Expert review by Dr. Jan Dorrell, ND
As we look towards a post COVID world, let’s explore some simple strategies to improve your mental wellbeing. These are just easy and practical tips that you can incorporate in your daily life to take better care of yourself and take control of your mental health.
There are very few things we know for sure in life, but we do know the following. Don't underestimate point #4.
1. MOVE YOUR WAY TO A HEALTHY MIND
Although most people exercise to stay fit and improve their physical health, exercise is also great for your mental health. You should move not only for your body but also for your mind. Try different forms of exercise to find what feels best for you. Mix and match. In doing so, exercise will stop being a chore and become a fun, feel-good activity to look forward to.
The connection between exercise and mental health is now well studied and clear. Engaging in some kind of exercise has profound effects on the brain, especially on the inhibition and activation of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that the brain uses to communicate with the body. For example, the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline plummet, thanks to exercise. On the other hand, the so-called “happy hormones” serotonin and norepinephrine are significantly increased during and after exercise. Serotonin is considered a natural mood stabilizer, contributing to general wellbeing and happiness, and norepinephrine, nicknamed “feel-good hormone,” improves alertness and energy.
Serotonin is particularly sensitive to oxygen. The more oxygen you breathe, the more serotonin your body will produce. Meaning that fresh air makes you happier! So, if you are looking for a boost of energy and good mood, head outside. Wherever you live, go out and explore. If you live in a city, it might be your local park, a riverside walk, a new area to discover on foot. You don’t need to be running a marathon. Just grab your walking shoes and a buddy, and you are all set. Research tells us that exercising is better in good company. A 2017 study found that individuals who work out in a group have a 26% lower stress rate and improved quality of life compared to people who work out solo. If your friends are not so keen on getting outside, you can join an adventure club such as The Lady Alliance, an association of inspiring women organizing outdoor events and retreats all over North America.
If your joints hurt consider low impact activities like biking or swimming or sex. Just get your heart rate up!
2. SLEEP - YOUR BRAIN FUEL
Sleep is as important to our health as breathing, eating, and drinking. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 8 hours of sleep for people over the age of 64 and 7 to 9 hours for those aged 18 to 64 (kids need even more sleep). More than 50% of us sleep much less than these recommendations. Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. The connection between sleep and mental health is loud and clear.
If you have trouble sleeping, you are not alone. Between 40 to 50 % of adults worldwide report some sort of sleep disturbance. Since sleep issues are often related to stress, meditation can help. As a relaxation technique, it can quiet the mind and the body. When done before bedtime, it can promote overall calmness, resulting in reduced sleep troubles. There are many apps out there that can guide your meditation. Otherwise, you can take it a step even forward and try a scientifically proven device to help you make the most of your meditation practice for a night of restorative sleep. Muse is a research-grade device that passively senses your brain activity and translates it into calming sounds. Muse’s soundscape meditations are designed to shift your mind away from racing thoughts and guide you into a restful night.
If you need to take prescription medication to sleep...do it. Don't hesitate to try different brands because everyone reacts differently to these types of medication.
3. EAT SMART
When it comes to nutrition, there’s no such thing as a one size fits all approach. The answer to how to eat better and smarter lies in our DNA. The link between our genes and what we should be eating is only recently becoming clear, and a new field of study called nutrigenetic has boomed.
Having personalized insights into your routine can really make a difference in your wellbeing journey. Thanks to DNAfit, you can discover your unique nutrigenetic profile. You’ll get precious insights into your fat or carbs sensitivity, your lactose tolerance, and your optimal food routine type.
A personalized approach with nutrients recommendations will help you build your perfect food routine and take control of your long-term health. So not only you will eat smarter, but you will also feel less stressed, more focused, and ready to cope with whatever life will throw you at in 2022.
Above all, focus on how food makes you feel. Eat more of the food that makes you feel good.
4. BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Looking after your mental health is as important as looking after your physical health. Exercise, sleep, and good nutrition, together with proper self-care, are all part of the equation for wellness. Remember to be kind to yourself. Give yourself time and space to attend to your mental health. You deserve it. Use the essential tips on this guide to improve your wellbeing: body, mind, heart, and soul.
The research supporting human connection and life longevity and happiness is extremely compelling.
5. TRY NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS
At SHINE Health, we strongly believe in personalized supplement plans tailored just for you and your needs. That’s why we put together hand-selected, well-researched natural ingredients into simple yet effective blends of supplements to help you become the best version of yourself. Our products are enhanced with a special ingredient called AlphaWave® L-Theanine. L-Theanine is an amino acid derived from tea leaves known to improve relaxation and cognitive performance. Promising results from several clinical studies have recently confirmed the beneficial effects of L-Theanine for anxiety and sleep disturbances.
Supplementation is an extremely personal choice and you should never stop trying to find the blend that works best for you.