As we all know our physical and mental health are closely connected. We all recognise the importance of looking after ourselves, but it’s all too easy to let things slip and even more so in times of stress. Whilst the bullets listed probably won’t be surprise anyone, the importance of each can’t be underestimated in terms how important they are in building mental resilience. It’s also worth noticing if we’re struggling with any particular aspect of the below. Is this purely circumstantial, or are there deeper motivational issues which may require additional support? In some instances doing too much or too little of these might actually be a coping strategy for mental anxiety.
- Getting enough sleep is critical. Whilst this will vary person to person, on average healthy adults need somewhere between 7-9 hours a night. However, the UK Sleep Council’s 2017 study shows that most Britons under sleep by an hour of what they need each night.
- Eating healthily. Conversely, when it comes to eating, we’re having more than we need. There’s plenty of advice out there to help achieve a more balanced diet, not forgetting to keep an eye on our alcohol intake
- Taking regular Public Health England’s 2017 report found that a quarter of the English population is inactive i.e. doing less than 30 mins exercise a week versus the recommended two and a half hours of moderately intensive activity.
- Making sure we give ourselves the opportunity to mentally unwind. Ensuring work/life balance will go some way towards this but more may be needed. The good news for those who have difficulty with mindfulness or meditation is that this is more about finding a route to mental absorption, in order to keep the mind calm and focussed for at least 30 mins every day. This doesn’t necessarily mean physical stillness either – that focus can be found through a multitude of ways including intense exercise, creative activities, Sudoku, even jigsaw puzzles.
- One of the biggest problems in allowing us to unwind is our dependence on technology. More conscious management of our screen time so we check our phones more infrequently in the daytime with a complete embargo at night.
- Cultivating positive relationships. Take our online friendships back offline look to increase the quality of our face to face interactions. Having a solid support network both at work and personally will aid resilience.
- And the best recommendation? Creating more opportunities to have fun and enjoy ourselves! Young children play endlessly – it’s a critical part of their development, but it’s something we lose all too easily in adult life. The benefits of being playful are widely reported engendering creativity, productivity and feelings of well-being.