Recovery from a physical or a mental illness takes time but there are simple steps you can take to get there.
1. Sleep: Aim for a consistent sleep pattern and try to get at least seven hours every night if you can. Make sure you turn off all wifi/phones and other light emitting devices that would disturb your sleep during the night as well. (For more tips on sleep - check out this blog post)
2. Exercise: Stimulate your body to produce more energy and improve the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood. Leg raises, butt clenches, stretching, the list goes on. Even one-minute bursts of body movement can be very helpful, so don't let physical illness or a lack of motivation limit you from doing something small.
3. Get Outside: Studies have associated a lack of vitamin D (obtained from sunlight) to mental (and other) health issues. Green spaces are also shown to improve people's mental states, so what are you waiting for? Get exploring!
4. Eat: A varied diet with quality protein/meat intake alongside lots of vegetables is key to feeling good. Try and eliminate highly processed foods if you can and eat low glycemic (sugar) index foods to reduce blood sugar spikes.
5. Gratitude: Take a minute every day before you start the day or before you go to bed to reflect on 1 thing you are grateful for. It will help you realise that you are connected to something bigger than yourself and it will bring both perspective and happiness into your life.
6. Get Social: Developing healthy relationships are associated with decreasing rates of death and illness. Find love/companionship with friends, family or a pet. If it's more physical touch that you're missing in your life, massages are a nice way to relax and meet that need.
7. Counselling: If you find yourself struggling through it all alone, it might be time to get some professional help to move you to where you need/want to be. A psychologist, life-coach or a counsellor can help you with goal setting and shifting your focus to the future. Find available therapists on Clearhead
8. Breathe: Deep belly breathing can help support relaxation and therefore the parasympathetic nervous system response. This helps the ‘rest and digest’ functions of the body and can also help reduce inflammation and therefore support your body's healing.
9. Meditate: De-stress either with guided meditations or if you have experience in meditation, on your breath or mantra. Get started for free on Clearhead with our guided meditations. If meditation on your breath is too challenging and brings up difficult emotions - practice a mindful exercise instead (see below).
10. Mindfulness: Slow down and focus on the task at hand - be it washing the dishes, showering, being in the garden. Notice what you are seeing / hearing / touching / smelling. Slow your eating down, spend time with your food, savor the flavours and be in the moment.
Bringing in any or all of the above will support your well-being and help you take the step necessary to get well :)
Helen Duyvestyn, Mental Health Nurse, (RcN, MHSc)