Image via Pernille Teisbaek
Spring cleaning means it’s time to cleanse, both inside and out! At such a busy time of year, it’s easy to end up feeling run down, stressed and generally burnt out. But in the spirit of renewal, I’d like to offer six easy ways to manage or prevent your stress and take care of your mental well-being.
1. Try meditation.
Meditation is great for clearing and calming your busy mind. Check out your local yoga studio to see if they offer meditation classes, or see if there are specialized meditation studios in your city, like Vancouver’s Moment Meditation. No time or resources to take a class in person? Browse the app store for guided meditation apps. My favourite is Headspace, which is free and requires only 10 minutes a day.
Headspace, available online or on Apple iOS or Android platforms.
2. Try to avoid TV binge sessions.
I know, it can be tempting to throw on Netflix and shut your brain off for a few hours, especially after a particularly hectic week. But binge watching TV has been linked to depression and anxiety and has even been classified by some as a growing public health concern. You don’t have to give up your habit altogether but limit your TV intake. Everything in moderation!
3. Make time to exercise.
Physical activity doesn’t just reduce your risk of serious health ailments and help you control your weight – it also offers the opportunity to improve your mental health and your mood. Exercising regularly sharpens your thinking, learning and judgment skills and has been found to reduce the risk of depression. If you find your mind wanders during exercise, make sure you pick something that requires your concentration and make a vow to yourself to stay focused and be present. Try a sweat session like boxing or dance for a chance to work your mind and body coordination.
4. Pick up a new hobby that’s just for fun.
Try a new hobby with no strings attached. Don’t worry about being the best, or mastering the skills quickly, just pick something you really enjoy, whether that’s something crafty, a new musical instrument or maybe enrolling in that painting class you’ve always wanted to do. Sometimes as adults we develop a fear of failure and resist hobbies we aren’t “good” at. Give yourself a break and try a new hobby that’s just for you.
5. Schedule time for yourself.
If you’re a busy person with a hectic schedule it can be easy to fill up your agenda with to do’s and appointments. Avoid pushing yourself to your breaking point by scheduling your downtime like you would any other important event. Block off regular chunks of time for you to relax, whether that means soaking in a warm bath, getting a manicure or simply unplugging for an hour.
6. Make your bedroom a sanctuary.
A good night’s rest is essential to your general well-being. Your quality of sleep affects both your physical and mental health. A lack of sleep can leave you irritable, but long periods without adequate rest have been associated with more serious issues, like depression and anxiety disorders. Make your bedroom your zen place by removing any unnecessary lights (yes, that includes your phone!), keeping your bedroom cool and investing in a comfortable mattress and pillow. Little indulgences like a white noise machine, a diffuser with a relaxing scent of lavender, or candles can also make all the difference in creating a relaxing atmosphere without breaking the bank.
How do you make time for your mental health? Let us know in the comments!