12 Ways to Protect Mental Wellbeing
by: Remie Longbrake | published: July 12, 2020
There are so many ways our outside world effects our inner wellbeing. Especially in today’s environment. Covid-19 has made things much more challenging.
Concerns in world events, both local and afar, really do impact our thoughts, emotions, and actions.
Safeguarding our mental wellbeing is extremely important. It is also important to self-evaluate our wellbeing and the environment around us.
We all want a less stressful life. What can be done to accomplish that is what makes the difference in how we feel going forward. Use these steps to help protect ourselves and stay positive.
1. Talk it out
Talking things through is a crucial step to discovering and ultimately overcoming a stressed mental state. Being honest and opening up to family, friends, or a trustworthy source can make a lot of difference.
Opening up to others by no means is a sign of weakness. In fact, it proves you’re strong enough to show others that you are human. As we all experience challenges, you care enough about yourself to say something and speak up.
Some ways to speak up can include:
“What do you think of x…?
“Can we talk about x…?”
“I’ve been struggling with x…”
“Could you help me with x…?”
“I would like to share x with you…?”
Use these conversation starters to reach out to others who can help. It is very crucial to say something, especially when it bothers you. Keeping thoughts and emotions inside is not healthy. Fear, anger, resentment can all build and over time make the situation worse. It may not always seem like the best option in a given moment, however, if you relate speaking up with being honest, then that is the best decision you can ultimately make.
2. Write it down
Writing down our thoughts is a powerful resource. Taking time to write our ideas, thoughts, and concerns has an enormous effect on our wellbeing. It’s probably one of the most under-utilized and missed opportunities available to us. Both good and bad, our thoughts influence who we are and become. When we take the time to write these thoughts down, we can then reflect on these thoughts and get a better idea of what we are doing and how we truly feel.
A couple ways to organize our thoughts is to keep a journal beside your bed. Each morning or night, write down your thoughts, experiences, and ideas. You can disregard these notes if you wish or revisit them over time and see how far you have come.
Another way to gather thoughts is to keep a small writing pad on your possession. This could go in your pocket as I handy workbook to collect notes in. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve missed out on opportunities because I didn’t have something to write on. I personally try to keep a notebook on me where ever possible. It can be for a simple reminder, but also we can make short notes throughout to day on what we are feeling and what ideas we have in a given moment.
Consider using these options when collecting your thoughts. I may be easier to log these thoughts on your phone instead, and you can do just that, however, for many, there is a powerful response to seeing your thoughts on paper vs electronically. Certainly it can take more time and effort, but also consider what you are missing without by doing so altogether.
3. Do meditation
Meditation is very powerful for a healthy mind and body. Meditation is about taking time to think, sometimes spiritually, but not always. It provide oneself with insight with how we feel, and when done correctly can provide emotional healing and aptitude to overcome the trials we face both internally and externally. If you have not partaken to meditation there are some great online resources if you are not familiar, and we are happy to assist as well.
Be basis to meditation is to get in a quite space. Put in headphone and white noise if you need to, however you want an ambience where you can think in a positive manner and allow emotions to aspire and inspire your thinking.
4. Take some time off
Trying to get everything “done” is admirable, but the trouble with that is eventually you will need to recover, and that includes your emotional wellbeing along with your physical body.
We as Americans are a productive society in general. The problem is however, that we work quite a bit. Especially now, with many working from our homes, we will tend to mesh our working lives with our home lives, therefore pushing ourselves even more so to get everything done, without traditional breaks that we would take if at our jobs. Over time, this will take its toll, and stress will build, especially when trying to stay healthy and provide for a family. It can be easy to get overwhelmed. Now with Covid-19, and a lack of options to go to our usual places or distressing, such a gyms and restaurants, we do need to be careful to not enclose ourselves too much by staying in and loathing in our current difficulties we are facing.
Overall, taking time off can and should be done. If you are not on a specific break schedule, start including that in your day. If anything, try to set time in advance with the understanding that after a specific task you will take time off, even if just for a short time. Ideally, a minimum of 5 minutes per hour. Of course days off are good too, especially to spend time with family and doing what you enjoy.
Depending on where you are and the amount of time available, here are some “Time off” options to consider:
• Taking a walk
• Call up a friend or loved one
• Listen to music
• Take quite time
• Read a book
• Listen to an audio or podcast
• Take a nap
Be careful to not go overboard by contributing time off with drinking alcohol and activities such as smoking. Do your body good and put your mind at ease with the suggestions from above, along with other healthy options you enjoy doing.
5. Keeping active lifestyle
Your physical and mental health are connected than you may think. Exercising can reduce symptoms of anxiety as effectively as medication in some cases. There’s something special about being active, whether that is at the gym or just being outside enjoying nature.
There is no clear answer on what is better for optimum mental wellness. Really, it’s about doing what you enjoy and living a healthy lifestyle as much as possible. Many people enjoy going to the gym, whether that is lifting weights or doing cardio. Some people either don’t enjoy the gym or currently cannot because of Covid-19 regulations. In these times, it’s important to find alternatives to keep active and don’t choose to not work out at all because the circumstances have changed outside of your control.
No matter your current fitness level, it is important to do something that keeps you active. Even if that is a walk outside, that is still better then choosing to watch television or scroll Facebook. Don’t be afraid to try new things as interests can change over time. Biking, tennis, basketball, and even low impact exercises like yoga have huge benefits. Do your body and mind a favor, get outside and do something, starting today, and be safe doing it!
6. Get committed
Staying committed to something is a great way to overcome emotional adversity. Especially if you are in a rut, committing to positive results can have a huge influence for your wellbeing. Commitment can be both good and bad for you however, so it is important to understand what the healthy motivations you enjoy really are.
There is also a powerful motivator knowing that you are accomplishing something of importance. In ways in can be exciting, especially when it is new to you. These commitments can be described as goals as well if you feel that way about them. Goals, keep in mind are a place to come from, not necessarily a place to get to. That sort of thinking is not always simple, however it is extremely powerful when you can visualize the results you don’t yet possess and then commit yourself as that person. This sort of thinking also comes from a state of gratitude and being thankful for where you are at and where and what you are becoming. Commit and stay focused on your targets is a great feeling. Sharing in these moments with someone of importance certainly helps maintain the commitment level as well. Especially true if you commit towards sometimes and stay accountable to each other.
Just because you are committed, don’t expect that it will be smooth sailing though. In fact be ready for challenges. Let those challenges help motivate you to the desired result. It is improper thinking to allow negativity to impact your emotional wellness. See the obstructions are opportunities; that is where commitment takes control and your ability to push through becomes a more powerful resource.
7. Have more fun!
Yes, if you want true wellness in your life, you need to allow yourself to have fun. Having fun, should in fact, be a part of your commitment. Without fun, it will be very difficult to have overall satisfaction and fulfillment. Even more, you should find activities and relationships and naturally bring about feelings of happiness and fun moments. Fun is a part of being fulfilled; one can work and still have fun, because it is a part of the commitment process towards the overall wellness you are trying to achieve.
There will be times however, where fun will not be present and we will be faced with challenges or a negative situation. We all experience this daily to a certain degree. It is impossible to have nothing but happy times, even with endless supplies of money as many people might suspect and would feel solve life’s problems. In fact, money only makes the problems bigger, but that doesn’t mean we should avoid them. Happiness and having fun in general is a part of our being. Find ways to be happier. Take time to have fun, including in your relationships. Take time for your spouse and significant others. Have fun at work, and by yourself. Find those moments of bliss and let you fuel your life’s journey.
8. Eat healthier
You may not realize, however what you eat is actually a part of who you are, and not just physically. Choosing healthier alternatives can give a great boost of energy and help with overall wellbeing. Processed foods having chemicals that do change our thinking patterns and how we feel day to day. When we consume sweets for instance, that gives our body a rush of glucose, which is sugar. You have likely heard of a “Sugar high”, same applies afterwards, in which many of us will crash, after our bodies have processed this high so to speak.
Eating unhealthy is a slippery slope, however it is very common, almost to an epidemic state. It can be detrimental to our health long term. Diabetes for instance is at an all-time high. It’s because of our bad eating choices and all the processed foods we eat. The problem with processed foods is they have too much sugar, salt, and bad fats. By cooking meals at home, we can have a better diets.
So what does healthy foods include?
• Lean meats
• Whole grains
• Low-fat dairy
Eating healthier is a choice. It is much easier when the entire household is committed equally and motivates each other and rewards each other by making those better chooses. It is okay to occasionally have a meal that isn’t the best. However, the less you choose those poor eating chooses, the easier it will become to stick to a healthier diet plan.
9. Avoid alcohol, drugs, and smoking
Being at a peak state and involving yourself in any of these three do not go together. Often used as a coping mechanism, alcohol, drugs, and smoking will not help in the long term. It may provide a temporarily escape from the reality of things, but that is it. Although that bottle of beer can ease the tension for a moment, but we also need to look at why we go to these sources to begin with. For many, that answer is because this is what culture tells us it is for, as does our relatives, friends and those on television. At some point we need to ask ourselves, what is the alcohol, drugs, and smoking providing and why would we feel we need this drink or this smoke?
• Some question to ask yourself can include:
• What am I doing currently?
• Do I really feel better after doing this?
• Why do I choose this?
• Who are the influences directing me towards this choice?
• What other alternatives could I be doing right now?
Most times we choose these because we feel stressed or because we are bored. In order to figure out the cause, we need to look to our emotions and understand the why behind it. Truth is many people are too busy reacting to the external environment and choose something not because we want to but because that is what is customary.
For those who want success and want to overcome, it starts within. Sometimes, we don’t have the strength to do that, and that is okay too. The first step here, is to see there is a potential problem and take any action to move forward.
10. Avoid toxic people
Just as drinking and smoking are toxic to your wellbeing, so are people who contribute to a negative environment that you are a part of. Everyone’s circumstances are different. We cannot tell others to change or to act differently unless that person is ready to do so. That is why is so important for our wellbeing to remove ourselves from those people and places the best we can.
This can be a challenge for many. Sometime even when we see what negatives are in front of us, it still takes considerable effort and commitment to remove or at least limit ourselves from these environments. Those reasons differ, however it is especially difficult when we actually live with these people or work with them. You can attempt to have discussions either directly with these individuals or through someone else, but ultimately at a certain point if you feel you are being wronged or influenced in a negative way, then you need to be the one to step out of that situation in order to better yourself.
11. Limit social media
Especially in the times we are in, since many are working from home or not working, it is important to limit our time on social media and the negativity found on these platforms. There certainly can be good attributes to communicating through social media, however, there is also so much negativity as well. Whether that is a negative family member, a friend venting on Facebook, talking politics on Twitter, or just news in general, seeing to all this negativity does not bode well to our emotional wellbeing. It actually contributes to negative thinking long after you may have viewed the information or been in a conversation.
Consider placing limits on the amount of time you spend online. Do you best to avoid negative comments, conversations and emotional responses to what is not necessarily directed towards your own positive wellness. Get tough with yourself if needed. If you say you’ll be done online at 8, then when the time comes, stick to that. When you do start a conversation you can let the other person know at the beginning of the conversation what your time expectations will be.
12. Ask for help
It is perfectly acceptable to ask others for help when you are not feeling at your best. We all get this way, and too many of us simply ignore our feelings or feel we will burden someone else with our problems.
Do not be afraid to speak up regardless of what is affecting you.
Whatever you’re going through, remember, your mental wellbeing is important! Whether you’re in a tough environment, trying to give up a bad habit, struggling with diet, family, or loss, we all should be in support of each other. We all face challenges every day, but it is up to us and first say something and choose to a difference to others. Don’t let stress build up and affect the quality of your life. We are in this together and that is something to look forward to each day.
Notice. This article is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with your doctor regarding diet and lifestyle options specific to your needs.