If you take care of your body, your mental health will benefit too.
Your mental health is of great importance and mental stress can have a huge impact.
Your mental health influences how you think, feel and behave in daily life and hugely affects your ability to cope with stress and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships.
For many people, juggling work and family can be quite stressful, especially during a pandemic.
In a Desi household, this can be even more challenging, as mental health and mental stress are not taken seriously.
Due to the changes brought by Covid-19, stress levels among South Asians have increased.
Lockdowns have added to the pressure of people being couped up in houses longer than what they have been used to.
However, by following a few steps, you can really make a change in your life.
It is all about taking care of your mental health and physical well-being, two fundamental factors for your survival through these challenging times.
Keep reading if you want to discover a few easy tips to improve your mental health and finally relieve mental stress.
Understanding why you are stressed is fundamental.
There are many different types of stress which can cause you anxiety and have some sort of impact on you.
Pressures of school or study, work-life, family, relatives, marriage, relationships, finances are forms of Routine stress.
If you go through a sudden negative change in your life, such as losing a job, going through a divorce, having an illness, a loss of someone close, or some other kind of deviation, this is a form of Life-changing stress.
However, if you experience an event such as a major accident, a natural disaster or a war, this is Traumatic stress.
Examples of symptoms of stress can include:
- Overwhelming feeling
- Feeling anxious, scared or worried constantly
- Finding it hard to concentrate
- Having a lack of self-esteem or confidence
- Feeling tired more than usual
- Having trouble sleeping
- Being irritable
- Avoiding doing things or seeing people
- Eating more or less than normal
- Drinking, smoking or taking drugs more than normal
Therefore, understanding the severity of your stress can help you evaluate its impact on you.
Whatever the reason may be, note it down on a notepad and describe it in detail to better acknowledge the problem so that you can come up with suitable solutions.
Take Regular Walks or Jog
No worries, you don’t need to buy a gym membership or perform complicated exercises!
Why not opting for a 30-minute walk to work your muscles and refresh your mind? You can even do some jogging if you prefer!
Aim for 10,000 steps per day. Download an app that helps you monitor your progress.
It is important to be active throughout the day, and in case you miss your walk, try to clean your home, take the stairs or walk on your lunch break.
In a nutshell, if you take care of your body, your mental health will benefit too.
Besides, did you know that physical exercise improves your sleep and bad mood swings?
Change Your Diet
The saying ‘what you eat is what you become’ has never been so accurate.
The food you eat can directly affect your energy level, physical health, and mood.
Most importantly, a balanced diet can transform your mind and improve your mental health.
Doctors believe it can reduce mental stress, give stronger immunity and lower your blood pressure.
But what’s a good diet?
A good diet mainly consists of a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and good fats. Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits are a great way of helping your mood.
Foods as brown rice, brown pasta, whole grains, a variety of vegetables, lean proteins like chickpeas, lentils, cottage cheese, and healthy fats such as nuts, avocados and chia seeds, are all good for you.
Avoid heavy foods and processed foods. Reduce alcohol and coffee intake. Drink lots of water.
Experiment. Buy a different vegetable every week you have never tried or try a new healthy recipe.
You should definitely try to meditate or simply deep breathing to relax your mind and body.
Not sure how to do it?
Begin with two minutes of meditation or deep breathing.
If you want to know more, check out guided meditation videos, articles online or download some apps to help you.
You will find that if you follow a routine, it will begin to aid you tremendously.
Meditation is simple and quick, and it can be done after waking up or before going to bed.
Some research found out that meditating improves your sleep, mood and energy level.
Get Enough Sleep
Good night sleep is key for your health and mental well-being, and sleeping less than eight hours can trigger mental stress.
How to sleep better? Again, exercise and ensure you sleep enough.
Learn to develop a routine for your bedtime. Try and sleep at the same time every day and aim for your minimum of eight hours of sleep per day.
Do avoid you sleeping the same number of hours at different times.
To sleep better get in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
If you stick to a regulated sleep-wake schedule, you will feel the difference and feel more refreshed and energised.
If you do have a late-night, rather than sleeping in, it is better to have a daytime nap.
You should also avoid caffeine or too much alcohol in the evening.
Keep your phone or tablet away before bedtime because the blue light emitted by these devices can be disruptive to your sleep.
Practise deep breathing to relax your body before sleeping.
Talk to Your Friends
You are human, and you need social interaction for maintaining good health.
One of the best ways to cope with stress is to interact with a friend.
If you call your friends, it will help you feel more connected.
Nothing can beat the quality of face-to-face meetings, but during any kind of social restriction, even a phone call can make the difference.
The best thing to do is interacting with someone who is a ‘good listener’, someone you can regularly talk to or who will listen to you without judging you.
Having fun while chatting with a friend helps relieve stress and distract your mind from overthinking.
Go Easy on Yourself
This is a competitive world, and you may underestimate yourself.
You might feel insecure and uncertain of your abilities, but these negative thoughts will only increase your mental stress levels.
Try to appreciate the great qualities you have, and replace each negative thought with a positive one.
You should only compare yourself to your previous self, not to other people.
Seek Professional Help
If you have made efforts to improve your mental and reduce your stress levels at home but still see no improvements, it may be time to seek professional help.
Check out these resources for help: