The current global events unfolding in front of us, combined with the daily struggles and pressures we all experience, can have the potential to impact our mental health levels as we navigate our lives. This blog post introduces practical, but scientifically-proven, ways to go about attempting to temporarily boost your mental health: Exercise, Diet, and Sleep. These are not ‘quick fixes’ to instantly nullify any issues you might be struggling with – but are rather, easy tips and tricks to help increase stability in your lifestyle and overall mental health levels.
Exercise: Just like brushing your teeth
The link between mental health and physical exercise is well known. Instead of throwing a bunch of text heavy information at you about neurological transmitters and pathways, here are my favorite takes on exercise and mental health:
Ted X: Start thinking about exercise like you would view brushing your teeth – daily, frequently and for an adequate amount of time.
But Will, I don’t want to watch 30 minute exercise routine videos on Youtube, what do I do? Fear no more, Tiktok has some great fitness content you can do at home with no equipment. Justin Agustin (https://www.tiktok.com/@justin_agustin) provides at-home workouts, attracting over 1.7 million followers on the platform.
Diet: Keeping our minds healthy as well as our body
The connection between diet and a healthy body is well informed – most of us learnt this at school. However, less well-known, is the impact our diets have on our mental health itself. Some diets, especially those high in what are known as UPF’s (Ultra-Processed Foods) have been proven to have a negative effect on our mental health. What are UPF’s? Here are some foods under this category:
Nutritionists recommend that we try to increase the amount of unprocessed foods into our diet such as fruit, green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, peas) and whole grain pasta – which are proven to boost serotonin. For some great meal tips that incorporate this type of diet, take a look at this instagram account – Full Time Meals – set up by Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and chef Tom Kerridge: https://www.instagram.com/fulltimemeals/ .
Sleep: Make sure to get a good night’s rest
A good night’s sleep is integral to maintaining our biological system and regulating our emotions. About 90% of those with depression state sleeping difficulties. The literature on the benefits of sleep is vast, however, who wants to read 100 pages of chemical processes, the simplified methods to get a good night sleep are:
Try to not go on any technology before bed
Do not eat to late in the night
Regulate your room temperature, it cannot be too hot or cold.
Even better, try some sleeping apps such as Tide, Relax Melodies, and Sleep Cycle. Relaxing sounds and even better some meditation which allows you to slow down your heart rate, allowing you to drift off easier and get that night’s sleep you need.
Hopefully these tips and tricks can help you manage or get back on top of your mental health. It must be noted, none of these themes will cure depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness. However, they can help in regaining control over some of the negative thoughts you might have, and ultimately might even improve your overall mental health somewhat. Try one, or all of them, and see! Alternatively, if none of these prove of any use, then try our website tool: (https://help.miricyl.org/) to help find further support and services to tackle mental health once and for all.
Blog written by Will Wood, Miricyl Intern.