This is a topic close to my heart and head.
Every single day I read it, I listen to it and I feel it.
“It’s ok not to be ok.”
“Let’s talk about mental health.”
Everywhere I look there is awareness surrounding mental health. I think it’s great but what’s next after you talk?
I’ve been thinking about this for a while. And this is what I’ve came up with.
I’m going to give you five tools which cover: your physical self, daylight, activity, checklists and connection. These tools are at your disposable from the minute you finish this article. You can use them right now, today, tomorrow and every day of your life.
I am not a doctor or a psychologist and so what I discuss are purely tools I use to protect and improve my own mindset.
Ok, here we go:
Look after your physical self. Water and food. Water all day everyday. And food. Fill yourself with good foods. You wouldn’t put unleaded in a diesel car, it wouldn’t work properly. So don’t put the wrong fuel in yourself. Otherwise prepare to function below your best. This is a step you can take right now. Grab yourself a bottle of water and keep it topped up throughout the day. Fill your plate and your belly with good foods, fruits and vegetables. This may seem basic but all too often they are overlooked and neglected.
Get access to daylight. The minute you wake up get access to daylight. Open your blinds, curtains and windows. This is the easy step. You can go one step further. Get up, dressed and get outside. Five to ten minutes of daylight in the morning will help wake your body up. Accessing natural daylight reminds your body it’s time to wake-up. Let me give you an example, our bodies crave the sun and daylight. In summer we flock to sunny parts of the world to bask in all its glory. The simple explanation for this is that our bodies crave it. We soak up the Vitamin D, we have a smile on our face and we feel great! Think back to a time you were on holiday and how good the sun makes you feel. Get outside and do it as often as you can.
Pursue physical activity. No, you don’t have to lift weights or run a marathon. You simply have to move. And move everyday. This is different but essential for everyone. Walking counts, dancing counts, weight lifting counts, tennis counts, running counts, cycling counts… you get the idea. Any time you consciously and actively move it counts. It gets the blood flowing in the body, it can provide a meditative state for some, it can act as a reset for others and the dopamine hit after physical activity is the best drug you will ever get your hands on!
Checklist it. The key benefit and the most important benefit, I believe, in having a checklist is that it provides you with a purpose for the day. This checklist could be one thing, two things, three things or a whole host of things. All you need to do is get whatever tasks you have in your head down on paper or on your phone. Organise yourself a daily checklist. It doesn’t have to be strictly work things or serious things. It can be daft things, fun things, silly things, anything. My typical list usually consists of times of the day and I then allocate specific tasks to those times. For now, it includes university work, personal training sessions, my own training sessions and the usual odd job around the house. The benefits are powerful. Some of which include an organised mind, a sense of satisfaction from completing tasks and lastly you will never forget to do anything you have written down!
Connect. Message a friend, colleague, family member and ask them how they are. Start a conversation. This is not just for their benefit but for yours. You may pick someone up at a time when they’re feeling low or you might get into a special conversation. All too often it is easy to get caught up in work or in your own head. Take a moment it could be daily or weekly to think about others around you. We are social creatures.
Prior to connecting, consider who it is you are connecting with. Are they a positive influence on you and your life? Is connecting with them the right thing for you today? Are you going to be in a better state after you connect then you were before? This is a selfish but important question to ask yourself before connecting with those around you.
These are five simple but effective methods to regain some traction in your mind and life. If you feel the dark clouds closing in try one or all of the above.
I promise you these will help. If they don’t help you tell that friend or family member.
It might help them.