Life can sometimes seem chaotic, whether it is surrounding your employment, spending a great deal of time alone, or trying to balance working from home with looking after your children after the world has changed so much in recent years, it is important to maintain a healthy and happy mind.
Here are our 10 tips to boost mental wellness and happiness:
1. Challenge yourself every day
In a post-pandemic era, it can be easy to fall into a risk-free lifestyle. Taking risks every day builds your courage. Most successful people are not afraid to experience disappointment or failure. These experiences are a part of being human and we should embrace them.
Challenge yourself to one thing every day that pushes you out of your comfort zone, whether that's showcasing your latest creative endeavour on social media or filming a video of yourself to share with colleagues, friends or family.
2. Laugh more
The phrase 'laughter is the best medicine' has been supported by many scientific studies. Laughter relieves physical tension and stress, releases endorphins and boosts your mood. It also strengthens bonds with people around you and is integral to many relationships.
You could watch your favourite comedy series, scroll through funny videos on social media, or listen to a comedy podcast. If you find listening to the news and reading articles online a little overwhelming during this pandemic, Hollywood actor, John Krasinski's YouTube show "Some Good News" is sure to life your spirits as he focuses on uplifting and inspiring news and stories from around the world.
Whatever it is that tickles your fancy, humour enhances positive endorphins, decreases social anxiety and triggers positive social communication.
3. Learn something new
Learning a new skill or rediscovering a passion helps to build a sense of purpose and increase your self-confidence. It can also be a great way of connecting with others, through sharing a similar passion or having something interesting and new to talk about.
You could try out a new recipe, start a DIY project, learn how to play an instrument, find a new hobby such as painting or blog writing, or even learn a new language.
Embracing more creative activities during alone time will help you feel fulfilled and will take you away from technology and social media for an hour or two a day.
4. Determine and live your personal values
Use your downtime for self-reflection. This time can allow you to really focus on your wants and needs without the distractions of the hustle and bustle of your usual lifestyle. Consider what you deem to be your core values and focus on how you can maintain them as you live your day-to-day life.
5. Express gratitude
Focus more attention on what you have, rather than the things you do not have. A positive mindset, and sometimes simply a wider perspective can make the stresses in your life seem much smaller.
Write down five things you are grateful for, or say them aloud to yourself or, better yet, tell the people around you. Making someone feel appreciated will affect their day and boost your self-esteem and confidence as well - you may even gain some appreciation in return.
6. Mindfulness meditation
Directing your attention to the present moment, including your thoughts, feelings and body, can improve your mental well-being by focusing the mind. Stopping to notice the present moment can help you to reconnect with your body and notice the sensations you experience, including sights and smells, rather than being stuck in your mind.
Set aside some time for your mind. Practice non-judgemental awareness of your thoughts. You could follow a guided meditation or write in a journal.
7. Start the day right
You may prefer to begin your morning with something that makes you happy, to start the day as you mean to go on. Alternatively, you may choose to do something you have been dreading to do, to get it done first thing in the morning and feel lighter all day.
Whatever your approach, having the right mindset first thing in the morning is key to maintaining a positive outlook for the day ahead.
8. Reframe negative thoughts
Unhelpful thoughts can lead to unhelpful feelings or behaviours. Through mindfulness, you are allowing yourself to see the present moment with a clear perspective, enabling you to consciously guide your thoughts to reframe and replace negative ones.
Try to recognise these thoughts, see if you can challenge them, then try to replace them with a more positive thought.
9. Reach out to a loved one
If you live alone, it is easy to feel isolated from others at times. Video call a friend or family member to connect with loved ones and remind yourself that there are people who care for you and want to spend quality time with you.
Speaking to someone who knows you so well will be sure to brighten your mood and offer you a safe space to discuss any negative emotions or stressful situations you may be going through.
There are many resources to help you maintain a healthy mind.
The NHS and World Health Organisation are fantastic primary resources for advice on both physical and mental wellbeing.