I strongly believe that good mental health is the greatest of all the riches in the world. Actually, it’s priceless. Our mental wellbeing is the place through which we see, feel and experience EVERYTHING in our lives.
So this post can be a starting point for those who may not know where to begin - 8 simple rules that can dramatically improve your mental wellbeing if you follow them every day. Even starting with just one or two gives you a base to build upon over time.
Your mental health should be a top priority, which means being proactive and embracing the three golden rules of mental health practice - repeat, repeat, repeat.
So here they are:
1. Swap a Negative for a Positive
It’s like scrabble. Want to swap a tile to make a better word? It’s the same with your mind. Has a negative thought or feeling popped up? Swap it for a positive. Just try it.
“I wish I had a bigger house” to “I love my cosy home”
“Sitting in traffic winds me up” to “I enjoy listening to this playlist in the car”
“I hate getting up when it’s dark out” to “I love being awake for the sunrise”
2. Eat Well
Every time you’re about to eat, PAUSE and take two seconds to think about your options. Pick the healthier food. If you break this down to one meal at a time, your eating habits will improve and this has a very positive knock-on effect.
3. Drink Water
6 to 8 glasses a day if you can. But if you’re not very good with your H2O, start by drinking 2 more glasses than usual and build it up. Staying hydrated is a crucial component in maintaining a healthy body, and it makes you feel GOOD.
A minimum of 30 minutes a day is recommended by the NHS, but start with 15 if need be. A walk? Yoga? Swimming? Cycling? Or maybe weights or resistance training. Release those endorphins!
5. Do something kind for someone...
...without expecting anything in return. No gesture is too small. Make that person a coffee. Send that sweet text. Give an item of clothing to charity. Buy a couple of extra items at the supermarket and put them in the Food Drive. Sod it, hug a person that needs a hug. The world needs more hugs. You’ll feel good for it.
6. Do something for YOU
Every day. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
Ideas… Read a chapter of a book. Stand outside with the fresh air on your face. Go to football training. Watch a sitcom. Have a hot chocolate. Play on the Xbox (if you must 😉). Go to a friend or family member for a cuppa and a catch-up. Who do you miss who is overdue a visit?
We breathe automatically, like, all the time. 24/7. But how often do you breathe deliberately? This is mindfulness. See if you can remember to breathe deliberately just once today. You’ll get better the more you practise.
'Belly breathing' is a great way to relax. Try this now if you like…
Take a deep breath in through your nose (alllllll the way in). Fill your belly with air so it expands. Hold it. Count to 3. Slowly breathe out through your mouth (alllll the way out). Relax your shoulders. Hmmmmmm.
Please note: this can be repeated as often as needed, whenever, wherever.
7 to 9 hours a night if possible. Make it a priority this week and you’ll feel like a new person!
iHASCO & Mental Health Awareness
Our Mental Health Awareness courses (one for management and one for everyone else!) are just around the corner, and they’re packed with comprehensive information, guidance and tools on understanding and improving mental wellbeing in the workplace - and in every area of life.
iHASCO are making it a priority to help bring this subject further out of the shadows and to help remove the stigma that surrounds mental health. After all, we all have mental health, just like we all have physical health - and the two are connected. It's important to support ourselves and each other on a daily basis so we can create happier and healthier working and personal lives.