Simple self-care for your mind and spirit can help to improve and maintain positive mental health.
As a growing number of people are struggling with their mental health, we are slowly beginning to talk more openly about it.
However, as a society, we still have a very long way to go with regards to how we think about mental health.
Unfortunately, it is still seen as something that is separate from our overall health and wellbeing.
But, as is becoming increasingly apparent, positive mental health goes hand in hand with good physical health.
So following on from the Simple Self-Care for Your Body, this post will look seven simple self-care ideas for your mind and spirit that you can easily make part of your daily life if you’re not already doing so.
Simple Self-Care for Your Mind & Spirit
Put your electronic devices down and begin to develop a healthier relationship with your phone.
According to a national poll carried out by digital agency Code Computerlove, on average adults in the UK spend on average 3 hours and 23 minutes looking at their phones every day.
And, currently, the true impact of this much screentime is still unknown.
Some studies suggest that excessive phone usage can negatively impact brain function and cause or contribute to poor mental health.
However, despite this knowledge, many of us are so attached to our phones that we don’t even have the willpower to limit how much we use them.
If that’s the case for you (it is for me), there are a number of apps you can use to monitor and restrict your usage.
I use the Stay Focused app to limit and minimise my usage of social media apps.
In addition, I recently read the book How to Break Up With Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life which I highly recommend.
It’s a quick read and contains an array of strategies for developing a healthier relationship with your electronic devices. It also shares some concerning facts and stats about mobile device usage.
When you unplug from your electronic devices, you should find that you have more time on your hands – 3 hours and 23 minutes on average in the UK!
Use some of this time to unwind.
There is no denying that mobile devices are great for many things and have enhanced several areas of our life.
However, one of the consequences is that we’re always connected and available to everyone.
Disconnect, have the ultimate relaxing bath, listen to some soothing music and get lost in a good book, box set or movie. Or whatever helps you to disconnect, unwind and enjoy some simple self-care for your mind and spirit.
One of the strategies suggested in the book How to Break Up With Your Phone is using the “Do Not Disturb” feature on your phone. It’s been a complete game-changer for me!
Have a safe, healthy outlet
Life is a rollercoaster and it regularly has its challenges and frustrations.
Alcohol, drugs and food are just some of the more common vices people turn to when they’ve had a bad day, are going through a difficult time or experiencing negative emotions.
It is important to identify healthier ways to deal with and process any thoughts or experiences that are negatively impacting your behaviour, emotions and mental health.
Make self-care part of your daily routine
We all have a daily routine.
For most of us, weekdays will be a variation of wake up, brush your teeth, shower, make a hot drink, eat breakfast and go to work.
Therefore, it makes sense to incorporate one or two simple acts of self-care into your existing routine.
Perhaps, you could put your phone down earlier in the evening and instead of spending an hour mindlessly scrolling, you could have a soak in the bath.
Or maybe, rather than starting your morning listening to the news or reading the newspaper, you could listen to music or write in a journal.
Remember self-care for your mind and spirit does not have to be grand gestures or massively time-consuming and often small daily acts make the biggest difference.
Put healthy personal boundaries in place
As mentioned above, the complete integration of mobile devices into our lives means that many of us are always available to everyone.
Do you find it difficult to say no to people in your life?
Do you check your work email up until the moment you close your eyes in bed?
Do you sleep with your phone next to your bed?
Do you have notifications on for all of your apps?
Do you answer every phone call and respond instantly to messages, no matter what you’re in the middle of?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the questions above, you may want to think about your personal boundaries.
Healthy personal boundaries help you to clarify how you want to use your time and energy and make it easier to communicate to others how you wish to interact and engage with them.
Setting personal boundaries also requires taking personal responsibility because in order for it to be effective you have to walk your talk.
As such, it doesn’t make sense to ask your boss not to call you once you’ve left the office but then spend your evening checking and sending work emails.
Similarly, if you want to reduce the negative energy in your life and you’re minimising your contact with the “bad vibes” people in your life, it would make sense to also minimise how often you interact with all forms of media.
First of all, what is mindfulness?
The NHS website cites Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, as saying “mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.”
In a society where we’re constantly busy and connected to other people, it can be easy to lose connection to how we’re feeling, both physically and mentally, as well as what thoughts are actually our own.
Mindfulness allows you to tune in and become conscious of what’s good for you and what is negatively impacting you.
It can also increase your awareness of any areas of concern such as recurring negative thoughts or fears, continuous neck pain and headaches or that feeling in your stomach that you can’t explain but tells you that something is not quite right.
Additionally, mindfulness helps us to take notice of what’s going on around us which can, in turn, encourage us to appreciate the here and now.
Meditation, intentional breathing and colouring-in are just a few activities you can do to practise mindfulness.
However, the simplest way to practise mindfulness is to bring awareness to everyday tasks. Tasks such as eating, driving, walking as well as being more intentional about the things you say and do.
Get enough sleep
We live in a society where having little sleep is considered a contributor to success and too often people see rest as a sign of laziness.
But there are real implications to lack of sleep.
Put your phone down and definitely do not take it to bed with you.
Firstly, the blue light that your phone emits is known to affect sleep.
Secondly, too many of us spend hours scrolling mindlessly. We then go to sleep late into the night only to wake up exhausted the next morning.
We then repeat the cycle night after night.
It’s also worth reviewing your evening routine. Just like with mornings, most of us have an evening routine whether or not we’re conscious of it.
Get home, sort the dinner (and kids if you have them), clean and tidy, flop in front of the TV whilst mindlessly scrolling on our mobile device of choice, shower, collapse into bed and spend another hour or so mindlessly scrolling.
How can you make better use of your time and incorporate simple self-care for your mind and spirit?
You’ll no doubt notice that a lot of incorporating simple self-care for your mind and spirit into your daily life involves changing your relationship with your phone and mobile devices.
This is because as much as our phones and mobile devices have improved our lives in numerous ways, they are also having a negative impact on our health and wellbeing.
Hopefully, you’ll also see that you don’t need to totally ditch your phone or mobile device. Rather, making a few small daily changes over time can massively help to improve and maintain positive mental health and wellness.
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