Mental health and physical health are so closely linked, it is amazing. We often think that mental health is an entirely separate beast, and that mood or emotion is controlled by our brain and mindset, rather than connected to our bodies.
But mental health is just another form of health, and there are many little things that you can do physically which will greatly boost how you feel mentally and emotionally.
You may not also realize this, but if you are suffering from mental health issues these can manifest themselves as physical symptoms and illness.
If you have been experiencing some of these physical symptoms and can’t find any illness or physical explanation for them, you might be suffering from some mental health problems, heightened stress or some emotional strain.
Physical symptoms of mental health issues:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Headaches and backaches
- Lethargy and lack of energy
- Eczema and rashes
You may have been suffering from several of the above symptoms and your doctor can find no real explanation for them.
Why not try one or two of the little changes we’ve listed below, and see if this helps to relieve your symptoms and make you feel better?
Let’s have a look at a few of the easiest ways you can improve your mental health right now
Up Your Vitamin D Levels
This might be hard in the middle of a Northern winter, but a slight boost to your vitamin D levels can greatly help your mental health. Try to get ten minutes of sunshine on your face and arms every day; even as little as this can make a big difference.
You can also buy vitamin D supplements if the real thing is not showing up so much outside – why not talk to the clever crew at Eric’s for some recommendations of products for you?
Wild Fish Oil
Oils that are high in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown through a variety of studies to improve your mood and brain power as well. People who have diets high in oily fish such as salmon are less likely to suffer from depression.
Adding a wild fish oil supplement to your diet is one of easiest adjustments you can make diet-wise which has been proven to help mental health.
Some studies show that other oils including those in avocados and walnuts, whole grains and eating green leafy vegetables can also help your mood.
Even a little exercise or activity several times a week can help your mental health. Exercise releases serotonin and endorphins into your system which are the feel-good hormones, and stimulates the parts of the brain that are responsible for learning and memory, which makes you more alert.
Try walking, riding a bike, dancing, yoga, playing ball with your children, or going for a swim. Grab a friend to come with you and you can have a gossip session while getting active. The social aspect of this will make you feel much better as well.
Treat yourself to a barista-made coffee afterward, and the entire experience will leave you feeling 100% boosted.
Reduce Your Screen Time
There are some wonderful apps for mental health including some focused on mindfulness, adult coloring, yoga, improving your sleep and more. But if you find that your screen time is getting up there across the day, you are overdoing it, and less is much, much better than more.
There are several reasons why screen time is not great for mental health. The light of the screen keeps your eyes and brain active and alert, making it harder to wind down or relax when you need to do so.
The constant nature of social media and a global digital world can also put enormous stress on people, who may find themselves worrying around the clock rather than shutting out the world and other people from time to time. Here are some things that might help:
- Most smartphones these days can track how much screen time you are using every day. Try paying attention to this, and set yourself goals to reduce it.
- Set yourself a screen curfew, for example, 9 pm, and then make sure that all screens are off by then, to let your mind wind down naturally for bed.
- If you can manage it, ban all screens from the bedroom altogether. Charge up your phone in the office or the kitchen – you probably don’t need it right next to your head 24-7.
Get a Gratitude Attitude
Writing down your thoughts, even if you aren’t a wordsmith, can provide great relief for mental health concerns and stress.
You could try some small things, such as:
- Starting a gratitude journal, and writing down 3-5 original things you are grateful for every day
- Try writing your thoughts or worries down in a book next to your bed to get them out of your head – this can help you to clear your mind and be ready for sleep
- Set small goals that you can achieve each day, and tick them off when achieved. Even things like making your bed, drinking 8 glasses of water a day or turning off your screens at curfew time each night are a good start.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night may sound hard, but this little change alone can make such a positive improvement to your mental health.
Sleep is essential for mental health because this is the time your body needs to rest and repair itself. Cells regenerate while you are sleeping, and your brain has time to process everything that has happened across the day, pack away memories and reset for tomorrow. People who sleep better are less likely to suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression.
Some easy things you can do to try to get a good night’s sleep include:
- Keep screens out of your bedroom, or at least switch them off a good hour or so before bed
- Don’t have coffee or other sources of caffeine after mid-afternoon
- Make sure that your room is cool, dark and quiet. Look into noise-canceling headphones or an eye-mask if this is difficult in your space.
- Drink a cup of chamomile tea before bed, or try warm milk
- Using lavender essential oil, give yourself a gentle hand and foot massage in bed
- Try a supplement formulated especially to help with sleep.
Improving your Mental Health: Final Thoughts
We are huge advocates for starting small – because from little things big things grow! Just a tiny change to your health habits or daily rituals here and there can make so much difference.
Eric’s has some wonderful products to help with stress-relief, mood and mental health, just pop in and have a chat with the staff to see what might work for you.