In honor of Mental Health Month, Lily Trotters Brand Champion, Lauren, shares helpful tips to ensure you're making your mental health a priority.
As an athlete and a busy human being, I have come to value taking care of my mental health as well as my physical health. The events of the past year and a half have also really helped me reflect and focus on what I need to take care of my mental health. Here are my personal top 10 tips for good mental health.
1. Sleep. Taking care of your body is so important and sleep is a huge component of that. Sleep is time for your body to recover and also helps with your mood and emotional management. There was a time I didn’t value sleep as much, but now I know I try to make it a priority. Rest is not wasteful!
2. Find your inner peace. During the past year I have restarted my daily meditation habit with the use of an app on my phone. Even 5-10 minutes at night really helps me calm down and find that peace. Any sort of meditation, mindfulness, or relaxation activity you enjoy can help improve your mindset and mood.
3. Switch up your routine. Often when I feel like I am in a rut or get stuck into a bad cycle with poor mental health, switching up something little in my routine can break that cycle. A random ice cream shop visit on a Wednesday or getting out of your house for a hike on the weekend can be just what you need to shake things up.
4. Feed your body AND soul. Your brain needs nutrients to stay healthy just like your body does so food for your physical health can also affect your mental health. On the other hand, sometimes I believe in food for your soul-chocolate is definitely good for my mental health and makes me happy!
5. Move your body. Exercising like my personal favorite activity, running, and moving my body makes me feel good. To paraphrase a quote from Elle Woods, exercising gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy! In all seriousness, exercising is an important way to keep your brain and body feeling good.
6. Get outside. You can even take your exercise outside for double the benefits! Ever notice how you feel lighter and brighter on sunny days? Sunlight is a source of Vitamin D which can improve our mood. Get outside (with sunscreen of course) and soak up that sunshine
7. Connect with others. Something that has been really lovely over the past year is connecting with others, even when I have not been able to be with people in person. I have enjoyed talking to family and friends more on a regular basis whether that is via Zoom meetings or phone calls. When I’m feeling down, giving my friend a phone call or texting my sister a silly cat video can help me feel supported and less alone.
8. Breathe (deeply and smile). This is my own personal manta, but when I start to feel overwhelmed or anxious my first step is always to try to focus on my breathe and perform some deep breathing exercises. It is a way to center myself.
9. Help others. If you aren’t feeling so great about yourself, help someone else feel great (the effects may just wear off on you). I love buying gifts or mailing cards to others to brighten their day. You can also donate to a local charity or volunteer your time helping someone else out. Volunteering can boost your own self-esteem and help you connect with others.
10. Be kind to yourself. Everyone has struggle and flaws it can be easy to put yourself down. Try to offer yourself the same compassion you offer others. As always, ask for help if you need it. Find support in family, friends, or a mental health professional.