This week marks the fourth annual World Wellbeing Week, a week dedicated to celebrating the many aspects of wellbeing, from meaningful, purposeful work to physical, mental, and emotional health.
With the many difficulties happening in the world now, it’s more important than ever to focus on your mental wellbeing. Here are five tips to improve your wellbeing:
1. Get enough sleep
It can be easy to push your sleep schedule aside whenever life gets busy, but a regular sleep pattern is essential for maintaining your mental health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to increased activity in the part of the brain that controls our stress response – the amygdala. According to research, adults should aim to sleep between 7-9 hours a night, whereas children and teenagers need 9-11 hours.
2. Eat a well-balanced diet
Although eating junk food as an occasional treat is relatively harmless, increased consumption can be problematic. Studies have shown that highly fluctuating blood sugar levels can exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Eating meals containing healthy sources of protein and plenty of complex carbohydrates can keep blood sugar steady.
3. Be aware of your alcohol consumption
Alcohol affects many of the communication pathways in our brain and affects mental health in several ways. Although the occasional drink might help you relax, overdoing the alcohol can increase anxiety and depression and worsen other mental health problems. Instead of drinking alcohol, dedicate some time to finding alternative ways to aid relaxation, such as walking and arts and crafts.
4. Exercise more
It’s clear that regular exercise has a positive impact on your psychical health, but it can also benefit your mental wellbeing. Research has shown that exercise can effectively manage anxiety and depression. Some research even suggests that regular exercise may increase the size of the hippocampus, a region in our brain that helps regulate our stress response. Since prolonged stress may shrink the hippocampus, regular exercise may be a great way to protect against this effect.
5. Doing something kind
Paying someone a compliment, checking in on your neighbours, donating blood, or volunteering are great ways to boost yourself. Check out our random acts of kindness bingo for inspiration.
Sometimes we know what we need to do to feel better, but we can’t bring ourselves to do them. Take one day at a time, and try to find those feel-good moments – whether it’s calling a friend, working on a hobby, or trying something new.