Five simple self-care activities that will boost your mental health

We’re now several weeks into 2020. How are your New year resolutions faring? How much healthier is your life now? And what about your mental health?

Many people start the new year with the goal to get healthier. But too often this only takes into account our physical health.

We see gym subscriptions soar, eating plans put in place and countless promises that we’ll cut down on junk foods. While this is definitely an important part of taking care of ourselves, it pays to remember that there’s more to our health than this.

So, this year, why not take a more holistic approach to health – and not just in the first few weeks?

Here are five simple things you can try that will not only help you enhance your physical health, but could help you to prioritise your mental wellbeing all year long, too.

1) Get those endorphins pumping

Exercise is an all-rounder when it comes to our wellbeing, because the benefits are endless. Sure, it helps your physical health dramatically, but it also releases endorphins that give you energy and cause you to feel good.

In fact, exercise is thought to have a positive impact on some people with depression, as it can act as a natural mood booster.

If you’re not someone that loves hardcore exercise, don’t sweat it – even something as simple as a stroll to the coffee shop in the morning can significantly clear the brain fog, add movement to your day, and make you feel brighter. 

2) Have a clear out

The de-cluttering craze has really taken off in recent years, but it’s because there’s merit in the method. In fact, one study found that 35% of people who declutter find it therapeutic, while 27% found it rewarding and 16% found it mentally satisfying.

Instead of overwhelming yourself with the thought of de-cluttering your entire home, break down the task by completing one room per day using a three-box method of ‘keep’, ‘give away’ or ‘throw away’. This way, you can have a bigger, happier and healthier space, helping to keep stresses at bay.

If you want to take it one step further, this article gives tips on how to de-clutter your entire life – and increase your happiness.

3) Nurture your relationships

It’s time to let go of relationships that make you feel bad and focus on friendships that add something to your life. Feeling connected to people that you share a mutual bond with is one way to improve your mental wellbeing, whether that’s with family, friends, co-workers or like-minded others.

When you’re not feeling at your best, it can be tempting to shy away so as not to let others see how you feel. But having someone you can share your thoughts with and lean on when you’re struggling is something special to hold on to. In 2020, make a concerted effort to strengthen your relationships.

If you have older relatives, then you may want to visit a care home to see them and spend time in their company.

4) Eat for your mind

Eating a healthy and balanced diet can do a lot to improve your mind, and therefore your sense of wellbeing, too. According to charity Mind, one of the best ways to incorporate healthier food into your life is to take small steps rather than a sudden change of diets.

Try starting with one or a couple of these: eating breakfast, staying hydrated, getting your five a day and avoiding foods that make your blood sugar go up and down rapidly.

Some suggestions for achieving this without stress include planning ahead, cooking with others and keeping a food diary so you can monitor what makes you feel good and what has a bad effect on your body and mood.

You can also read the 10 nutrients women need for good physical and mental health here. How many of these are currently missing in your diet? And what can you do to ensure you consume more of them?

5) Find your self-care favourites

Finally, one of the best things you can do to take care of yourself is – you guessed it – do what makes you feel good! If that’s pushing yourself to go out and socialise more, then go for it; alternately, if that means saying ‘no’ sometimes and staying in, then listen to your heart.

Self-care means making time for you, whether that’s a long bubble bath and a book, or a fancy meal eaten in or out. Take the time to focus on yourself and accept that you deserve it.

Everyone is different and there’s no one way that works for all of us, but by giving these tips a try, you may just find yourself feeling more refreshed and ready for the year ahead!

Photo by OLA Mishchenko