- Sleep: Are you getting enough sleep? 7-9 hours is recommended from ages 18+. Sleep is so important for our health as it allows our bodies to repair and our brains to rest. We all know that waking up on the wrong side of the bed sucks, both for us and the ones around us. Poor sleep is linked to a weakened immune system and mental health issues, so ensure you’re prioritising sleep so you can wake up feeling fresh and ready to tackle the day.
- Drink lots of water: Being dehydrated can affect our mood, memory, critical thinking and overall brain performance. Water is an essential nutrient and should not be forgotten! The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest we drink 2.1litres of water a day, that's about 8 glasses of water at day. So how can you reach this goal? Drink a big glass of water when you wake up, carry a bottle of water with you at all times and have a glass of water with your meals.
- Eat: A healthy well balanced diet. It comes with many positive benefits including improved mental health. Food can improve our moods, and some nutrients can affect our behaviour, mood and stress. Some common food associated to mood are:
- Probiotics like kimchi and yogurt
- Omega 3 fatty acids like salmon and B vitamins
- Folate like darky leafy greens and grains
- B12 likeeat and dairy products
- Check out this link for interesting findings on food for our moods - https://foodandmoodcentre.com.au/
- Sun: If you’re in the sun, you’re outside which also means you’re getting a breath of FRESH air. The sun is constantly giving us little Vitamin D kisses, and whilst we have to be sun smart, we still have to get in the sun for our daily dose of Vitamin D, which is essential for our health and has shown to be great for our mood. Want to know more? See link below.
- Move: It’s well known that exercise and physical activity results in the release of endorphins, which makes us feel happy and relieves stress. No this doesn't mean you need to turn into a gym junkie. A brisk walk for 30mins, an online pilates class or a short jog can have the same effects. PS: leave your phone at home.
- Meditate: Many studies have shown meditation can improve stress, concentration, self awareness and self esteem. There are so many great apps you can use, like headspace, which have small classes for beginners. You can also choose your preferred length of time, even as little as 10 mins at the start or end of your day can have benefits on your mental health. Think of it as exercise for your brain!
- Stretch: That's right reach for those toes, subscribe to a YouTube channel or online class, or practise a few stretches whilst watching TV. Stretching increases blood flow around the body which releases the buildup of pressure, and like exercise has been shown to release endorphins. Makes sense right? Because you can't beat that first morning stretch when you’re climbing out of bed!
- Connect: Humans are social beings, we’re made for community and throughout history have gathered in large tribes and families. We’re meant to stick together, and the truth is we need each other. So reach out to your loved ones, put effort into new relationships, ask for a hug and give out hugs. Social iteration gives us a sense of belonging, security and makes us feel safe, which is associated with better mental health.
- Make time for the things you enjoy: We are all guilty of getting too caught up in busyness. We put work, others, chores - the list goes on - before our “me” time. We need to make time for things that make us happy, like dusting off that book on your bedside table because you love reading, signing off work on time because you have a recipe you really want to try, or getting up 30mins earlier so you can get to your fav gym class. Because indulging in your hobbies is what makes you, YOU.
- Ask for help: Most importantly,ask for help. You are not alone. Ask people around you and use the resources we have in Australia for support. There are many platforms that are ready and waiting to help you at any given time, for any situation. There is always someone who will listen, you are loved and you are needed.
https://www.lifeline.org.au/ - 13 11 14
https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/mental-health-helplines - list of multiple numbers.