After years of healing there are certain things that have become non negotiable in my life in order to maintain my mental health. These are things, that I have changed in my life, in an attempt to feel better and I know that when these things are not upheld, I can feel things slowly crash around me.
The first thing is sleep. For years I haven’t slept. My parents tell me that I wasn’t a very good sleeper as child already. In my teens, I lived in a household that didn’t promote healthy sleep. In my 20s, I was drinking and partying too hard to have any kind of quality sleep. In my 30s, I had children and any parent will tell you that sleep goes out the door, when you become a parent. When I went back to work after my first child, I was so stressed out and constantly worried that I didn’t sleep at all for about 9 months. Which is what lead to my burnout in 2014.
When I started to heal my sleep I took a conscious decision that I was no longer going label myself as a bad sleeper. I shifted my mindset towards sleep and upped my sleep hygiene, and as a result I was starting to have more consecutive nights with good quality sleep.
And I can tell you… what a difference that makes to your mental health!!! It’s amazing.
One of the most important factors in sleep hygiene is routine. You must wake and go to sleep at the same time every day – also weekends.
Sometimes life happens and going to bed at a certain time is not always convenient, like when you go to a party. However, it is still something I try to strive for every day. And when it doesn’t go as planned, I can feel my mental health declining, until I get back on track and I feel better.
I need my beauty sleep to maintain my mental health.
# 2 Food
Then there is food. I must be conscious about my food choices in order to maintain my mental health. I’m not perfect and I don’t eat super healthy all the time. But I try to find a balance. I try to eat mostly vegetarian and I eat regularly; 3 times per day at the same time every day. When I don’t get healthy nutrients in most of my meals, I can feel my mental health declining. I can feel that I don’t have all the resources I need, to cope with daily challenges. I get tired and lethargic. And then I know I need to up my game. Of course, I try not to get to that point.
# 3 Exercise
Exercise is also something I must do in order to main my mental health. When I skip my routine, I can feel my body complaining and being in pain. I can feel that I start being more harsh with myself and feeling like I am no good. When I stick to my routine, I feel energised, happy, strong and proud of myself. That said, it is important that the routine works for you and your schedule and your family’s schedule. If it causes more stress to go work out then its better to skip it. This happens to me too and then I try to opt for a short walk in stead. Even just a 15 min walk can make a difference to my mood. It also happens that certain times in my menstrual cycle, I am not in a place where I can go weight lifting or jump around at Zumba, and then I give myself the space to nurture and give my body what it needs.
# 4 Journalling & Mindfulness
For my ruminating mind, I use journaling and mindfulness. In a perfect world I get to mediate for 20 min and then journal for 10 min afterwords. This doesn’t always happen, but I do the best I can. I try not to fill my day with back to back things and leave myself space to sit and stare into space. I stay in the present moment and I feel into my body and keep myself grounded.
# 5 Alcohol
I limit my alcohol intake. Alcohol really feeds my anxiety and my inner critics. The harsh voices I hear inside are louder and harsher when I drink and the day after. This of course makes me feel like shit which then makes me anxious and eventually quite depressed. So, I’ve learnt over the years to limit how much I drink and as a result, this helps to maintain my mental health.
# 6 Support Network
Finally, I have a support network. I know who I can reach out to when I am not feeling my best. This network consists of 2-3 people who I know will have my back no matter what and will give me what I need in the moment I need it. Never underestimate people in your life who want what is best for you.
What do you do to maintain your mental health?
I hope this list has given you some inspiration to how you can maintain your health. I am also curious about what you do to keep feeling good about yourself. What do you do to main your mental health? Please share it in the comments below.
Work with me
If you would like some help with your mental health and learn how to heal from past experiences and be true to who you are today, then please reach out. As a coach, I help people be true to themselves and heal past experiences. I love seeing people let go of past experiences and start feeling strongly about who they are today. It is amazing to see what people are capable of when healing starts to happen.
I specialise in anxiety, depression and burnout.
Every healing journey starts with being aware of the fact that you are not feeling good and the first step is to consciously know that things are not great and you need help to come back up. This is not an easy step, but when you are ready to take that step and to Get Real about yourself, then I invite you to schedule a free Get Real session with me to start your healing journey. During this session we will find out if we are a good fit to work together. Are you ready?