Over the summer, as well as planning out what I’m going to be writing for the rest of the year, I’ve been thinking about how I look after myself. Everyone knows the importance of physical exercise in order to look after your physical health, but what can you do to look after your mental health?
When setting my weekly schedule for the start of this term I’ve been clear to include blank time, and time to do things other than just writing and associated activities. To try and ensure that I have a better balance in my life. This is difficult as a work-at-home mum, because I never leave my workplace. There are always chores that could be done, and writing that calls to me.
Here are some of the things that I plan to do and/or have done (& probably should do again!) to keep my life on a more even positive keel:
- Make a gratitude list;
- Journalling/ prayer diary;
- Yoga/ Pilates/ stretching;
- Try to be conscious in how I react to triggers – something that I’m trying to develop in my children;
- Be outside – nature and fresh air are invigorating;
- Clear clutter – everything to have its place – somewhat more of a work in progress for me at the moment, but ideally this will be true!;
- Be realistic in my expectations of myself (as much as I can anyway!);
- Have a plan – I love my bullet journal;
- Be proactive and productive, though not too much you wear yourself out – the idea is to feel like you’re making progress, and at the end of the day you can look back and see what you’ve done;
- Take planned breaks (with a set time to begin again afterwards);
- Set aside time to do non-goal or chore orientated things – eg draw, doodle, play music, watch tv;
- Focus on relationships – both within the family and with friends;
- Look for opportunities to help others – though be careful not to over-commit yourself;
- Getting enough sleep;
- Eating a range of different types of food;
- Hugging people for at least six seconds (so that the oxytocin and serotin start flowing);
- Doing this because I enjoy them, rather than forcing them to have some deeper intention.
This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, just some of the things that help me. Some of these can be combined, and lots of them I know are still a work in progress for me. I make no claims to be an expert in this area!
Above all though, do get professional help if you are at all worried about this subject.
What do you do to support your mental health?