Four simple things you can do take care of your mental health!
Saranya Balasubramanian·December 10, 2021
Even before I start writing, I am going to address the elephant in the room here.
You might ask, why am I, a business owner who sells quilts online, writing about women's mental health?
I am not an expert in mental health and I am not going to pretend as if I am one. But I am a woman, a mother, a wife, a business owner and like any other woman in this world, I have been through up's and downs in my life.
I have struggled and still do struggle with depressions and the anxieties of my day-to-day life.
In recent years, I have been making some conscious effort to deal with my mental health in a positive way. Some of those efforts have been fruitful and I thought I might share those simple tips with people who might be on the same journey as me.
Hopefully, you can get some value out of this.
The first one on this list is food. They say you are what you eat. From experience, I have realised that is in fact true.
I believe there is a strong connection between the food we eat and our mental health. Going back to 2019, my anxiety was so high. I was going through a rough patch mentally and at the same time, I had some physical issues as well.
I decided to make some changes to my diet and stopped consuming a few things like artificial sugar, dairy and alcohol. At the same time I started eating more veggies. Nothing too drastic. Eat more veggies and leave out the above mentioned three items.
At first, it was tough but after a couple of weeks, I started to see the difference. Not just did my physical health improve, there was a huge improvement in my mood and mental health as well.
I continued with that diet for a few months and I felt so much better. My anxiety reduced drastically, I felt a lot lighter and interestingly my confidence level increased as well.
Now, this may or may not work for you but I have spoken to a lot of women about this. Some of them had followed this diet before and experienced a similar outcome.
So, try not to consume too much of artificial sugars like bakery products, chocolates, ice-creams and sugary drinks. Then stop or limit alcohol. I was not that much of a drinker to start with anyway, so it was quite easy for me to stop drinking alcohol. Then finally diary. It was giving me heartburn, bloating and indigestion. I read somewhere that dairy products might be hard to digest for a lot of people. Stopping that along with the alcohol made such a huge difference in my digestive health.
Don't worry, I am not going to start talking like a guru now 😂
Whenever I talk about meditation with other girls, they think it is something that is too hard and they might never be able to do it.
I used to think the same way. That might be due to our society, constantly projecting mediation as something you have to sit with folded legs, close your eyes tightly, sit on top of a mountain and do it early in the morning.
It is not like that at all.
I learnt a simple meditation technique, which made wonders for me and I am going to teach that to you now.
First, choose a quiet time and place. Obviously, it is going to be hard when you have kids running around. So choose a time when there is no one at home. I usually do it once I get back home after dropping my daughter at school.
Then sit somewhere you feel the most comfortable. Do not lay down as you might fall asleep (at least I do 😂). Perhaps sit on a couch or a chair that you like the most.
Close your eyes and start concentrating on your breath. Do not manipulate your breath though. You do not need to inhale excessively or exhale deeply or anything like that. Just watch your normal breathing.
Now within a few seconds, your mind will start to wander. You might start thinking about what to do for lunch, oh forgot to switch on the washing machine, did I turn off the stove, hopefully, my daughter drinks water, on and on and on and on...
Do not get frustrated when your mind does that. It is perfectly normal for your mind to do that.
When that happens and when you realise that your mind has wandered off, just bring your awareness slowly back to your breathing. That's all you have to do.
Keep repeating this process for as long as you feel comfortable. It could be just for five minutes initially. You can increase the timing as you go along. Give this a go and notice the difference.
This might sound obvious but we are addicted to our phones and TV isn't it? It is really hard to stay away from our mobile phones even for a few minutes.
I noticed, those social media apps, not only wastes my time but it has a negative effect on my mental well-being. By looking at other people's photos, subconsciously, I am comparing myself with my friends, their looks, their wealth and even the way they look after their kids to mine. I get tempted to buy things that I don't need and go on a vacation just because someone else has gone to that place before.
At one point, social media and screen time even started to affect my sleep. So I decided to make some small changes and it has been great since then.
I do not check my phone as soon I wake up. I only check it after breakfast and meditation. Even then, I try to reduce the amount of time I spend on mindless scrolling. When I am working, I leave my phone in the room next door or at least a few meters away. So that I can still hear it if it rings but at the same time it is far enough for me to not touch it whenever I am tempted to.
I also try not to look at my phone for at least a couple of hours before I go to sleep.
These changes have improved my mental well-being a lot.
The last and the final one - exercise
Again, don't worry. I am not going to start talking like a gym junkie all of a sudden now. I am not a fan of exercises, to be honest. I used to think exercising means working so hard, lifting so heavy and running like a mad dog.
But that was not sustainable for me. I got tired, it was painful and moreover who has that kind of time nowadays anyway.
So I started a simple way of exercising. I go for a 20min brisk walk followed by 10 mins of a quick home workout. And I do this at least 4 times a week. That's all it is.
One thing I noticed when it comes to exercising is consistency. It doesn't matter if you work out only 10 minutes a day but if you do that every single day, you will start noticing the changes.
Coupled with diet changes and meditation, these simple exercises have changed my life completely.
All right ladies and gents. These are my four simple tips for mental and physical well being.