Fortunately, the attention we place on mental wellness is improving. And it's becoming easier for us all to prioritize our personal well being. As we continue to break the stigma, here's a reminder of some of the ways a bit of self care - in the form of small daily habits or rituals - can lead to stronger mental health.
Here are some easy wins that you can incorporate into your day:
Make Your Bed
The first and easiest win to start your day. Seventy million Americans already do this. This small but intentional act can jump-start the rest of your morning routine. Did you know those who make their bed are more likely to report getting the rest they need?
Read More: Making your bed goes hand in hand with Mastering Your Morning Routine.
Write It Down
Jot down some notes on any insights, thoughts, or feelings that are top of mind. It’s simple, low-cost, and doesn’t need to be done every day. Journaling has been linked to a number of mental health benefits, such as reducing anxiety, creating awareness and regulation of your emotions. It’s a great method to park some of your thoughts that have been festering inside. Or, think of journaling as a way to express frustrations or celebrate successes.
A mere jog or walk in the morning can supercharge your endorphins and confidence, which will carry with you throughout the rest of the day. Beyond the physical benefits, mental health effects of running include reduced anxiety or depression, as well as increased memory and focus. Extra points if you hit the “runner’s high”, linked to increased levels of anandamide in your blood after a run. You’ll feel a set of short-term psychoactive effects like euphoria and a sense of calm.
Cook Up A Storm
In general, cooking allows you to set an achievable goal, a proven benefit to mental health by putting yourself close to the (delicious) reward. Bonus points if you want to try a new recipe to boost creativity and exploration. Check out our CEO Matt’s personal favorite: a 5-minute chocolate chip cookie recipe to address your sweet tooth, with a healthy twist.
Take A Bath
Every 1-2 weeks, try a warm bath with Epsom salts to soothe aches, pains and help boost magnesium levels, which can be depleted by stress.
Man’s Best Friend
Spending time with dogs, or animals in general, helps lower your levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and boosts oxytocin which stimulates feelings of happiness. Check out this list of added benefits that pets have on your physical and mental health. If you don’t have a pet, hang out with a friend that does or volunteer at a shelter.
Whether it’s your lunches for the week, or your outfit for the next morning. Preparing ahead will help you save time and also have a sense of control over your day ahead. GQ lays out the perfect instructions to prepare your clothes the night before, and how it helps avoid the morning rush along with any anxiety that clouds your judgment going forward.
Get some sun at least 15 minutes a day. In addition to being a mood elevator, Vitamin D has some surprising health benefits such as fighting disease and depression, while also boosting weight loss. Don’t forget sunscreen.
For more on the power of routine to help with your mental wellness, check out an IG Live Event we did last year - 15 Minute Fridays.
We sat down (virtually) with Tom Black to discuss his journey from finance to modeling, and how he trained for a 50 mile run last month to raise awareness for the American Heart Association. Beyond the physical rigor of training, Tom discusses how good routines can positively impact your way of thinking and any challenge you’re striving to overcome.