I did a thought experiment recently that had only two questions. One of those questions was what you do for your mental health every day. I thought this was an important question because it would remind you to slow down and go through your day to understand that every day, we’re doing small activities that help us keep our mental health. We don’t have to do anything spectacular to take care of ourselves. And even if we’re unaware, we’re doing things to ensure we stay mentally healthy.
When I first started writing about mental health, my idea had been to simply write about things that we all feel but sometimes struggle to deal with. So it seems fitting that this post is on 10 things you can do for your mental health every day.
You may find you’re already doing them. In that scenario, do them mindfully now, without feeling guilty about giving a mundane task priority in our hustle culture. You may find you’re doing a few of them and would like to mix it up by using someone else’s activity. You may find you’re doing completely different things. That’s fine too. As I said in my very first blogpost on mental health, mental health is how you define it.
PS: these answers are taken from that thought experiment I talked about earlier.
- Reading – the most popular way is to read 30 minutes before bed.
- Exercising – yoga and walking were the most popular answers. I enjoy imagining my room is a pub, put on my headphones, open my hair, and dance. Stretching is another thing I love. Breathing exercises are also something my respondees swore by.
- Journaling/doodling – maintaining a gratitude journal or writing down how your day went or just picking up a sketch pen and letting your hand guide you.
- Laugh – one of my favourite answers.
- Steer negative self talk to positive – another of my favourite answers. One thing that has really helped me to keep this practice is to remind myself that I wouldn’t talk like this to a friend or my sister. So I shouldn’t talk like this to myself either.
- Spend time with family/partner – something like playing boardgames, talking about your day or playing with a grandchild. One thing that we do is watch a series. It’s so rare that all of us like the same thing but when we do, we make it a point to watch it together. We have seen Merlin, Broadchurch, The Crown, Schitt’s Creek and Good Doctor. Now that Christmas movies are going to flood my Netflix timeline, we’ll binge on those.
- Music – surprisingly, only person said this. Since I spend so much time on my laptop, sometimes I don’t want to look at my Kindle. So, I listen to an audiobook if not music. If I’m listening to music, I listen to Blackpink – I have been obsessing over them since I saw their documentary.
- Gratitude – another popular answer of remembering all the good things that have happened in the day. Or just remembering how far one has come in their life.
- Mindfulness – I had done a course on this and our teacher had explained that mindfulness means being in the moment. So if I’m having a cup of coffee, I am focussed solely on that and not multi-tasking my way through drinking coffee. It’s hard. I can do this only when I’m tired or for five minutes. But sometimes, those five minutes can be enough.
- Spending time with self – the most underrated activity in my opinion. Popular answers included cooking or writing.
Bonus answer: getting up before the others so the person can spend some time doing things they want to do. I have tried getting up before everyone but I love my sleep too much! So I have made a compromise and I get up 10-15 minutes before I have to leave the bed to do something I want to do. Like read a fluffy fanfiction.
So these are 10 activities that the respondents to my thought experiment do to take care of their mental health every day. See, it’s not hard. With the right intention, you and I can do anything.
What would you like to add to the above list?