5 Ways to Look After Your Mental Health

When we talk about health, we must take a holistic approach, this doesn’t just include our physical health, but mental health too.  Here at Fivaday HQ, we’ve popped together our top 5 tips to look after your mental health.

1)      Mixing up your meds!

We’re not talking medication; we’re talking about the Mediterranean Diet. By far, this diet has the most to offer for optimal health, but when we mix it up with the DASH diet, it results in the MIND diet which stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. 

A 2021 systematic review pulled together 13 studies and highlighted that certain nutrient patterns (eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, olive and seed oils, fish and lean meat/poultry – and eating lower amounts of highly processed foods) could lead to better brain integrity and function.

So, ensure you are eating plenty of:

-          Green leafy vegetables,

-          Berries,

-          Nuts,

-          Extra Virgin Olive Oil,

-          Wholegrains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice,

-          Oily fish like salmon,

-          Beans including lentils,

2)      Give mindfulness a bash!

See if you can try with a mindfulness or meditation app for 10-15 mins a day and see how you feel. 

3)      Get a good night’s sleep!

Good sleep is so important to our health, especially our mental health; there is certainly some truth in the saying, “got up on the wrong side of the bed!”  Poor sleep is regularly linked to depression anxiety and other mental health challenges.  Not only that but these mental health challenges also make it harder to sleep well.  We find ourselves in a vicious cycle.  The important thing is that sufficient REM sleep facilitates the processing of emotional information. 

The thing to consider at this time of year is that Seasonal Affective Disorder is a subtype of depression which accepts people during reduced daylight hours.  It is closely related to the disruption of internal biological clocks.

If you’d like more tips to improve your sleep, check out our blog here.  https://www.fivaday.com/post/5-tips-for-better-sleep

4)      Stay connected!

Ongoing feelings of loneliness can significantly affect how we feel, so staying in touch with friends and family is so important.  It’s also about quality and not quantity – we don’t need 100 friends, just a couple of really good ones. 

5)      Get out in nature!

Did you know that being in nature reduces scores of anxiety and depression?

Our species has existed for thousands upon thousands of years – but even the oldest cities have only been around a fraction of that!  What this means is that we largely evolved in nature, and this environment therefore shaped our brains – for want of a better phrase, going back to nature almost takes us back to our roots. 

What the data says:

-          Being in nature is seen to improve sleep scores,

-          Spending time in green spaces simply makes us happier,

-          Mental stress scores significantly reduce when we live in urban areas with increased green spaces,

-          Time in nature improves our relationships with others and also cognitive functioning,

Try to head outside at least once a day.  And see how you feel.