Looking after our mental health during Coronavirus
Looking after our mental health not just during coronavirus but all the time is so important. As previously stated in my mental health blogs, I’ve suffered with mental health issues for numerous years, most of the time unbeknown to me. So I know first hand how challenging it can be to realize in the first place that you are suffering with a mental health problem.
Now more than ever our resolve is being tested, and with the current pandemic the world is faced with, it is important that we take steps to ensure we live a healthy life, not just for our bodies but our minds too. In this blog, I want to write about things I believe and know to help you from a first hand experience. I will break down some key areas in which I think are vital to achieving this and share my experiences along the way. I would love to know your thoughts and your experiences in the comments, this way we can help each other live our best possible life under current circumstances and combat our issues together.
The following steps are by no means in order of importance, nor am I a doctor, just someone who knows first hand the struggles of fighting a mental health illness and what I have implemented in my life to make a more positive and meaningful way of living a better life.
Water is key
You might of heard how good water is for the body, from keeping us hydrated to flushing out toxins, but water is key for our minds too. There are so many benefits to be had from drinking water, the list is to long to mention all of them. By adding water into our life, we start to create a positive routine that will benefit our overall health and create a positive mindset in the process. With the human body being made up of 60% water and our blood 90% water, it is easy to see why water is so important for us to function properly.
Here are my top reasons why we should make water a top priority in our lifestyle :-
1. It helps carry oxygen round the body
Water carries helpful nutrients and oxygen to your entire body as the blood circulating in our bodies is made up of 90% water. Drinking plenty of water will improve your circulation and have a positive impact on your overall health.
2. Improves the overall condition of your skin
Dehydrated skin is more likely to appear dry and wrinkled. You can combat this by upping your fluid intake, thus making you feel and look great. A great confidence booster!!!
3. Mood and Brain function
Research shows that dehydration has negative impacts on the brain, especially on our cognitive alertness, fatigue and our mood.
4. Weight loss
Water can aid with weight loss, if it is consumed instead of sweetened juices and sodas. Drinking water before meals can help prevent overeating by creating a feeling of fullness.
These are just 4 of the reasons how water can help our overall health, and I can speak from experience that water was a major contributing factor in helping me combat my own physical and mental health. For guidance on how much water you need to drink per day or for any other medical reasons please consult your doctor. For more on the benefits of water please check out the following article from the BBC good food
A word that doesn’t sit well with some, but don’t despair, exercise can be done in lots of ways from low impact to extreme. There really is some form of exercise we can all do. Before undertaking any form of exercise it is advised to check with your doctor first. Low impact exercises are exercises that are easy on your joints and include exercises such as walking, swimming and yoga. These types of exercises are a great way to ease yourself into exercise or if you are unable to do more rigorous forms of exercise such as running, hiking and gymnastics.
Although our way of life has drastically changed over the last year, there are ways in which we can all do various exercises either in our houses or outside.
Here are my top reasons why exercise should form a part of our lifestyles :-
1. Improves Confidence and Mood
By taking part in various activities and exercises, our mood is instantly lifted and we begin to feel better about ourselves. By seeing our results and setting regular habits through exercise our self esteem is lifted and creates a more positive mindset.
2. Helps Control Our Weight
Along with diet, exercise plays a vital role in regulating our weight and preventing obesity. To maintain your weight, the calories you eat and drink must equal the energy you burn. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you eat and drink.
3. Fights of boredom
By making exercise a staple part of our lives, it gives us something to focus on and by that we find it harder to dwell on negative thoughts by replacing them with positive ones.
4. Increases Energy Levels
Engaging in regular physical activity can increase your energy levels, by doing this it can change our whole way of thinking and help relieve persistent fatigue.
These are by no means all of the benefits of exercise, more can be found here
Regular exercise can have a massive positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and improves your overall mood. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that small amounts of exercise can make a real difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to deal with mental health problems, improve your energy and outlook, and get more out of life.
Food For Thought
Now, I don’t like the word diet, as to me diet means restriction and I can’t see the benefit to our mental health by feeling the need we should restrict what we eat. This in turn, more than likely will lead to failure and creating a negative experience in our lives. I believe that we should eat a balanced diet with wholesome foods and not feeling bad if we choose to eat foods we enjoy. Caution must be given though to how much we eat and how often we eat those “treat” foods. By treat foods I refer to the sugary variety and foods packed with carbohydrates.
For years I struggled with weight gain and no matter how much I exercised, I could never get the results I was after, which led to negative thoughts and failure. With a little research I found that if I ate less carbohydrates, I started to achieve the results I had yearned for so many years and surprisingly I noticed the effects rapidly. I found that by minimizing the amount of carbohydrates I ate, the benefits were truly amazing. From having more energy, better mood and well, generally feeling so much better in myself.
I wont go into to much detail in this blog on food, but below are my top reasons on eating better :-
1. More Energy
By eating well, I felt more energized and less sluggish. In turn this gave me the energy to accomplish tasks such as exercise and helped me take control of my life in a way I had struggled for so long.
The more I began to see the results of how my eating was changing my body and the more energy it gave me, the more positive I became, in turn leading to a better overall lifestyle. Not only helping my physical wellbeing but by having a profound effect on my mental wellbeing to.
Within weeks I noticed a massive change in my physique, which made me feel so good and enabled me to stick to what I was doing. By eating the right foods and regular exercise we can create a change that will be hard to break.
My confidence sky rocketed with the change I was seeing every day, I was able to fit into clothes I never thought I could wear. The euphoric feeling of achieving goals and seeing results was a major breakthrough in helping my mental health. Once we gain the confidence by achieving something, it is hard to revert back to our negative ways
There are so many benefits to be had by making small changes to the way we eat, and I know how hard it can be to break old habits, but by making small steps towards it we can achieve our goals. Even if we have blips along the way, we shouldn’t feel bad, it’s normal. Habits are hard to break, but we can, and once we start to see the benefits of small changes, which eventually lead to new habits, our physical and mental health will improve from it, one step at a time.
These were my own views on how I believe we can implement changes in our life, especially during these difficult times. The 3 topics I have wrote about can be implemented during current restrictions, but please check with your doctor before making any lifestyle changes.
In my next blog on mental health, I will be discussing more topics surrounding lifestyle changes and going into a little more detail on diet and exercise, and also my top tips on children’s physical and mental wellbeing to.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and found the content useful. Please share your views on any of the topics I have covered. Please have a look at my blogs on my own personal battle with mental health by following this link