If you’re someone who has struggled with their mental health before, I’m sure you’ll agree that it is an every day job to work on. Our health as a whole needs to become a long term lifestyle to live by rather than a chore or doing things just because we know we should. This I think comes from being educated in your own health and feeling worthy enough of maximising your health potential; which is what I believe a lot of mental health stems from. Here are my top tips for mental health lifestyle measures:
When you’re feeling anxious, the body subconsciously creates short quick breaths that aren’t actually productive breaths. Short, quick breathing means less oxygen around the body (and brain) and can contribute to fatigue. You can imagine over time people who are suffering from anxiety are more so affected by this from this reduced oxygen. Whenever you have a moment to yourself… watching tv, driving, at red lights etc, check in to what your breathing is like. Practice making more mindful deep inhales and exhales. This breath work also ties in to why other advice for mental health like exercise and drinking minimum 2L water a day are important for oxygen around the body.
I cannot rave enough about the practice of yoga for people who are exhausted or anxious. Yoga teaches you these vital deep breathing techniques and over time, like anything we practice, it becomes second nature to you. Aside from the physical movement itself, listening to the teachings that are repeated in classes like:
“If this doesn’t feel right for you then don’t force yourself”
“Be thankful for the body you have and what it can do”
“Do whatever feels right for you at this present moment”
“Notice how your body feels in this position”
Hearing repetitive affirmations like this helps develop that mindset of loving your physical body, self-love, being proud of taking time out for yourself, not forcing anything, listening to your body and only partaking in activities/socialising with people that align with your true self. This is what I love about yoga, it’s not about whether you can nail a pose (although how exciting is it when you can!), it’s about challenging your body and being in tune with your whole self. If a yoga studio isn’t for you, then there are also loads of youtube videos and apps that make it easy to practice at home.
Do more of what you love
What activities bring you joy? In anxiety and depression, there are certain neurotransmitters that are decreased, and multiple research studies have shown the connection between these hormones being increased when implementing things the participants loved. It be anything; cooking, being out in nature, watching Netflix, art, puzzles, any type of exercise, listening to podcasts or music, socialising with friends. These NEED to be in your routine regularly. We can get so caught up in our busy life with work etc that this sort of stuff gets put to the side, but it is so so important and it should be scheduled into our time just like anything else. Get those happy hormones flowing and embrace your hobbies, doctor’s orders!
Teresa Oddi is a degree qualified Naturopath with a special interest in treating immune conditions such as autoimmune disease and allergies as well as fatigued states. She is available for consultation Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. To book your appointment with Teresa click HERE