World Mental Health Day: 8 holistic ways to take care of your mental healthOctober 9th, 2021
This World Mental Health Day, let's look at some holistic ways you can take care of your mental health. Your mental health will fluctuate, just like your physical health. Some days you will feel mentally well, and some days you may not. This is perfectly normal. But just like our physical health, we need to find ways to take care of our mental health so the bad days don't feel so bad.
If you struggle with a mental health condition such as severe anxiety or depression, then please seek advice from a medical professional who can help you to manage your mental health in positive ways.
Here are 8 holistic ways you can take care of your mental health.
When we are practising mindfulness, we are encouraging our brains to slow down and be in the present moment.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already possesses, it’s not something you have to conjure up, you just have to learn how to access it.
There are many ways you can practice mindfulness in your day-to-day life. For example, choose to eat your meals away from any distractions such as the TV or computer. Allow yourself to be fully present in the experience of eating your meal. You can do this by focusing on the senses. How does the meal taste? How does it smell? What does the food or cutlery feel like in your hands? What can you see on your plate? What does the food sound like when you take a bite?
Mindfulness helps us to be fully present in the moment which helps our mental health. This is because being in the present moment stops us from worrying about the future or the past.
According to the International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP), “Reiki is a subtle and effective form of energy healing using spiritually guided life force energy… practised in every country of the world.” While often considered to be spiritual in nature, Reiki is not “affiliated with any particular religion or religious practice.”
Reiki is a transfer of energy from one person to another. There is no touch involved, so it can be very helpful for those suffering from chronic pain.
Reiki is very calming, kind and gentle. Many studies have shown that including Reiki in the treatment of mental health issues can have positive effects. One study by Shore (2004) showed that after six weeks of treatment and for up to a year afterwards, those who had received Reiki showed both immediate and long-term improvements in depression, stress and hopelessness.
Therapy is an umbrella term for many different treatments. There are so many different styles of therapy that you are sure to find one that works for you. Therapy can be a good way to find tools for taking care of your mental health. This is because therapists offer a safe and supportive environment for you to explore your inner thoughts, feelings and memories. Many therapists can also prescribe further treatments if necessary.
You might be wondering how dance can help with your mental health? It isn't as embarrassing as you might think! Working with a Dance Movement Psychotherapist can be a rewarding way to work through many mental health problems. Our mental and physical health are intertwined, so incorporating movement into your mental health work can be very beneficial.
Yoga encourages you to slow down and focus on your body and breath. When our mental health is out of balance, we tend to neglect ourselves. Yoga is a gentle and kind way to support yourself during difficult times. There are many different styles of yoga, from slow, gentle movements, to energetic and fitness-based and even yoga laying down! Yoga can also be practised anywhere. If your mental health will not allow you to be around other people, then a quick search on YouTube will show you many different ways to enjoy yoga at home. Alternatively, joining a weekly or monthly class can be a great way to pull yourself out of a dark place and meet like-minded people.
A Life Coach is someone who helps you to notice behavioural patterns and offers ways to re-frame them. They can be your biggest cheerleader and help to focus your mind so you can move forward with your life. Much like a therapist, life coaches all offer different things so finding the right one for you can be an exciting journey. However, unlike a therapist, a life coach will guide you through certain mental blocks and be much more hands-on in their approach. Life coaches can be helpful if you have a specific mental health blockage that you need help with. For example, a lack of self-belief or confidence.
When your mental health is not at its best, it can be hard to imagine brighter days. That's where visualisation techniques come in. They train your brain to think more positively, even if you don't feel it yourself. Visualisation gives your brain other ways of thinking. Did you know, our brains can't tell the difference between lies and the truth? So if we tell ourselves that we are not good enough, our brains will believe it. But equally, if we tell our brains that everything will be ok and we are wonderful people, our brains will believe this too!
Visualisation techniques are varied, so it's all about finding the right support for you.