When we are making a conscious effort to live healthier lives we automatically focus on our nutrition and fitness and often neglect our mental health. Cortisol, the hormone released when we are stressed, can be just as detrimental to our health as a bad diet. The release of cortisol in response to acute stress is normal and poses little harm to our bodies, like when we have a deadline to meet or go on a first date. However we live in a society where we equate success with the busier we are, the more juggle, and the less we sleep. Majority of us spend our lives chronically stressed as a result of our hectic lifestyles. This constant elevation of cortisol can negatively impact our health by; reducing our immune response, increasing our blood pressure and blood sugar, contributing to obesity and causing low mood (just to name a few!).
We can’t completely eliminate stress from our lives but we can learn some healthy coping strategies to minimise stress and help us relax.
Yoga it off
I’m a newbie to yoga but i’ve fallen head over heels for this form of exercise. The biggest benefit that I get from yoga is the period of meditation that it offers me. It is the one hour of my week where I am totally engaged in the here and the now, and completely oblivious to the craziness of my life. The fact that it is a form of exercise is an added bonus not only for our physical health, but also our mental health as it causes the release endorphins, a.k.a. happy hormones!
Write a to-do list
I often find that when i’m lying in bed at night all the things I need to do, or should have done, pop into my head and keep me awake for hours. I now make a point of doing my to-do list the night before so that I know exactly what need’s to be done the following day which makes me feel more relaxed and in control.
Create your happy space
The bedroom should be used only for sleeping and having sex, however for some of us it often acts as an office, wardrobe, television room and dining room. If you have the space in your home, create a relaxation room where you can dedicate to solely relaxing in. Fill it with cushions, candles, dim lights and books – whatever you find relaxing, just make sure to leave all technology outside of the room! If you don’t have the the space then devote an area in your bedroom for relaxing. If you follow me on social media you know that I burn a candle almost overnight while I sip a hot chocolate and have a square or two of dark chocolate. I’m currently burning the Mimosa & Cardamom candle by Jo Malone.
“I wonder how many miles i’ve scrolled with my thumb today” – anonymous
From internet shopping to Facebook stalking, we are endlessly on our phones browsing the web. Not only are we wasting hours of time, but social media isn’t helping our mental health either as a recent study found that the more time a person spends on Facebook, the more dissatisfied they feel with their life.
There’s a number of ways to take a digital detox. For some of you, you may want to go cold turkey and completely disconnect yourself for an entire day or even a week. Others may prefer to limit the amount of time spent online per day. As my job is fuelled via social media, I tend to take an entire day off once a week where I might post only in the morning or the last thing at night so I have some time in between to step away from my phone.
“A cluttered space is a cluttered mind”
This phrase used to haunt me as a teenager because my mum would always use it when my room or my desk space got messy. Now that i’m older, and a little wiser, I totally abide by this rule! Before I sit down to do work I always ensure my desk is clear and my paperwork is filed away. I think that there is nothing more distracting than random pieces of paper, post, and half empty coffee mugs scattered around me.