Reset your mental health

To say that our mental health pivoted last year is an understatement. It was a messy rollercoaster ride with hardly any opportunity to switch off. Thankfully it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s 2022 so it’s basically a new life (hopefully free from further lockdowns). The start of a new year means you can reflect, reset your mental health and set some new goals. 

Looking after our mental health is an ongoing commitment that you need to invest time and energy into. Let’s make these new year resolutions the ones you follow through with. 

Here are five ways you can reset your wellbeing equilibrium: 

1. REALLY take time off work 

We know how it goes. You check your phone, open that email from a client, and now you can’t stop thinking about it until you reply. Next thing you know you’re knee-deep in emails. Let your clients know your leave dates, put them up on your social media channels and stick to them. 

Set up the vacation responder, turn the notifications off, put your phone down and don’t think about your business. On iPhone you can set up a new Focus function, limiting who or the apps you receive notifications from. Turn this function on if it helps. 

If you’re struggling to do so, have a think about the why. Are there urgent things on the list you need to tick to get your ducks in a row? Do you need to set up more internal processes? Perhaps delegate some responsibilities to others?

mental health

2. Meditation 

The benefits of meditation and practising mindfulness are well documented in recent research. It is all about being in the present moment, engaging your senses and allowing thoughts to come and go without judgement. Reduced stress, better concentration, reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety and improved mental strength are just a few reasons to start practising even just five minutes a day. 

If you’re not sure where to start, apps like Smiling Mind and Headspace guide you through anything from a quick morning affirmation meditation to a serious half-hour session. Take baby steps, keep practising and you’ll start feeling the benefits in no time. 

3. Exercise 

Pick your poison. Or a few. Your choice. Studies show that the more active you are, the better your brain runs the ship. Add reduced stress, better focus and all the health benefits such as better cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure to that… It’s basically a miracle drug. 

Pick a physical activity you actually enjoy and stick with it! Block time out and put it in your calendar. Consider doing it with friends and family to keep yourself accountable. If you think exercise is hard or you don’t have the time to do it, going for a daily ten-minute walk is a great start. 

4. Get enough sleep 

If we had to guess, more likely than not, you don’t get enough sleep – a whole eight hours of it. Lack of sleep adds up and it contributes to lower productivity and mood. So if you’re feeling worn out at the end of the week, sleep deprivation could be the reason. Make sleep a priority in 2022! Get into the routine and let your body clock do the rest of the work for you. 

Research tells us that REM sleep helps with emotional memory and information processing, amongst all the other good stuff. *Hello free therapy?!* So it’s no surprise that brain imaging studies revealed that we have better mental and emotional resilience when we have a good night’s sleep. In turn, if we are constantly sleep deprived, it is linked to poorer physical health and worsened mental health conditions. Allow yourself to get some consistent, quality sleep and stop checking those work emails after working hours! 

5. Eat a *slightly* more nutritious diet

There’s no one size fits all approach to nutrition. What you eat has a direct impact on how it makes you feel so picking what you put in your body is important. Make sure you’re eating the right amount of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and drinking plenty of water. Feeding the brain with enough nutrients can protect it from the effects of oxidants, which can negatively affect our mood. There’s a well-established link between diet and physical health, which consequently affects our mental health. 

We love a good brunch date or a cheese platter with wine night. There’s no way we’re giving those up. However, eating out less, having enough fruits and vegetables each day and being mindful of what you’re adding to your meals when you cook are a few things you can implement to eat a more balanced diet. 

There are many small things you can do each day to help keep you from feeling overwhelmed and reduce your stress. By developing the right habits, you can effectively reboot your mind and work more efficiently. And with a clear head comes better business decisions and getting closer to that elusive work-life balance.