2020 was an unprecedented year, and whilst global health stormed the headlines with COVID-19, it was easy for us to put our mental wellbeing on the back burner. However, a constant bombardment of frightening news combined with exceptional levels of social isolation, creating a challenging situation for our mental health. After such a year, everyone should be looking to reboot and reset their mental health habits.
Building A Routine
Developing a routine can have a powerful impact on your mental wellbeing. A routine effectively acts as reassuring signposts for your body and mind, providing stability and certainty that helps us to thrive. Routine is fundamental to sleep, so try getting to bed at the same time each night, and getting up at the same time each morning. By cementing sleep in our daily habits, we’ll be better rested, boost our concentration and focus throughout the day and even grow more confident. When it feels like we’re losing control of our lives, a strong routine brings us back to earth.
2021 is a year to reset some of the things we lost in the last year - the level of loneliness and isolation caused by lockdowns and remote working patterns has been substantial. Try reaching out to friends and family, some of whom you may have lost touch with as opportunities to gather dwindled. “Take a stroll in the park, or just invest in the technologies such as Zoom that are bringing us together, remotely,” says Alice Cox, a lifestyle writer at Ukservicesreviews and Simplegrad. Call up your gym buddy and head to Fit Factory together!
Research has drawn a proven link between the act of volunteering and a number of mental health benefits, such as reductions in stress and anxiety and an improved sense of wellbeing. Finding opportunities in your community to volunteer can be firmly empowering and can be aligned with your personal interests. Whether it’s the dog shelter or the local food bank, volunteering brings us into a close connection to the world, leading to positive ramifications for our mental health. Volunteering can also lead to new career opportunities and close friendships - you never know what you’ll find.
Meditation and mindfulness are being embraced with open arms by many Western practitioners, and mental health professionals are increasingly espousing the benefit of these practices. “Mindfulness gives us the opportunity to pause a hectic life, and spending even five minutes in quiet contemplation can help our anxieties ease away,” says Darnell J. Weiss, a psychology blogger at Studydemic and Best essay writing services. “Starting a gratitude journal is a great way of stepping towards the good things in your life, highlighting one thing you’re thankful for each day can reframe the challenges of your life and lead to a positive mindset.”
We really are what we eat. Our diet has a subtle impact on our mental wellbeing, from the direct effect our gut bacteria has on our sense of anxiety, to indirect benefits that come from the empowering feeling of taking positive steps for our wellbeing. Whilst in a tough year we’re all going to have needed treats from time to time, cutting back on sugars and basic carbohydrates can lead to a renewed sense of energy, enabling us to take further steps for our mental health. Starting the day right with breakfast packed with fruit, yogurt, seeds and nuts can set us on the right track. It’s incredible how much mental wellbeing can flow from a positive start to the day.
Taking small steps each day to build a routine that puts mental wellbeing first can have a powerful impact over the days and weeks. One of the biggest challenges is getting started, as feelings of hopelessness and impotence are heavy burdens. But even small actions can get you back on track - make it your mission to get an early night or eat a healthy breakfast, or to check in with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Spiral upwards through habitual changes to make 2021 a great year.
Emily Henry is a writer and health professional at Top Canadian Writers and Essay Roo. Emily is passionate about publicising the small lifestyle changes which contribute to better mental wellbeing. She also writes for Boom Essays.