Physical fitness is incredibly important for everyone; while you don’t need to win fitness competitions, we all need movement to keep us healthy. Staying in shape is usually the go-to for everyone when you say “health”. However, mental health and mindset is just as important as physical health, and we don’t necessarily place a high priority on it. Autumn can be a stressful time for people! School is starting, work can be busy finishing up the year, hobbies and activities often pick up, and while the holidays are warm and cheerful, they are also busy and stressful and expensive. Now is the time to take some time for you and focus on your mental health and stress!
1. Get Enough Sleep
This seems obvious, but I as much as anyone don’t take this piece of advice. A lack of sleep can affect your moods, your skin, your digestion, your mental abilities, your everything. We all know that you should get enough sleep- you know how much you personally need to get- but the large majority of us do not make it a priority. Careers, family, volunteering, friends, hobbies, and pretty much everything else cut into our sleeping time and make us forget until long after that we should be in bed.
Take one week, and set your bed time for 30-60 minutes before you need to be asleep. Put it in your phone, put blockers on your internet, write it in your planner. Tell your friends that you won’t be able to stay out past X time, and give yourself at least a few nights at home. Turn off the screens, put on a podcast or music in the background or grab a book, and just let yourself be! I’m terrible for it, but you need to give yourself time to unwind. Figure out what your optimal sleeping conditions are- what pajamas are the comfiest, what temperature is the most pleasant, which blankets and sheets are the softest, and how long you actually need to sleep for to feel rested. After a full week of sleeping comfortably, take note of how you feel; you will notice that you are feeling more alert and solid!
2. Don’t Pressure Yourself
In 2016, we expect ourselves to be experts on everything, especially women. We take on gluten free baking classes, volunteering, multiple friend groups, recreational aquatic dodgeball leagues, and whatever other activity you can imagine, on top of work and family. While I firmly believe that we should all strive to be the best version of ourselves we can be, we need to be better at making sure that we aren’t slowly killing ourselves in the process. What happens if you spend two or three nights at home in a row? Absolutely nothing except perhaps a little less stress! In your planner, block off evenings or at least a few hours where you have time to do nothing, you have no expectations and nothing has to come from it!
3. Do What You Want to Do
There are some things in life that you have to do, no matter how much you like or dislike them. Work, taxes, and yearly physicals all come to mind… However, we have all have different things that we do in spite of the fact that we dislike them, and that can take its toll on your mental health. Take stock of what you spend your time doing and if you actually like doing it. Are you doing it to achieve something? Are you doing it to please someone else? Are you doing it out of habit? If you don’t truly enjoy something, stop doing it. It can be tough to step back, and I’m not suggesting that you up and quit everything right now, but start the process of getting rid of the negatives!
4. Tell People Your Plan
Specifically go out of your way to tell people that you are taking some time for yourself to recalibrate. If people know that you are taking some time for yourself, they will be supportive of you potentially missing some events or generally changing your routine. I have a few friends that are amazing people but are incredibly stressed; if they told me that they were taking a few weeks to de-stress and give themselves some time to relax, I would do everything I could to support them in that. Friends and family should be there for you, and they will understand that it’s only for your benefit and health. Also, sharing your plans might encourage some of your friends to do the same! Spend some of your nights doing nothing together and work on your friendship at the same time. You might learn new things about yourself and others!
Do you make time for yourself? What do you do to de-stress?