#1 - Sleep
This likely comes as no surprise to anyone. However, for some it’s easier said than done. for those who have no problems with sleep, make sure you get eight hours a day. For those who may have trouble falling and staying asleep, it is important to develop a good sleep hygiene. What that means is finding a routine for preparing for bed. This may include a warm shower or bath, listening to calming music, or drinking warm milk. Whatever works for you; just be consistent and repetitive. Also try and limit your bed activities to only sleeping and intimacy, so your brain only associates those tasks with the bedroom. that means no reading, TV, or playing on your iPad just before bed.
#2 - Exercise
This also is no surprise. Exercise will actually help regulate your sleep pattern if done consistently. but just like sleep, exercise can be elusive to some. Finding time to exercise means sacrificing other things such as time sleeping in the morning, spending time with family, or just precious downtime. However, it is worth the sacrifice! Exercise is the closest thing to a “fountain of youth” or “wonder drug” to date. No excuses! Just find time to do it even if it’s informally in your kitchen or office. Remember, don’t engage in exercise just before bed. It may be too energizing and stimulating and should not be a part of your sleep hygiene.
#3 - Declutter
In the literal sense this means organize, downsize, and streamline your environment. this may simply be cleaning out office space, your closet, or your kitchen cupboards. But, it also means getting rid of old baggage, toxic relationships, Revamping and rebooting career plans, etc. Whatever “clutter” that is keeping you away from a happier sense of self, get rid of it!
#4 - Find a hobby
Spending your time doing something you love is inherently enjoyable and rewarding. Like exercise you may have to sacrifice time to engage in your hobby. Make it a point to include “hobby time” on your calendar so there is specified time (whatever you can spare- 30 mins of your lunch break for crocheting or writing your novel) carved out for a period of enjoyment. If you don’t have a hobby, experiment with finding one. Maybe you can share a friend’s interest.; which leads us to #5.
#5 - Socialize
Get out and find like-minded people. In this day and age we tend to rely on technology and social media for our socialization. More rewarding would be actual lunch dates, learning peer groups, or attend a good old-fashioned party. People gathering for a common cause can brighten anyone’s mood, help form and solidify interpersonal and work relationships, and keep your mind sharp.
#6 - Volunteer your time
This can be viewed as organized socialization. volunteering typically has a shared purpose and can boost your esteem if you feel needed in some capacity. Likewise, if you choose to give your time and energy to less fortunate or disenfranchised groups, you can garner a sense of purpose and sufficiency.
#7- Balance life and work
A good balance between these necessary tasks allows time for all of the other tasks we’ve discussed (I.e., hobby time, exercise). If you have been on your job for a while and are able to customize your workday such as working from home, remote access etc., take advantage of that. More times than not, they don’t need you at work as much as you think they do! It is also beneficial to take “mental health days” during the work year to regroup, re-center, and decompress from work stress. During these mental health days is when you can schedule time to declutter, engage in your hobby, or take a long weekend trip. You probably deserve it.
#8 - Pray/meditate
These tasks are presented in no certain order, but anyone who already engages in prayer and meditation would probably tell you that prayer/meditation may be the first thing they do improve mental well-being. This time of silence and solace allows you to formulate a plan and a roadmap that will help you with all the other tasks discussed. Additionally, this task can easily be done on a daily basis for a continued sense of peace and centering!
#9 - Aromatherapy
Essential oils seem to be all the rage and you can find them in most drug stores. The sense of smell is our most primitive sense and is directly linked to cognitive processes and emotions such as anger, happiness and memory. So, no doubt stimulating these senses in the right way can provide mental well-being through relaxation and invoking fond thoughts. The aromatherapy can be used in your sleep hygiene, while meditating, and even putting on a zingy lemongrass or ylang ylang scent for confidence when going out to socialize. I tend to like the high-grade doTERRA oils and you can refer to this website (www.doterra.com) for which oils are more beneficial for your situation or condition.
#10 - ASK FOR HELP!
If you have any difficulty completing any of these tasks or they don’t seem to be beneficial to you, it may be time to bring in reinforcements and ask for help. This may simply be asking for help to complete the tasks, such as soliciting friends to help declutter your home, asking your boss for a modified work schedule, or finding a workout partner. Or, it may mean taking more drastic measures such as seeking a professional for therapy or medications to help improve your sense of well-being. Help is out there, and it works! To find a therapist in your area, visit www.psychologytoday.com.
Sage Advice from Dr. Anderson (This blog is not intended to be or substitute for formal therapy. Information exchanged within the blog does NOT constitute a doctor-patient relationship, and no confidentiality is implied.).