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This post is all about habits to improve mental health
Would you like easy habits to improve mental health today? They say do ALL of this and you’ll feel better. Or do ALL of that and improve your life. It can be overwhelming. I’ve been there and you are not alone! If your life feels like a complete disaster at the moment, all of those tips can turn you off and make you want to recluse even further. Instead, it’s a much better idea to start small with one or two simple things that you have access to every day. So, this post today is going to give you a few tools to improve mental health starting today (if you have the space to do so). Try one for a while and see if it makes you feel any better. Or don’t, the choice is always yours!
In this guide, I’m sharing 5 habits to help you improve your mental health. They include:
Let’s get into it so you can start feeling better today!
5 Easy habits To Improve Mental Health today
1. Get Outside
This could quite simply be the easiest tip you can execute today. You don’t need to spend hours outside and you don’t even have to meditate on a rock. Just get out in the fresh air and let the sun hit your skin. If you have 5 minutes, great! Working at an office or any indoor building? Take your break outside.
Many of us have lost touch with nature due to current lifestyles. Desk jobs that have us inside most of the day, living in cities that take us away from nature, technology that keeps us scrolling inside, and cozy homes that shelter us from the elements. Getting back to nature is a simple remedy that has many benefits!
The benefits of getting outside each day help you get fresh air, allow your body to make vitamin D by the sun hitting your skin (essential for your immune system), relieve stress/ anxiety, and improve mental health!
2. Go Barefoot
Have you ever heard of “grounding” or “earthing“? It’s a trendy topic that is spreading like wildfire amongst health and wellness groups. This practice has been a part of human culture since the beginning of time so why are we talking about it now? Well, instead of wearing conductive animal skin shoes and actually sleeping on the earth, we are now wearing non-conductive rubber shoes and living in sheltered homes that aren’t grounded. We as a human race just aren’t getting barefoot in the dirt anymore. Not even our kids!
What is earthing exactly? It simply means to touch the earth through bare skin, such as going barefoot. Doing this allows nature to remove free radicals from our bodies. You know, the same free radicals you hear about doing damage to our bodies and leaving us looking older. Our bodies are great at conducting free electrons. This exchange of electrons from the earth to the human body and vice versa is nature’s free antidepressant!
For maximum benefit, it’s recommended by Earthing to go barefoot for at least 30 minutes. But don’t let time stop you. If you have 5 minutes, do 5 minutes! There are also products such as grounding mats, sheets, and shoes if you just can’t find the time. I’ll link my favorite grounding products here.
Surfaces that are considered conductive are: grass, sand, dirt, soil, plants, rocks & gravel that are touching the earth, unsealed concrete, unsealed brick, and bodies of water. So, get to Earthing already!
3. Drink More Water
This is a no brainer and I know you’ve been told this tip before. So here I am, nagging you again! Drinking more water can be difficult for some if it’s not a daily habit. “How much water should I drink each day?” you might ask. A general rule of thumb (and easy way to remember) is take your weight in pounds, cut that in half and that is how many ounces you should drink a day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink about 75 ounces of water per day. For visual learners, that’s 150 lb./2 = 75 oz/day. That’s a little over 2 Liters. Remember, every ‘body’ is different so drink what feels right to you. Don’t force it, your body is so incredibly smart.
You’re probably thinking “how on earth am I going to drink 2 liters a day!?” Don’t freak out, it is totally possible. My first recommendation to those of you who are not currently drinking enough water is start with being aware that you need to drink more water. Make one small change such as drinking a glass (8oz) of water first thing when you wake up. Before your coffee. Your body works really hard overnight to detox, so drinking water first thing helps flush out those toxins. Another tip (slightly harder to do) is replacing a non-water beverage with water. Soda drinker? I hate to break it to you but there is almost no value in drinking soda, and it has many health implications. Try to swap out one soda session with water per day. Then work your way up to quitting the habit entirely.
There are SO many benefits to upping your water intake. A well hydrated body increases oxygen intake which therefore can increase energy. Water flushes out toxins which can help your skin glow healthier. If you’re constipated, increased water intake can help move things along. Your body is made up of around 80% water so it’s important for proper body functions to maintain hydration status. There’s also the topic on quality of water but that will get a post entirely on its own!
4. Move Your Body
Here’s another tip that you’ve heard over and over again. But let’s look at this from a mental health perspective rather than a weight loss stance. Yes, of course, we all want to look our best and that DOES boost self-confidence, which in turn improves mental health. That’s not what we’re focusing on today. If you know why moving your body helps improve mental health, it’s easier to get motivated to do it.
When you move your body, there are so many positive body functions that take place. Your lymphatic fluids get moving which means improved detoxing takes place. Exercise increases happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Even short bursts of movement (30 minutes) can improve sleep and better sleep does wonders for your health. I could do an entire post on the importance of sleep alone! A study done by Harvey, Samuel B et al. “Exercise and the Prevention of Depression: Results of the HUNT Cohort Study.” showed that regular activity resulted in reduced instances of depression.
There are so many mental and physical blocks that keep people from exercising and that’s okay. We all struggle. If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a “take baby steps” kind of person. I’ve fallen into the “all or nothing” camp plenty of times and I have always failed in the end. So, I’m a firm believer in creating habits one baby step at a time. Start with going for a 10-minute walk somewhere in your day. Better yet how about get outside, go barefoot, and take a walk for 10 minutes? That covers 3 of these tips in a matter of minutes!
5. Go to Bed early
This is my favorite tip because who doesn’t love sleeping? If you’re a mom of young ones like me, I know you fall victim to staying up late to scroll social media and/or binge watch your favorite show. Even if you don’t have littles, doing this after a long day of work has been known to happen too. I get it. And sometimes that’s okay. It can be a form of self-care to do things you enjoy that you can’t enjoy because you take care of children ALL. DAY. LONG. But the healthier option to do MOST nights is to tuck yourself in a couple hours before midnight and here’s why.
Many sleep experts agree that going to bed before midnight is when you get your best, most restorative sleep. This is your NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep cycle that happens at the beginning of the night where most of your body’s restoration happens. Your REM (rapid eye movement) cycle happens more towards the last two thirds of sleep and when most of your dreams occur. It’s also your lightest form of sleep. So, if you want your best sleep and your best chance at feeling refreshed for the next day, try going to bed around 10pm.
You can take it a step further and find out your chronotype by The Sleep Doctor to get a tailored bedtime schedule for optimal sleep. Not every ‘body’ is the same so that means not everyone going to bed at 10pm will feel great. There are always more factors to consider such as health status, stress, life events, etc.
Start using these tips to improve mental health
Now you know 5 simple, very easy habits to improve mental health. These are actions that you can take TODAY! These aren’t groundbreaking, novel ideas to improve mental health. These are tips that are so natural and so innate in us as human beings living on Earth. We have just drifted from them a bit as our civilization and technology have evolved. So, when in doubt, go back to the basics. Go back to Earth.