December 11, 2020 by Hardik Shrestha
If you had won the cosmic lottery and could make one of these 3 statements true, which would it be?
- Alzheimer’s disease was a progressive disorder that caused brain cells to degenerate and die.
- Cancer was a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade other parts of the body.
- Misery was an involuntary state of mental anguish, common to humans of all eras and circumstances.
A lot of people hold a lot of misery. Chances are you know someone who would describe their mere existence as miserable. Presumably, they’re struggling to take care of their MH – their mental health. So, what should they do? What does it mean to have good mental health? What does it mean to be happy?
That’s what this article takes care of, maybe you can start looking for that inner peace after cleaning up your mental space!
What better way to start than with some good-old self-care?
Now we all know that self-care is important. You realize that you should be:
- Eating well
- Sleeping enough
- Being active
- Reflecting, etc.
But it’s not quite so easy to create and maintain those positive habits. Fortunately, there are ways to make it easier on yourself so you can let out that breath you were holding in and get ready to say
Image from Instagram @youareawesome_co
No seriously, understand what your mind and body need from you. Often, it becomes painfully obvious that you need a break right as you’re starting to burnout, the goal here is to avoid that by continuously checking in with yourself. It’s absolutely vital in both improving and maintaining one’s mental and emotional well-being. How can you start?
- Balance through self-discipline.
- Holding a superb balance between responsibilities and enjoyment can be unbelievably beneficial towards feeling good. In turn, you can start to untangle your life and delve into those pesky thoughts and feelings that you may have previously ignored.
- Planned positive impact.
- Some people make your laugh a little louder, your smile a little brighter, and your life a little better. Try to actively be one of those people. Plan your positive impact.
- Engaging in simple daily acts of kindness can create so much joy and weirdly, a sense of meaning in our lives. Hold that door for him, send that thank you note, give her that compliment, or universally, if you see someone without a smile – give them yours!
For real, it’s probably a large part of why you can’t ever seem to break out of that endless loop you hate being stuck in. More on this later, but tl;dr: get out of bed in the morning, don’t take too many naps, and stick to a regular sleep schedule! Please, it’ll do wonders for your body and its natural cycles.
Impeccable stems from the Latin word, impeccabilis, which means “faultless” or “not liable to sin.” Using language against oneself is harmful, and in turn, sinful. Do not use your words against yourself. This means no self-judgement, hatred, or blame. Fight to exterminate such thoughts. How can you start?
- Realize this, a word is just a few synonyms stuck together, but when they come from within you, they mean so much more.
- You can use them to liberate yourself or have them be used against you to chain you down. The way that you use language not only allows you to communicate and express yourself — it transforms the way you think. Be kind to yourself, and others. You might just surprise yourself with how easy it is to spread positive energy in this manner.
Although it may sound crazy, your words can shape your sense of reality itself and create or dispel ideas that affect yourself and those around you. Hence, it is imperative that you must be kind to yourself and others verbally and mentally.
If you’ve never done the bullseye activity before, take 20 seconds to mentally do it right now. Mark an X in each category, the closer to bullseye, the happier you are with yourself in that aspect of life.
Now, for some reason, we really like to associate our self-worth with productivity. Let’s stop doing that. This one category seemingly haunts us because we’re never good enough. We always carry some guilty-conscience telling us to do more. How can we change?
A good place to start is establishing with your inner-self that self-worth should NEVER be conditional. Instead, it should be a primary value – one that you refuse to disregard. If you start spiralling down the rabbit-hole of “I must accomplish ____ to feel worthy,” you’ll find yourself continuously moving the goalposts. Stop it! Pat yourself on the back for your victories, no matter how small, and continue to value yourself regardless of whether or not you’re “productive.”
Ensure that you’re allocating plenty of down-time. In our last blog, we mentioned how important it is to be organized and prophylactic in our planning. But sometimes, the best thing that you could do at that moment is absolutely nothing at all. Or if you’re a particularly sensitive victim of boredom, then take time to rediscover and fall in love with the things you truly enjoy. Do things that make you feel great, inside and out, as often as you can!
A healthy, low-stress, and focused morning routine sets the tone for the whole day. On the flip side, a night routine is about getting your ducks in a row in the evening so that you fall asleep quickly, enjoy some quality rest, relieve any pent-up stress/ anxiety, and wake up feeling GOOD.
Here are some morning habits, asterisks indicate that I’ve tried and enjoyed them myself.
- Dodge your phone for an hour. *
- The idea here is that upon waking up, you’ve (of course) been sleeping and are in a comparatively relaxed state. Your phone can bring all of that crashing down in an instant. Terrible tragedies on the news, pressing emails from that guy again, snaps that you have to open right then and there, and more all exist to break you out of your relaxed state as they’re riddled with stress-inducing aspects.
- Write something, anything. *
- Writing is an excellent way to prepare yourself for the day. Whether you choose to sort through your feelings, make a to-do list, or simply journal about the last day – it can be a surprisingly effective outlet for stress relief and an effective way to ease yourself into actually waking up.
- Just make your bed dude. *
- “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.” ~ Admiral William H. McRaven
- Think of the things you’re grateful for.
- Embody a grateful mindset, try picturing three to five things that you’re reallllllly grateful for, and keep them present in your mind as you start your day. Gratitude is so powerful that you’ll (scientifically) benefit from it without even realizing it.
- Magical morning meditation minutes.
- Vacations are excellent stress relievers because they remove people from the activities and environments that they associate with stress and anxiety. Essentially transporting you not only physically, but also mentally to a new place.
- A few minutes of meditation in the morning has been shown to have that same magical effect on us. It won’t hurt to try, and there are plenty of excellent guided meditation apps/ videos out there. My personal favourite that you can (and should) try right now is this 5-minute experience.
Here are some nighttime habits that you can work into your personal night routine, once again asterisks indicate my personal liking.
- Guided nighttime (self-hypnosis?) meditation. *
- I’ve preached the benefits of meditation already, but this is something else entirely. A good guided meditation session, leaves me feeling like I’ve just been reborn.
- Mild self-hypnosis via positive affirmations or a guided journey can be an excellent way to put yourself to bed. I would 10/10 recommend that you try it – just tonight, you might’ve found your fix.
- Light prep for the morning. *
- You wanna run in the morning? Set out your shoes and a change of clothes before bed.
- You don’t want the dishes silently yelling at you as you have some cereal? Do them tonight.
- You want to hop straight into an important application at 8 a.m.? Jot down any random thoughts for the questions before you close your eyes. Your future self is someone that you can keep on gifting, knowing that they’ll receive everything with gratitude.
- Dodge all electronics for an hour.
- Melatonin is useful for helping you sleep. Blue light suppresses melatonin production. Electronics emit blue light. Enough said?
- Quit consuming that drug you caffeine-addict! *
- No, but seriously, it’s really bad for your sleep. Caffeine can delay the timing of your body’s natural clock, leading to you staying up and binge-watching Netflix until 2 a.m.
- If you can’t quit coffee, or 5-hour, or however you consume coffee, at least limit and lower your dosage slowly over time.
- Western’s own vast array of Mental Health Resources
- In London Ontario (not affiliated with the university)
- If you want a PenPal, just to be friends.
- Positive Affirmations on YouTube
- Guided Sleep Hypnosis on YouTube
- Call +1 (844) – 880 – 9142 for 24/7 access to EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance Program)
Hopefully, these tips, recommendations, and resources will help you stay afloat mentally in the new year! Never forget that while doing well academically is important, one’s health and mental wellbeing are equally if not more valuable.