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Unable to deal with Mental Health

Staying emotionally well

The basics of self-care

Our mental health is heavily impacted by our physical health, and the habits that we develop towards taking care of it. Here are some dos and don’ts for basic self-care:

Diet

Eating right can help maintain the required level of chemicals in our brain, by providing the nutrients needed to produce them.

 
Habits
Why does this matter?

Eat food rich in carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals

Deficiencies in the body can impact mental health

Drink a lot of water

Deficiencies in the body can impact mental health

Avoid excessive use of caffeine, sugar, alcohol and other substances

Dehydration can affect cognitive functions

 
Habits

Eat food rich in carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals

Drink a lot of water

Avoid excessive use of caffeine, sugar, alcohol and other substances

 
Why does this matter?

Deficiencies in the body can impact mental health

Deficiencies in the body can impact mental health

Dehydration can affect cognitive functions

Physical Activity

Physical activity causes the brain to release endorphins, which help us relieve stress and pain. You can maintain your levels of physical activity by:

Playing a sport

Having an exercise routine at home

Practicing yoga

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator

Joining a dance class

Walking instead of using transportation

Going to the gym

Walking while you talk on the phone

Choosing to do your physical activity in the sun, will also give you your daily dose of vitamin D.

While we are asleep, our bodies rest and repair muscles but our brain works on maintaining cognitive functions—like memory, learning, problem-solving and focus. It is no surprise that not getting a full night’s sleep affects our emotions, while we are awake.

A healthy sleep schedule includes

Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day

Maintain a healthy sleep schedule by avoiding:

1 hour before bedtime

Use of electronic devices that have a backlight

Activities that stimulate your brain

2 hours before bedtime

A heavy meal

Intake of alcohol, nicotine, sugar and caffeine

Aiming for a minimum of eight hours of sleep

If you are having trouble sleeping, here are a few tips that can help:

Increase the amount of physical activity during the day

Use a sleep meditation track to help you relax during bedtime

Having a daily routine can offer structure to our lives, which can reduce stress. The routine need not be in the form of a rigid timetable, but can include the following:

  • Eating meals, exercising, and sleeping at the same time everyday
  • Putting time aside to take care of your personal hygiene
  • Balancing work and household chores
  • Setting time aside for breaks and downtime

It can take time to develop a routine that suits your lifestyle—experiment with how you want to use your time and come up with a plan that works for you.

Engaging in a hobby can significantly improve mental health. Hobbies are activities that make us feel good. It need not be something we excel at. A hobby isn’t something that we can fail at because its sole purpose is to give us joy.

The hobby could be anything—art, baking, gardening, fitness, music, craft, carpentry, collecting—the possibilities are endless. The benefits of having a hobby are:

  • Added structure to routine
  • An increase in self-confidence
  • A sense of purpose by way of goal setting
  • A sense of accomplishment when a goal is met
  • An outlet for community, if the hobby requires social interaction

If you don’t have a hobby, experiment with what is available around you. Find a hobby that makes you feel good and is something you look forward to doing every day.

We often get so preoccupied with our lives that we forget to take a break. Taking the time out to relax and get some free time for ourselves, is part of taking care of our mental health. One of the most effective ways to do this is, to meditate.

A common misconception is that to meditate, we must have a single point of focus with no other thoughts. However, meditation is an act of paying attention to the present moment, especially our own thoughts, emotions and sensations.

If you find it hard to meditate in the conventional way, you can choose other meditative activities, like:

Colouring

Cleaning and organizing

Doodling

Knitting

Gardening

Exercising

Any activity that is repetitive and requires your keen attention and focus can help relax your mind, by allowing thoughts and emotions to flow by without grasping our attention.