How to Boost Your Mental Health at Home
During this unique period of social distancing, it’s more important than ever to take care of your mental health. From exercise to fostering a pet, here are some helpful tips and tricks to boosting your mental health at home.
Talking with family and friends is important to stay connected and keep a good headspace. FaceTime is an obvious choice to video chat, but it’s not the only way to connect from a distance. Zoom is a different option that lets you see all your friends and family together at once, “Brady Bunch” style. The app called HouseParty is a “face to face social network” that lets you video chat with your friends and even play games together, like Trivia. It also notifies you when other friends are “in the house” (online) so you can hop on your phone to quickly say hi. Catching up with the people you care about is a sure way to give you a good mental boost and reminder that you are never alone.
Implementing a good self-care routine can help you stay in a good mental space, and now is a great time to catch up on self-care practices you’ve been putting off. First, self-care starts right when you wake up in the morning. Instead of lounging around in pyjamas all day, get dressed in something that makes you feel good. Next, spend a few minutes jotting down in a journal what you are grateful for. Gratitude can make a huge difference in fostering a positive mindset. Give yourself some inner serenity and personal reflection time in the evenings with a hot bath, bonus points if you use a bath bomb or light a candle by the tub. Self-care can take all sorts of forms, so find what works in your daily routine and stick with it to enjoy the mental health boosting benefits.
Your environment can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your mood. Make sure that you're at home environment is clean and organised so you can take on each day with no distractions. You don’t have to be a neat freak to crush this goal. Simply making sure your counters are wiped down and the dishes are done in the evening can make a huge difference for your headspace the next morning. Another easy way to hack your environment is to make your bed every day. Small environmental changes really add up, so be sure to invest some time in organising and cleaning every day to set your future self up for success.
Adopting or fostering an animal isn’t the right choice for everyone, but if it's something you’ve been considering for a while then now might be the time to do it. Many animal shelters have turned into crisis mode urging people to adopt or foster since having to close to stop the spread of the Corona Virus. Studies show that pets can boost serotonin and dopamine, which are chemicals that are important in staying calm and relaxed. A dog is a great excuse to go outdoors and get exercise, while a cat can provide you mood boosting cuddles. Both can give you companionship, something to care for, and a reason to be your best self.
We’ve all heard that Vitamin D is important, but what does it actually do for our mind? Research has shown that Vitamin D is crucial in mood stabilisation and warding off depression, so make a point to get some sunlight each and every day. It’s best to go outside for a walk in direct sunlight, but if that’s not possible you can spend time on your balcony or by a window. For an extra boost, there are “happy lamps” you can buy online that emit a full spectrum light that mimics sunlight. Setting one up by your workstation or where you hang out is a great way to hack the benefits of sunshine.
It might be hard to comprehend what people did before the Internet, but many of them passed time by playing games. Physical games can keep your brain sharp and help you connect with others without any screen time needed. Check out some of the classics like Monopoly, Risk, and Scrabble, or try something new like Cards Against Humanity or What Do You Meme. A game night can turn into deep belly laughs, a healthy dose of competition, and overall a great way to connect with your housemates.
Staying at home can be the perfect opportunity to invest time in cultivating positive practices. With a little creativity and determination, these at home practices can be a great source of happiness and a way to boost your mental health. What ways have you been staying happy and healthy at home?