Stress management is something everyone needs, regardless of age or gender. As a mother, it is integral to not only your wellbeing but that of your family as well. The world has a way of inflicting stress and stressors, big or small, particularly during motherhood. It can feel like there’s no end in sight, and like you’re constantly being sidelined by an onslaught of obstacles.
The beauty of life is while you may face obstacles, how you respond to them makes a difference. You can choose to embrace those mentally challenging moments and make the most of them, or adopt a negative mindset.
The lifestyle you lead matters too. There are daily habits that can help relieve stress. These small changes can have a positive impact on your mental health if you do them consistently. Let’s look at some positive lifestyle changes that can boost your mental health and help you get back on a tract toward mental wellness.
Cut Back on Social Media
If you feel your social media addiction is taking a toll on your mental health, it might be time to put the phone down and shut off the instant messages. Checking every Facebook post and update is mentally taxing. Why not turn some screen time into self-care? Spend the time you use to obsessively check your phone doing something more deeply satisfying, like taking a short walk, playing with a pet, or calling a friend.
Just say no to uninterrupted hours of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Another downside of social media is that checking it in the evening can interrupt sleep time, something your body needs for mental health and wellness. Studies link time spent on social media with sleep disturbances and poor sleep quality. Getting a good night’s sleep is more important than viewing the latest social media meme. Think about your longer-term health! Designate a specific amount of time to be on social media and cut it off after that. Don’t let social media dominate your life.
Get Outdoors During the Day
There are many mental health advantages to getting outdoors during the day. Exposing your eyes to natural light helps set your body’s internal biological clock, a timekeeper that affects your health and mood. Being in green spaces also has a calming effect. Some studies show that spending time in nature reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Even 20 minutes of nature time can lower your body’s stress response. Head outdoors for a short walk – without your phone.
Move Your Body as Soon as You Wake Up
Movement is good for your mind and mood. Studies show that people who are physically active are at a lower risk of developing depression. Exercise also causes your body to produce more endorphins, natural pain relievers that also have mood-elevating effects. If you do brisk exercise in the morning, it will set a positive tone for the day. You’ll have endorphins coursing through your veins. Plus, exercise affects neurotransmitters in your brain and nervous system in a way that boosts mood. Start the day with a stretch and a walk outdoors, and you’ll be doing something positive for your mental health.
Research shows mindfulness meditation can help with anxiety and depression. While there are many types of meditation that focus on breathing and relaxation, mindfulness meditation is unique in that it teaches you to pay close attention to the present moment. You do this by focusing on your breathing and noticing when your mind wanders off. When it does, gently bring it back. When your mind engages with the present, you’re not focused on the present or future, the main causes of worry. You don’t have to meditate for long periods to get benefits. Ten or fifteen minutes during the day can pay off with a more positive outlook and less stress.
Explore Your Creative Side
Creativity is another mental release. Research shows that even when creativity feels like ‘busywork’, it helps process what’s going on in your life and can have psychological benefits. In other words, it boosts your sense of well-being. Try doing one creative activity a day — whether that’s making music, journaling or drawing. Choose something you enjoy and give yourself the freedom to create unrestrained. Even if you only have 15 minutes a day to spare, make time to express your creativity.
There’s science to support the benefits of creativity on mental health. According to psychologist Dr. Cath Malchiodi, creativity reduces anxiety, depressive symptoms, and helps alleviate stress. Use creative time as “me time” for your mental health.
Write in a Journal
Writing in a journal can be a daily dose of calm. If you have deep-seated worries or experiences you have a hard time talking about, writing in a journal can help you bring those thoughts out into the open where they lose their power to harm you. You can use an online app to keep a journal, but the real benefits come from the physical process of writing. So, select a beautiful journal and begin writing in it daily. You might discover surprising things about yourself too!
The Bottom Line
Start working on your mental health every day, and you’ll see changes over time. You need good mental health to contribute positively to society, make friends and be comfortable in your own skin. It’s that important for your future health and well-being.
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