Marking Mental Health Awareness this October — 5 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

  1. Take proactive steps towards improving your sleep. Ensure your bedroom is an inviting and relaxing space. Do things in the evenings to promote relaxation and avoid stimulation. While exercise is good for mental health, some people find it over-stimulating to do close to bedtime. Some things to promote relaxation before bedtime include dimming lights, taking a hot bath or shower, massage, using some relaxing essential oils (diffusing, applying, or in bath products), meditating, or deep breathing and relaxation exercises. Avoid stimulations in the evenings such as caffeine, sugar, alcohol, blue light from screens, and/or consuming news or distressing programs or unpleasant discussions. 
  1. Increase your physical activity or movement. Physical activity helps combat the challenge of weight gain associated with chronic stress. Additionally, physical activity induces relaxation, blocks pain, and improves your sleep, mood, and ability to manage stress, all of which are good for your mental health.1 Any increase in physical activity is helpful (anything from walking or cleaning, to more physical exercise) and you get additional benefits if you can get outside for fresh air and sunshine, and/or listen to music you enjoy. There are several organised walk/runs in October for Mental Health week/month. For example, you could join the National Walk for Mental Health (physically or virtually) on Sunday 17th OCT 10:30 AM-12:30 PM. Or, join the Wellness Walk (for mental health) 2021 by running or walking anytime anywhere in the week following World Mental Health Day (10th-16th Oct). 
  1. Lastly, and most importantly, seek support from your loved ones and friends, GP, psychologist, or any of the organisations that support mental health (Black Dog Institute, Beyond Blue, Lifeline Australia, Mental Health Foundation Australia). If these non-profit organisations are supporting you or your loved ones, you may consider making a donation to give back, helping not only yourself but others as well. Giving is yet another action that is uplifting and helps improve our mental health. 

Avoid stimulations in the evenings such as caffeine, sugar, alcohol, blue light from screens, and/or consuming news or distressing programs or unpleasant discussions.

I hope that you will do at least one thing for yourself this month to improve your mental health and wellbeing. I will leave you with some other resources to help with mental health, self-care and reducing stress: 

References
1 WebMD, Stress Management: Ways to Prevent and Relieve Stress (webmd.com), By Lauren Ragland, Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Casarella, MD , September 14, 2021
2 Mental_Health_Stress_May_Be_Fattening_And_Other_Side_Effects_PSG.pdf (uct.ac.za), Copyright HealthInsite, www.healthinsite.net
3 Power of Veg – Tryfor5, https://www.tryfor5.org.au/veg-power


Steph Sullivan is a dual certified Life and Health Coach and founder of Elevate Your Life Coaching PTY LTD. After 23 years in demanding, high-stress corporate roles as a business consultant, then a corporate executive, she knows firsthand about stress and trying to balance career and parenting demands, along with personal needs and wellbeing. Now Steph’s purpose is helping people to reduce stress and increase energy to achieve their personal goals, life ambitions, and wellbeing. You can contact her at steph@elevateyourlifecoaching.com.au.

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