The importance of recognising and acting on mental health issues is more evident than ever with the recent rise in people visiting our clinic with persistent low mood, anxiety and elevated stress levels. 

With another recent wave of uncertainty hitting us, many people are experiencing challenges and feelings that they haven’t faced before. There is no age discrimination when it comes to mental health disorder – every age group can be impacted by conditions affecting their mental health and personal growth.

The current climate could be seen as an opportunity to reflect on how we can support ourselves and those around us in a way that will help to carry us through a year many of us would rather forget. 

Checking in with yourself is just as important as checking in with others. How often do you check in with a loved one? And, probably more importantly, how often do you check in with yourself? It’s that old saying… if you don’t put your own oxygen mask on first, you’ll have little hope of helping others to put theirs on. 

Here are a few tips to support your mental health during difficult times. 

Breathe. Properly. 

Many of us become accustomed to breathing at a much lower than optimal lung capacity as we rush through our day. Take a few minutes each day to retrain yourself to breath more deeply and mindfully. 

When oxygen enters the lungs, a small portion is exchanged by the lungs and sent around the body via the bloodstream to all the tissues and cells of the body. 

If you are not breathing efficiently, you are starving your cells of optimal oxygen levels which are required for you to function efficiently and feel your best. 

Nourish with nutrients. 

Different vitamins and minerals provide the systems, tissues and cells of the body with building blocks to good health and facilitate numerous enzymatic reactions as part of the intricate workings of the human body. 

Conditions such as anxiety, elevated stress, insomnia, mood disorder, headaches and fatigue can contribute to a decline in mental health and may also be linked to nutritional deficiencies. Ensuring you are receiving adequate nutrition through food and supplements (if indicated) may be all that is needed to restore balance and resolve the symptoms you are experiencing. Always speak to a qualified practitioner prior to supplementation to avoid interactions with medications and other supplements and to reduce the risk of disturbing nutrient balance in the body.

The power of movement. 

We all know that exercise helps us to produce those feel-good hormones: serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. These guys help to regulate mood, relieve pain and enhance cognitive function in addition to many other actions. 

Scheduling in time at least three times each week (daily is even better!) to get your body moving by walking, swimming, cycling, going to the gym, yoga or any other activity that gets your heart rate above its baseline will improve your mental health. The heart itself is a muscle and needs to be exercised to keep in shape just like any other muscle in the body – keep it toned and vital.

The sun’s energy.     

What’s even better than exercise? Exercise in the sunshine. Exposure to the sun increases the level of some nutrients in our body and is required to convert other nutrients into their active form within the body. 

Catching some morning sunshine is safer than the afternoon sun and a great way to boost your happy hormones for the day ahead. 

Seize opportunity. 

A client, who was placed out of work due to the pandemic, was recently feeling quite anxious and lost. Suddenly finding herself with extra time was confronting but provided a rare opportunity. She decided to complete her yoga teacher training, something she’d always wanted to do but never found the time in her busy schedule. 

If you are struggling with current challenges, try to remain open to hidden opportunities. Change, uncertainty and persistent worries can really diminish our ability to observe new and unexpected opportunity so try to keep your worries in perspective and be open to trying new things and learning new skills.

Check in.

Whether it’s a focussed conversation with your child, an email to a colleague, a phone call to a family member or a text message to a friend, remember to check in. Checking in on the vulnerable and those around you is important. Checking in on yourself, even more so.

If your mental health needs some support, reach out to a friend, a family member or a healthcare professional. Human connection, correcting nutrient deficiencies, managing stress levels and anxiety, regulating mood disorder and enhancing sleep and energy levels are steps everyone can take to improve their mental health. 

For further support or to book an appointment with our Naturopath, contact Belle on 0405 128 213 or via belle@nbip.com.au

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