We’re busy. So busy that we have trouble fitting it all in: cooking, seeing friends, getting enough sleep. So how are we supposed to work mental health into our day?
The idea of taking care of your mental health is not to add more stress to your life or take time away from other important tasks. You can actually care for your mental health no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
- Be mindful
When you’re at your busiest, practicing mindfulness can be a powerful tool. It’s a tool you can take with you wherever you are, and a tool you can use in any situation.
When you feel your mind racing and your stress levels rising, focus your mind on the task at hand. Stuck in a meeting? Concentrate on actively listening. Eating lunch? Focus on the flavours and textures of your food. Need a quick break? Slow your breathing and pay attention to your breath.
If you have a smartphone, your app store is bursting at the seams with mindfulness and meditation help. Check out reviews online to find the one that’s best for you.
- Find — or create — a playlist
Music is known to greatly affect our moods. And with music streaming platforms at our fingertips, it’s never been easier to play music for your mental health. Take a moment to browse through your favourite streaming platform and check out the varieties of playlists available. Pick a soothing playlist to calm anxieties, or a “feel-good” playlist for when you need a pick-me-up.
- Identify and replace negative thoughts
When you find yourself in a funk where all you can think about are the negatives, challenge yourself to replace them with positive thoughts (even if you don’t believe them).
By consciously replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, you’re actually reinforcing those pathways in your brain. There’s a whole science on this. Try it out to see if it works for you.
- Call someone you love
The great thing about technology is that it makes it easier to reach out to the people that mean the most to us. Do you have a hands-free phone? Stuck on a long commute home? Talk and go at the same time. Take advantage of this time and call a loved one.
- Use a mental health app
If you have a smartphone, you will find countless ways to connect with your mental health. There are apps to help you meditate, apps for “smart” journaling, and even apps to help you find a counsellor.
The best part? Many of these apps are free to download, with the option to pay for more features. Simply search “mental health” in the app store.
- Listen to a podcast
You can download free podcasts on most smartphones. Listen during your commute. Or while you’re doing dishes. Check out our suggestions, or simply search “mental health” wherever you listen to podcasts:
The truth is that Canadian winters can be tough as the days get shorter, the skies get greyer and the wind gets colder. It’s important to keep your mental health a priority, even when you feel like you don’t have enough time for it.
Tweet us your favourite mental health “on the go” strategies at @CMHA_NTL