Updated: Jun 28, 2020
In times like this balancing your mental health can feel like a full time job. Here are ten simple steps to get grounded and find mental and emotional balance.
1. Avoid excess sugar and caffeine.
Increasing our sugar or caffeine intake can feel like a natural strategy to help us cope during stressful times. This is because sugar and caffeine provide short bursts of energy and dopamine which temporarily feel great. But remember what comes up must come down, so to avoid too much of an emotional roller coaster do your best to limit your intake of either substance.
2. Practice self-care.
Self-care looks different for everyone. Maybe for you it involves putting on a favorite face mask, or reading a book under a cozy blanket, or baking a tasty treat, or taking the time to journal. Try to incorporate 2-3 different forms of self-care into your day. Learning what forms of self-care work for you is one of the best ways to find and maintain mental balance no matter what comes up in life.
3. Phone a friend or family member.
Reach out to those friends you have been too busy to check in on over the past few months (or even years). Or call your parents or siblings, or maybe your favorite aunt or uncle. Lack of social interaction can increase stress levels, but reports show that increased social interaction (especially via FaceTime, Skype, etc.) is a powerful way to decrease anxiety and boost our mood.
4. Take a bath.
The mental health benefits of bathing have been known for centuries. A Japanese study found that taking a bath actually decreases stress levels, anger, hostility, and even depression. So throw in your favorite bath salts and start running the water and feel the tension start to melt with each breath.
Take a moment to write about the things you are grateful for. Or maybe take a moment to write about a few new things you'd like to invite into your life this summer. You can even write about any fears or anxieties that are coming up and allow yourself to process them through this subtle yet powerful form of healing.
6. Eat balanced meals at regular meal times.
Snacking is an easy form of distraction, but try to notice when your snacking habits are interfering with regular meal times. Missing meals can also impact your mood because to maintain regular energy levels it's important to make sure we are eating on a normal schedule. Studies have shown that regular mealtimes are important in terms of maintaining proper biological functioning and provide a sense of regularity and rhythm in our days.
7. Practice yin yoga.
Yin yoga may seem "easier" than traditional Western yoga classes, perhaps because it is a slower-paced, less-workout intensive type of yoga. Yin provides a space to just sit with ourselves and meet our emotions wherever they may be. So when you feel like you don’t have the time to practice yin, make the time to slow down the mind and the body so they can recharge and ground through a yin session.
If you don't meditate regularly, now is the perfect time to start. Meditation not only boosts our mood, but it decreases stress, anxiety, and our risk of depression. A regular practice also boosts immunity and the quality of our sleep. You can access past Mother Yin meditations here or check out our 5 day guided meditation series!
9. Drink a warm cup of relaxing herbal tea.
Studies have found that drinking a warm beverage can actually make us feel more caring and generous. So reach for a cup of whatever herbal tea you may have on your shelf and take a few moments to wind down.
10. Get enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation increases anxiety, depression, and even affects our ability to focus. So do your best to get to bed early. If you're suffering from insomnia, try dimming the lights in your house about 2 hours before bed and limiting any screen time about 3 hours before bedtime. This helps to keep our circadian rhythm aligned with the light in the natural world.
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