The mental health issues we’re experiencing around the world since this pandemic began are extremely serious and will be felt long after the pandemic ends. We therefore need to be very aware of our own mental health and get professional help when we need it (one example of how to do this is by making use of Fedhealth’s brand new stress and anxiety benefit). But this doesn’t mean that we can’t also take some fun steps to try and lift our mental health on a daily basis too.
With that in mind, here are 10 activities to schedule into your diaries this month:
- Call someone you love. Yes, you over there, the one who thinks he or she is allergic to phone calls. You may think you’re communicating just fine using social media or instant messaging, but the truth is that nothing beats hearing a loved one’s voice. Think of someone you care about, pick up the phone and have a real conversation with them.
- Unsubscribe! How many annoying emails arrive in your inbox that you have to delete on a daily basis? Probably quite a few. Instead of constantly deleting them, take one minute to click on the Unsubscribe button. You’ll get less clutter in your inbox, freeing up more mental space for calmer thoughts.
- Wake up 30 minutes earlier. We know this doesn’t sound particularly fun right now but if you’re getting enough sleep, 30 minutes less is not going to make a huge difference. Set your alarm clock, wake up before the rest of the house and spend the quiet time planning, journaling or meditating, setting you up for the day.
- Send five people a compliment. Praising others actually has the added bonus of making YOU feel better as well. Tell someone you love their new profile picture, compliment the barista for that great cup of coffee, or send an email to your child’s teacher telling them how well they’re doing – as examples.
- Create a playlist. Music is an instant mood booster, but we can get stuck in a rut playing the same old tunes. Start a new playlist of songs you love – maybe it’s 90s grunge, or comforting classics, or rock songs from your 20s? Anything that makes you feel good needs to go on that list, which you can then listen to whenever the right moment strikes.
- Dress up a little. We’ve all been slouching around in our active wear and PJs over lockdown (and now working from home), and this can certainly affect our moods. If you’re not already back in the office, then pick a day to make an effort with your appearance, whether this is doing your hair, putting on makeup or wearing a nice jacket or dress – then plan an excursion like meeting a friend for coffee.
- Cook a mindful meal. You’re probably used to shoving cereal down your throat, or grabbing a readymade sandwich from the supermarket for lunch. Instead, try and plan a tasty meal, seeking out a recipe you’ve always wanted to try. Buy the ingredients, prepare it yourself and then sit and savour the meal with no other distractions.
- Take a social media holiday. Easier said than done, we know, but it can do your head the world of good. Delete the apps off your phone, refrain from visiting them on your computer, just free up space in your head for calmer, more positive thoughts.
- Get rid of three things you never use. Decluttering our physical lives has the wonderful effect of helping to declutter our minds too. Look around you and clean out your kitchen drawer, donate a jacket you no longer wear, or take books you won’t read again to a charity shop.
- Go for a walk. Many of us exercise to keep physically fit, but slower exercise like walking is very good for our minds too. Meet a friend and catch up while you stroll around the neighbourhood, breathe in the fresh air and feel more grounded in your environment and your community.
We all need to be proactive about managing our own mental health and implementing small daily habits is just one way to help do that.