In order to live a holistic lifestyle, you need to nurture your mental health, just as much as your physical; One cannot thrive without the other.
Mental health is made up of our emotional, psychological and our social well-being. It influences how we think, how we feel and how we act. Therefore, it not only affects our mental thought process, but also our moods and our behaviour.
Many internal or external factors can have an affect on our mental health; a common culprit being stress.
However stress can be caused by anything, from financial instability, relationship strain, a busy work life, grief and so on. But it’s important to remember that we all suffer from some sort of stress on an everyday basis; but when you begin to feel overwhelmed, that is your body telling you that something is up.
Some early warning signs of being over-stressed include:
- Changed in eating & sleeping patterns
- Withdrawing from people or loved ones
- Low levels of energy
- Muscle aches & pain
- Increased anxiousness
- Changing & unpredictable temper
- Excessive worrying
- Mood swings
- Experiencing difficulty performing simple tasks
Now, here are some tips to help combat feelings of stress:
- Eat fresh foods (e.g.fruits & vegetables)
- Take time out to rest and let your mind relax. Have a massage, meet a friend for coffee or write in a journal… do something that calms YOU!
- Take a walk; Physical exercise has proven to be extremely important in reducing stress levels and aiding mental health.
- Prioritise your time and learn to say no.
- Try your best to get plenty of sleep.
- Utilise essential oils throughout your house to promote calmness.
- Listen to or fill your house with music that makes you happy and calms you.
- Watch your favourite movie – preferably a happy one or one that makes you laugh!
- Try to reflect to put things into perspective and change your mental mindset.
- Reach out and talk to someone.
- Take a deep breath in, hold for five seconds and breathe out slowly. Repeat this five times.
NOTE: Practicing deep and calming breathing can give you instant relief during a stressful situation.
How to practice deep breathing at home…
- Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit down.
- Start by taking a normal breath whilst observing and focussing on that breath. Now begin to slow it down. Take a deep, healing, diaphragmatic breath. The air coming in through your nose should move downward in to your lower belly. Let your abdomen expand fully.Then breathe out through your mouth at the same pace.
- Blend your breathing with a visual aid. In your mind you can see whatever you choose to. Take yourself there. I match this to my breathing.
- Add on an affirmation or mantra. Again, this is yours to create, so it can be anything you choose. Mine is “I feel safe and I feel calm.” I then match this to my breathing.
By practising types of deep controlled breathing you can boost your energy levels, lower your anxiety and put you in a complete state of relaxation.