Five tips for a quieter, calmer mind

Mental health matters. And while this has always been the case, in recent years there has been a positive shift in the way we approach emotional wellbeing in our day-to-day lives.

If you’re trying to prioritise your mental health, in this article Jo Webber — Herbal Education Lead at Pukka Herbs —shares five ways you can head into the new year with some clarity and calm. 

Among the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you may sometimes feel like you have a lot on your mind. And as we enter a new year full of goals and aspirations, it’s easy to get caught up in the resolutions, wellness trends, and ‘detox’ adverts we see online. However, there are no quick fixes for mental wellbeing: instead, here are five holistic acts of self-care that you can practice every day to help find your calm.  

1) Journaling 

You may have kept a diary when you were younger, but keeping a journal is an equally valuable resource as an adult. Committing your worries to paper acts as an outlet that can help you understand them, such as identifying irrational anxieties or learning to adopt more positive self-talk (URMC).

When introducing a journal into your routine, start small: expecting to write for twenty minutes every day may feel a little daunting straight away. Instead, start by setting aside five minutes every morning or night – for instance, time that you would otherwise spend on screens – to make journaling a more achievable habit to develop. 

Try journaling alongside your morning cup of herbal tea or when you’re about to fall asleep and your mind begins to race. Check in with your body to see when you feel the most open for self-reflection: this may change daily, so be sure to keep your journal to hand wherever possible.

While you can journal on your smartphone, it’s far better to stick to pen and paper — or buy a dedicated wellness or gratitude journal for a bit of added structure — to avoid any distracting notifications from social media.

2) Nourishing your body

We’ve all grabbed something quick to eat when we’re busy, and sometimes this is the best we can do. However, we mustn’t forget how important proper nutrition is to our mental and physical wellbeing: eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated helps maintain proper brain function, energy levels, and regulates our moods (NCBI).

Try to eat the rainbow: aim to consume about thirty different fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices every week. This may seem a lot, but with the help of organic herbal teas, soups, and colourful, one-pot meals like vegetable curries, you can pack in all these nutrient-dense foods more easily. 

In our modern world, it’s easy to spend all day indoors and in front of screens. Not only does this reduce our physical movement, but it also means we spend less time connecting with nature and other people. Whatever your job or home life entails, it’s important to step outside for a moment of fresh air and sunshine, no matter how short: you could head out for a brisk walk before or after work, or simply wrap up and take your five-minute tea break outside.

Spending time in natural light not only boosts our mood, but also balances our circadian rhythms to help with sleep and helps us produce Vitamin D in the warmer months, which is key in maintaining immunity (Science Direct).

3) Productivity and organisation

Organising your home and work life is invaluable for keeping a clearer mind. While there are countless different diaries, organisers, and day planners out there – as well as productivity trends like bullet journals or time blocking – you can start off by writing a simple, daily to-do list. This breaks a potentially overwhelming task into smaller, more manageable goals that seem far more achievable.

For instance, if organising dinner every night is something you often have on your mind, experiment with meal planners. Or, if you find yourself feeling restless at your desk but have a project to finish, taking small five-minute breaks every hour rather than one long one could work much better for you. You’ll soon learn what your brain responds best to: everybody is different.

If you often struggle with productivity, incorporating natural, organic supplements to your diet could also help you find some clarity. Key ingredients like turmeric, rosemary, and brahmi can aid in clearing the fog and supporting your mental focus, helping you to feel motivated and accomplished at the end of your day.

4) Digital detox

Our use of technology means that the boundary between work and home life can get a little hazy. Being constantly reachable means it’s easy to get lured back into work tasks when the day is over, and we can often feel guilty for not responding to emails straight away. To lessen this feeling of constant connectivity, try to set a dedicated time every day to log off from your emails, turn off your work phone and properly decompress. 

However, the same should also be done for social media once in a while. Whether you set a time to stop scrolling every evening or have a device-free day each week (such as a Sunday), a break from social media can give us a sense of perspective that is easy to lose with a constant stream of images and information heading our way.

5) Rest and recharge

Finally, one of the most crucial tools we have to nurture our mental health is sleep. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, getting the right amount of sleep for you is vital for our mood, metabolism, cognitive function, and virtually everything else our bodies needs (NHS).

As you start your night-time routine, avoid the temptation of your phone or laptop by keeping devices out of the bedroom: screens emit blue light, which interferes ith melatonin production and disrupt your sleep. 

To help you drift off into a deeper, easier rest, try curling up with a book and a warming cup of a herbal tea. Soothing ingredients like chamomile, lavender and valerian give us a natural way to unwind and can improve quality of sleep, so you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Alongside a colourful, balanced diet and a mindful lifestyle, organic herbs and supplements can help you transform the way you feel. By practicing daily self-care, you can slow down and take stock of how you’re coping with day-to-day life. Making your physical and mental health a priority in this way means you can look forward to a clearer, quieter mind.

Photo by Annie Spratt