Mental health is a huge part of our culture these days. With more and more people beginning to realise the importance of looking after your emotional wellbeing to achieve a happy and balanced life, they are turning to affirmations, meditation and many other practices to promote self-love and awareness. However, the mind and body are inextricably linked, and you can’t take care of one without looking after the other. In fact, it is proven that learning to take better care of your body can help to create the self-love needed to ensure that your mental health is well taken care of. Below are the three pillars of health that you need to address to make sure that both your body and mind are ready to tackle whatever life can throw at you.
One of the easiest (apart from all the effort it takes) ways to give your mental health a boost is to exercise. Once you push through the horrible, tired feeling, your body gets a surge of chemicals – like endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin – all of which will help you to feel great after a workout, and keep your mood regulated through the day. Not only that, but with body image being a factor in many people’s mental health struggles, a regular exercise regime can really transform the way you see yourself. You don’t have to slave away in the gym for hours a day if that’s not your thing, any form of exercise will allow you to reap the rewards that a healthy lifestyle offers. You could take up a sport, or go to classes like Zumba, or boxercise. You could go to yoga or pilates classes alongside your exercise regime too. Join a running club if you find joy in that, or try weightlifting. You might surprise yourself with what you find enjoyable. The important thing is that you find a way to be active that you enjoy doing. If you truly enjoy the exercise you do, then you will be more likely to stick at it for the long haul.
Think of your body as a high-performance racing car. You wouldn’t pump cheap gas into your Corvette, so don’t put cheap food into your body. Try to ignore the fad diets that tell you to cut out entire food groups, or are overly restrictive. While these may help you lose weight in a short period of time, they are not healthy and no sustainable. Try to maintain a healthy balance in your diet. There are plenty of online calculators you can use to work out your calorie intake (which is dependent on your daily activity level). Around 50-60% of your calories should be from carbohydrates. Complex, as opposed to simple carbs, are preferred; think pasta, rice, and potatoes. The remainder of your calories should be equally split between fat and protein. You might think that at in your diet is bad for you, but the truth is that dietary fat has little to do with the amount of fat in your body. Many low-fat products are filled with huge amounts of sugar to make them taste better, which is actually more harmful to your diet than the ‘full fat’ product. But that’s not an excuse to consume an entire box of Krispy Kreme donuts to yourself.
Sleep the is the one factor that many people leave out of their health kick, but it is arguably the most important. While you might think that all that time lifting weights in the gym is where you make progress, the real work is done while you sleep. Exercise causes tiny, microscopic tears in your muscles, tears which are repaired and made stronger while you sleep. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you get a good eight hours of rest each night. The first thing you can do to help a better night’s sleep is to get a good quality mattress. A good mattress should last around eight years; a cheap one will last considerably less. As you spend a third of your life lying in bed, it makes sense to invest in quality. Test out as many beds as you can to find the perfect fit for you, there are even companies who make memory foam mattresses that let you order one and trial it so you can find out of it’s really the right fit. Have a read of an Eve and Simba mattress review to see if this could be the bed of your dreams. You should also try to get to bed a couple of hours before midnight. Turning off the TV and putting your phone down will do a lot to help you unwind and relax. The gare of the screens can interrupt your body’s production of melatonin which helps you to feel tired.
At the end of the day – there will only ever be one of you – and that’s more of a reason than any to take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, and good things will come your way.