As we navigate through our world, there are times of smooth sailing and times of choppy waters that make it difficult to stay on course. It’s important however to build certain routines into your daily living. The healthier we are, the more it’ll take to knock us down. In this blog, I’d like to discuss the healthy routines I use.
My favorite is meditation. For some this will be prayer. The core of both is to take the time, twice a day, to still the mind, to let go of the ‘monkey brain’ that wants to wander from worry to urgent idea to do lists. This time of nourishment needs to be in a quiet space with no distractions for ten to twenty minutes. It helps if it’s at the same times every day (preferably before your day starts and when it ends). Bring a smile to your face, envision a loving embrace, God’s hands on yours, and focus only on the devotion. When a distracting thought comes in, notice it and let it go. Then bring yourself back to step one, noticing the genuine smile on your face, embracing the feeling of love.
Another important routine to a healthy state of mind is paying attention to your physical health. What you are feeding yourself? The mind-body-spirit work together as a harmonious whole. When one is out of balance, you’ll feel it in the others. So, pack snacks if you know you’ll be away from home for a while to forgo the temptations of fast food. Grocery shop for your home, making sure to buy a rainbow of produce. Join your local coop and strive to get rid of the processed foods and junk, eliminating the temptations from you. A branch off of this is to also get enough sleep for your body. Research shows women need a little under 9 hours of sleep, men 8. Nourish yourself. Keep yourself strong. Exercise also plays a role in our well-being. It gives us energy, helps us sleep, and improves focus and confidence. It’s a powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges. Again, building the routine is key. Schedule it into your day. And if you can bring the social piece into it, exercise with a friend. Join a gym. Be active outdoors with your children.
Get out socially. Build upon your support system. As humans, this is our main driving force. We want and need to be connected to others. These relationships buffer the bad stuff and give us somewhere to turn during the stressful times. In return, giving to others also feels good, allowing us to feel needed and valued. These connections are crucial. Levels of happiness are related to the happiness of your social network. If your network needs some work, set aside time for such. Make a list of your friends and family that you’re close to and that are positive and supportive. Make a commitment to make at least one emotional connection to them each day. Discuss what’s on your mind and also lend an ear to what’s on theirs. Follow up on previous conversations to show you care and are listening. Make social plans, build upon your relationships. Get out and have fun. Try something new. Looking forward to something special gives us a boost in energy.
Keep Moving Forward
These are a few of my favorite mental health boosters. Having them in place will help you steady the storms, as well as give you the best version of yourself. It is not an exclusive list by any means. But is a great place to start. Make a commitment to and for yourself. Take baby steps towards bettering your foundation. And keep moving forward because the only danger is standing still.
Molly Terry, MA Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern with Breaking Free Services(Link to home page).