just that – ideas; what makes you feel good may not work for the person next to you, and not all these suggestions will be possible for everyone. When you do work out some good strategies for putting you into a good mood, building them into your regular routine will go a long way to maintaining your mental wellbeing!