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In the last post I discussed ways to change your eating and nutrition habits by adding to your diet. In this post I’ll share ideas on reducing stress for your mental well-being. Small sustainable changes are also important to your mental well-being. Many people are resistant to change, especially when adapting a new, healthier way of eating and moving. You don’t want to fight your body and mind during this process, you want to support it. There are many ways to de-stress and it is important to take time to do this each day. Great ways to destress include:
- Deep belly breaths (this is on my list!) * Adult coloring books (these are all the rage)
- Yoga * Painting
- Simple stretching * Photography
- Slow walks * Laying down
- Laughing with friends and family
- Playing a game with friends and family
- Reading a book
- Taking time to do a hobby that you enjoy.
The sky is the limit here with the focus on doing something that soothes your mind and relaxes your body. It may be tempting to say that your workout is your body’s way to “destress,” and this may be true to some extent, however, the goal is to calm your hormones and body of anxiety inducing activities. There are great apps out there that will help you focus on mindfulness and calming breaths. Downloading these to your smartphone or tablet gives you the ability to destress wherever you go. I have a “breath” reminder on my watch that goes off a few times a day and it guides me through a few deep breaths. It is discreet enough I can do it at work. One minute of deep breathing does a lot to lower my heart rate and stress levels.
I have a destress transitioning routine I try to follow everyday. You’ll notice I wrote “try.” Some days don’t lend themselves well to this, but on the days I miss it, I can tell. Mentally I feel exhausted earlier than I normally would if I miss my transition. I am a less patient with my family. I get less housework done because I throw in the towel sooner than I normally would.
So, what do I do?
It’s very simple.
When I get home, I say hi to my kiddos, drop of all my bags, and head up to my room and shut the door. I change out of my work clothes and I set a timer for fifteen minutes. Changing your physical clothing from work begins the mindset that my professional time is over, and it is now time to be myself. During these fifteen minutes, I do whatever I want to relax. Sometimes I lay down and close my eyes, read a book, play a videogame, or deep breathe.
When the timer goes off, I am done and head out to face the rest of the day. As a result, mentally, I feel refreshed. Over time, I have trained myself to use this time as a way to “recharge” my batteries. Following this routine has really helped me be a better mom and wife. It has taken a while, but the kids understand how beneficial this is to me, and in turn, how much smoother things go at home for them.
There is no harm in taking a little time for yourself so you can be the best version of yourself for others. It is the same philosophy they use for safety masks in airplanes; you cannot help your loved ones until you help yourself first. In addition to relaxing a bit, you are also modeling a healthy lifestyle for your family. These small sustainable changes also help your family! They are always watching and you may find your family copying your actions!
Sometimes, larger changes need to be made in order to achieve greater mental health results. If smaller mindful activities are not yielding the results you want, I encourage you to talk to your doctor and seek professional help. I am a huge fan of psychologists and counselors. I have seen both in
the past and find their information and perspectives very refreshing and helpful. If you do begin seeing a professional, advocate for yourself and what you need. Be open to what they have to say. If you are not “clicking” with your professional, find a new one.
What are some small sustainable changes you will make in the area of mental wellness to reach your goals? I’d love to hear from you!
Next up is how to incorporate changes in nutrition through high quality supplements.