One of the things I keep hearing in our post-pandemic world, is how so many people have found that slowing down has been so good for their mental health. During the various lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, people were forced to slow down, no commute, no going out, no rushing around trying to squeeze as much into their day as possible.
Our Virtual PAs are used to this way of working, but a lot of people are not. But it has certainly been a good thing for some people. People have found that they have slept better, they are eating better, they are not working as long hours, but are still able to be as productive, if not more so. So, how can we encourage this slowing down and feeling better now lockdowns are over and life is going back to some sort of normality?
Here we have a look at some of the best ways in which you can manage your mental health as an entrepreneur.
Go For A Walk
The lockdown walk was one of the only things you could do at one stage during the pandemic. Being told to stay at home was hard, but knowing you could go out to exercise, or go for a walk was a real life-saver for so many people. And it inspired even those people who have never gone out for a walk ever before! Getting out during the day, even for a quick walk round the block can really make all the difference to your mental health. Some fresh air and a little movement can shake those cobwebs away and help revitalise you, ready to get back to work.
Eat Your 5 – 10 A Day
Now we have all heard about eating your 5 a day, but have you heard about eating 10 a day? That’s right, 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day will not only help you feel better, but it is reported to help you live longer. 10 may seem like a lot, but if you start your day with a smoothie, made with banana or avocado, perhaps some berries and then a handful of greens, snack on slices of apple dipped in almond butter and then ensure you are including the right proportion of vegetables with your lunch and dinner, this is an easy target to reach.
The benefits of deep breathing have been known for centuries. Taking deep breaths can help with stress and mental health, it can help you sleep better, and it can help manage pain. Deep breathing techniques are often taught in yoga to help you relax into postures, hold postures, and to feel calmer. Try taking a few minutes each day to practice deep breathing and you will notice the benefits straight away.
Meditation is a proven way to feel calmer, less stressed and more aligned with what is happening in your mind and body. Meditation does not have to be done sitting crossed legged in a quiet room. It can be done anywhere. The key to meditation is about focussing on your breath. Taking time to stay still and clear your mind can be a wonderful way to start or end your day.
Put Down Your Phone
We all know we look at our phones too much, and we are all guilty of it. The endless scrolling, the comparison to others, and the perceived need to constantly be fed information can have a negative effect on our mental health. It is especially important to try not to look at your phone just before bed. The light your phone emits can stop your body from producing melatonin, which controls your circadian rhythm and can stop you from falling asleep easily. Put your phone down. Look around you, enjoy your surroundings, go for a walk, have a lie down, pick up a book, make a cup of tea. Try and do these things without looking at your phone. Being outside you will notice sounds of nature you may not have noticed before, drink a cup of tea and allow yourself to saviour it, read a book and immerse yourself into another world. Be present without looking at your phone. The work will still be there when you pick it up again.
Spend Time Doing What You Love
Taking time to do what you love can be tricky for a lot of us. With work and family commitments, finding time to do something for yourself is not always your first priority. But your health should be, and doing something you love will instantly boost your happiness. Try to find some time, even if it is just once a week, to do the thing that you love. Whether that is watching a film, going to the gym, listening to a podcast, baking a cake, or a bike ride. It will make you a happier person which in turn will benefit all those around you.
Do you remember that old BT advert from the early 90s with the slogan ‘It’s good to talk.’? Well, they weren’t wrong! Talking can be a great way to clear things up in your mind. Share your worries, talk through your problems, but also remember to celebrate the good things. Friends and family are always there to lend an ear. Talking through things can help you manage your problems and emotions, as well as help, reduce stress, which is ultimately a good thing for your mental health.
The power of human contact is amazing! One of the things I heard from single friends who lived alone during the lockdowns is how much they missed human contact. It is so important for our mental health, and hugging is one of the best ways to boost your oxytocin levels and can help fight negativity, loneliness and even anger. Make sure you give (and receive) those hugs where you can!
I always love to have a big stretch as soon as I get out of bed in the morning. Stretching can be such a beneficial way to limber yourself up, ready for the day, not just before you do exercise. Stretching can increase mobility, and help you regain your natural flexibility. There are stretches you can do standing up or even whilst you are sitting at your desk, including neck, wrist, and feet stretches.
Sleep is such an important part of our health for our mind and our body. Each day your mind and your body needs that time to recharge. Your brain cannot function without it. The circadian rhythm which I mentioned earlier is what controls your sleep-wake cycle, and light can have a big impact on this. Melatonin is produced as the light fades which makes you drowsy, and cortisol is produced as the light comes up which promotes energy. Sleep in between is essential for all of this to work in rhythm together and ensuring you get enough sleep is essential for a healthy life. Lack of sleep can not only affect your mood and your mental health in general, it has also been linked to a higher risk of some diseases and medical conditions. Getting enough sleep is one of the key cornerstones to living a healthy life.
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