In the past couple of weeks I’ve started to realise something – I feel more like me than I have done in a long time. I feel energetic and driven and focussed on what I want to achieve, and other than a couple of panicky moments here and there, my anxiety has been pretty much under control.
It’s amazing really, how sometimes you don’t realise how poorly you’ve been until you start to feel better again. But I do feel better, and so today I wanted to share the 4 changes that have helped improve my mental health. I must stress that these are the things that have helped me, and it’s always a good idea to talk about what might work for you with a professional.
I’m one of those people who thinks they hate exercise. I sign up for the gym classes or schedule a run in my diary, and then I spend the entire day coming up with excuses to get me out of it. And sure, exercise isn’t always the easiest thing to do and it probably isn’t as fun as eating a Domino’s on the sofa, but my GOD, does it make a difference to my mental health.
A 30 minute jog makes me feel like I can achieve world domination – my mind is clearer, I sleep better and those positive endorphins really do cheer me up. I absolutely believe that trying to get back into a regular running routine has massively helped me get my anxiety under control and it’s a much better destress button then reaching for a glass of vino.
2) Getting a pet
Okay, so I know this might not be the kind of advice you’d expect to read in a post like this, but I swear that adopting out little kitty has worked wonders for my mental health. There’s something so comforting about coming home to someone waiting at the door to greet you, and cuddling Lola on the sofa is the perfect way to switch off after a stressful day at work.
And it’s not just me – studies have shown that petting a dog or a cat helps to lower your heart rate. I think that the routine and structure that comes with looking after a pet is definitely a contributing factor too. Whatever the reason, I can wholeheartedly say that I’ve been infinitely happier since adding our little fur baby to our family.
3) Plenty of sleep
We all know that sleep is good for us, but I don’t think I realised quite how important it was until I wasn’t getting enough. I’ve never been someone who struggled with sleep and I’ve always managed around 8 hours a night, but a combination of a busy summer schedule and quite a bit of stress was making this impossible.
However, recently I’ve switched up my routine a bit and prioritised those much needed early nights, and it’s made the world of difference. Life just feels that little bit less overwhelming when I’m fully rested – I feel calmer, more measured in my decision making and I have the energy to tackle my to do list.
4) Learning to prioritise the right stuff
I think this last point has been the biggest game changer for me. I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to let anybody down, and as a result I always end up with a crazy busy schedule of work commitments and social events – sometimes just looking at my diary can make me feel a bit panicky about fitting everything in.
I’ve realised recently though that I can only be a good friend/wife/employee/daughter/blogger if I look after myself first, and so I’ve been trying to free up some space in my diary for down time. I’ve been saying yes to the stuff that I really want to do, and politely declining the rest so that I can spend a little bit of time chilling out at home, and honestly, that free time has been the biggest gift I could have given myself.
There you have it 4 changes that have helped improve my mental health. Do you find that these things also work for you?