In the age of social distancing, self-isolation can be maddening. We’ve rounded up 5 healthy lifestyle habits to help you cater to your mental health.
Whether you are working from home or simply practising social distancing, being confined in isolation during already stressful times can lead to further mental strain. We’ve gathered some of our most effective tips to help you take care of your mental wellbeing.
Practice Mindful Meditation
Mindful meditation has long been hailed as a way to improve both your mental and physical health. Studies have shown that this practice can help to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety, as well as to stimulate focus and improve sleep. As it may be difficult to get started- especially if you find yourself having to set aside extra time and effort to meditate – you can begin by allocating small moments for meditation into your existing routine. Once you get used to meditating daily, you can start to extend your sessions.
Insider’s Tip: If you’re unfamiliar with meditation, dip your toes in with apps like Headspace which have guided meditation to help you get started.
Declutter Your Space
The environment you create is a reflection of your mindset. According to a study from Princeton University, individuals experienced decreased performance and increased stress when surrounded by physical clutter. A cluttered environment can translate into a cluttered mind, and may in turn negatively affect your mood, which is why it can be helpful to put extra time into cleaning up your surroundings.
Insider’s Tip: Make sure your surroundings stay organised by making decluttering a part of your daily routine, such as by making your bed in the mornings.
Humans are social creatures by nature. Having strong connections with others has been proven to alleviate symptoms of depression and, according to a study by Harvard Health, even helps to boost physical health and increase longevity. Conversely, social isolation has been linked to illness and premature death, sharing the same level of risk as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking.
Insider’s Tip: Get your fill of socialising over video calls – Zoom, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger all offer viable video options, and Houseparty even offers free interactive games (think Heads Up!) to play with your friends.
You might also like 6 Mental Health Podcasts to Help You Feel Less Alone
Connect with Nature
Need an energy boost? Step outside for a quick breather. Research shows that spending even just five minutes outdoors can boost your mental health, elevating your mood and self-esteem. Connecting with nature has also been proven to bring a host of other positive health benefits, such as strengthened immunity, better moods, and reduced stress.
Insider’s Tip: Too busy with work to make time for nature? Try taking your lunch break outside. Exposure to sunlight is linked to the production of serotonin, which can positively affect your wellbeing.
Commit To Living Healthy
Physical health is linked to your overall wellbeing and has a strong impact on your mental health, which is why it’s crucial to maintain healthy habits like daily exercise, a balanced diet and sufficient sleep. Exercise helps your body to release endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals, while a nutritious diet can reduce symptoms of depression. Studies have also linked better sleep to improvements in mental health.