May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a national movement that aims to raise awareness about mental health. Throughout the month, Catholic Charities NH will be sharing valuable information and tips to help promote mental health and well-being.
Today, let’s explore eight practical wellness ideas that you can incorporate into your daily routine:
- Take a cold shower: Wait, what?! Yes, hear us out. Starting your morning with a (healthy) blast of cold water can help you feel more alert, improve blood circulation throughout your body and even reduce inflammation. If that sounds too much (honestly, we don’t blame you!), try turning on the shower at a moderate temperature, then gradually turn down the temperature for short periods of time to help you acclimate to the cold.
- Practice gratitude: Gratitude is one of life’s most underrated tools. Spend a few minutes each day reflecting on what you are thankful for. Is it your family and friends? Is it the job you love? Or is it a certain activity that brings joy to your life? There is no right or wrong answer. Practicing gratitude – and focusing on the positives in life – have been linked to improved mental health, increased happiness, and reduced stress.
- Unplug your devices: Some people call it a “digital detox,” meaning you take a break from your phone, tablet, laptop and other devices. It could be an hour at a time or (better yet) even longer. Use this time to do something that doesn’t involve screens, whether it’s cooking, going for a walk, or snuggling up with your favorite book. Besides bringing you more balance in life, these digital breaks can help improve your sleep, reduce eye strain, and give your brain a rest from constant stimulation and overload.
- Get outside: Nature is great for the body and soul. Try to spend at least a few minutes outside each day, even if it’s just to take a walk around the block or your office building. Being in nature has been linked to reduced stress, enhanced cognitive function and improve overall mood.
- Practice deep breathing: Also known as diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing, this technique involves taking slow and deep breaths utilizing the diaphragm muscle instead of shallow breaths using the chest. Deep breathing can help reduce stress, anxiety, and tension in the body, while also improving oxygen flow and promoting relaxation.
- Stretch: Take a few minutes each day to stretch your muscles. This can help reduce muscle tension and stiffness, increase your blood flow and improve your range of motion. Even just a few minutes of stretching can make a big difference in how you feel!
- Take a break: Please don’t sit in front of a computer screen for five consecutive hours! Whether you’re at work, doing chores around the home or chasing your kids as they melt into tantrum mode, carve out some time to take a break or reset things, even if it’s just a minute. This can help improve your productivity and keep you focused throughout the day.
- Drink water: H2O is your friend. And having enough of it can improve your mood and energy levels. While the amount of water varies on the person the 8×8 rule is a good rule of thumb, meaning you drink at least 8 cups of water (or 64 ounces) each day.
Incorporating these and other daily wellness hacks into your routine can help you feel better mentally and physically! And remember, if you feel life is catching up on you too fast – and you need to talk – we are here to help.