Health & Wellbeing

31 days to better Mental Health – July challenge

Mental Health and Self Care – #31daystobettermentalhealth

Hey, guys, I am starting a NEW hashtag for the month of JULY! As you may know, I have taken a beating on my mental health over the past few months. I have stepped back from social media having completely lost my way. The funk that I was in enveloped me and the dark clouds would NOT go away. So, I decided I wanted to help anyone else feeling the same way. It is so important to look after your Mental Health and Self Care.

 

Even though it may be summer, and the sun may be shining (fingers crossed) that doesn’t mean we are feeling the same way inside.

 

Over the next month, I hope to inspire you to take better care of yourself and allow yourself time to regroup, recharge and tackle life in a more positive way. I hope you will share your thoughts each day with me either on the daily post or slide into my DMs baby!

 

#mentalhealth #lifewithchristine #selfcareandmotivation

 

DAY ONE

Start the month by decluttering your sleeping area. Change your bedsheets and use a laundry detergent which smells good to you such as fresh linen or lavender.

Clear the area beside your bed. Remove harsh bedside lighting and glare from clocks. Make your bedroom a serene area where you can go to switch off and unwind. Tidy away clothing and shoes. Think about removing the TV for the month – you can do it! This will help your Mental Health and Self Care and let you get a good nights sleep.

Leave a glass of water on the side of the bed so you don’t have to get up during the night. Adjust heating/air conditioning to ensure you are at a comfortable temperature throughout the night.

 

DAY TWO

Keep a notebook on hand to jot down any niggling thoughts or feelings. This can be as much or as little as you like. So, for example, you could keep it to track your happy thoughts and take it to a #bulletjournal level or you could simply use it to track your feelings on a day to day basis. What triggers you?

Remember this is YOUR private journal so there is no pressure to share. Use the notes app on your phone if you want to.

When you keep track of thoughts and feelings it becomes a way to refer to them. What made you feel happy today? How did you cope with the stressful situation? Being prepared is the key here and you will find this useful to look back on at the end of the month.

 

DAY THREE

Drink more water.

We need to keep our bodies hydrated. Especially in the summer when we sweat and secrete more through our skin. Drinking two litres of water daily gives us a goal for the day.

Why not be more eco-conscious and buy a reusable water bottle? There are simply loads to choose from.

DAY FOUR

Spend 20 minutes today planning out the meals for the family for the next week. Ask your family if there are any meals they would like on the plan. You may decide to include something fun like “make your own pizza” movie night. I have popped my favourite pizza recipes up on the blog.

What are your favourite goto meals that are quick, fuss-free and easy to make? Share them on here so we can mix up mealtime in our own homes this week?

Try to include brain-boosting foods such as whole grains, oily fish, blueberries, tomatoes, carrots, eggs, bananas, broccoli, spinach and edamame. A balanced diet is important and should include plenty of fruit and vegetables as well as proteins, dairy and carbs.

 

DAY FIVE

Set up a charging station for your phone outside of the bedroom. Decide on a time when you will put the phone down each evening and stick to it. Cutting down on screen time is a great way to kick start some positive mental actions.

Also, by not taking your phone into the bedroom you are not reaching for it first in the morning.

 

DAY SIX

Wear something colourful today. In fact, wear something that is a little bit outside of your comfort zone. This could be anything that makes you just a little bit more self-conscious. We spend so long in our comfort zone that we forget how much better it can feel when we push our boundaries.

Write down what you wore and how it made you feel. Again, having your notes to reflect on encourages us to push our limits.

And remember I am proud of you-you have already come so far. Keep up the great work!

 

DAY SEVEN

Think before you speak.

We can react to stressful conversations by gabbling twenty to the dozen. Pause. Take a deep breath and think about what you want to say before you speak. This cuts down on over speaking and in turn oversharing.

Remember to breathe.

 

DAY EIGHT

Make a to-do-list.

Write down a list of the things you want to accomplish today. This can be a #mrshinch #hincharmy style list where you list out chores and tick them off or it can be errands/telephone calls/home admin that you need to do. Make sure there are at least five achievable things on the list.

Remember to be realistic. Writing down “tidy out garage” is not achievable or realistic but writing things such as

  • Do one load laundry
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Vacuum landing
  • Make dinner
  • Pay electric bill

Remember to stick to your own capabilities too. If you are in pain or fatigued, then maybe one thing is enough for today. It is the sense of completion we want to have not the feeling of failure.

 

DAY NINE

SMILE

It is true that when you smile #you feel so much better! Try to smile more today. Think about fond memories or funny times – anything to make that mouth curl up.

Also smiling makes our faces look younger too so it’s a win all round!

 

DAY TEN

Get kissing more! Yes, you heard me right! Get those lips planted onto the one you love. Kissing stimulates the release of ‘mood boosting’ endorphins and can help to make you feel good.

Plus, kissing promotes the reduction of stress in relationships making you feel good. Check out my top tips for lips blog post where you can get luscious lips perfect for all that pouting!

DAY ELEVEN

Wake up 15 minutes earlier each day. Spend that time wakening up and gathering your thoughts before getting up and starting your day. This will help to reduce the stress you can feel first thing when you wake.

Maybe instead of lying in bed you can make a cup of tea and drink it before the family get up. Those 15 minutes can make such a huge difference to your day and play around with how you spend them to give them the most value to you.

 

DAY TWELVE

Moving on from our 15 minutes earlier wakening time yesterday. Make a little time for yourself. Plan a coffee date, spa day or even a weekend away. Taking some time out from the day to day can help recharge your mind and provide a little distance from the day-to-day. Trust me when I say even a half hour in Tesco’s can make all the difference!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help to make this happen. Friends and family will help to look after kids, do school runs etc for you to have that much-needed blow dry or manicure.

 

DAY THIRTEEN

Breathe.

Today is all about breathing. There are so many ways we can use our breathing as a tool to help alleviate stress and worry and to make us feel better.

  • Sit up straight and close your eyes.
  • Take a deep breath slowly in through your nose and let the air fill your lungs.
  • Hold it for the count of 7
  • Release slowly
  • Repeat another 8-10 times.

You will feel more in control and calmer. I use this technique when my pain is particularly bad as I focus ALL my attention on my breathing. This distracts my brains from the pain.

 

DAY FOURTEEN

Get outside!

Yes, you know that its July and the weather is probably the best that we are going to have this year (our weather is so unpredictable who knows lol!) So why not take yourself outdoors and get some air around you.

Go for a walk, a run or if you aren’t up to any of that sit outside with a cup of tea for a half hour and enjoy the outdoors. You can choose the time of day – I prefer early morning or late evening when the air is calm and cooler.

 

DAY FIFTEEN

Clear out your wardrobe. Or attic/junk room/garage.

Donate unwanted items to charity. Or if you have more time then sell them online. Donating makes us feels good as we feel that we are contributing to society. If you decide to sell online or at car boot sales, then put the money aside for a treat or even a holiday!

Having a physical clear out can help us to clear out our minds too!

 

DAY SIXTEEN

We have made it over halfway through the month. Well done you!

You have decided to make positive changes to help make a difference. Now you know that there is not a one-thing-fits-all solution to any problem or issue so please feel free to adopt any of the techniques we have talked about up to suit you and your lifestyle.

What has helped you? Is there anything you have struggled with? Don’t be afraid to hit me up in the DMs if you don’t want to go public and we can chat about it anonymously.

You are smashing this!

 

DAY SEVENTEEN

We are talking about setting time aside for you again today. When it comes to mental health and self-care, a very important part can be our image. Why not give yourself a little pampering today? Throw on a hair mask, shave your legs and light a candle. Or spend some time picking out a new outfit online and having it delivered.

These little self-indulgences are vital to our well being as we need to know that we are invested in ourselves. We are worth the effort!

 

DAY EIGHTEEN

Stretching.

By opening our bodies up and stretching we can release the stress and tension that our muscles are holding. This kind of movement improves our circulation and gets the blood flowing round our bodies. Our mood will improve, and we will feel good.

Regular stretching is good for keeping the joints supple as well.

 

DAY NINETEEN

Buy a houseplant. Or a bunch of flowers.

Nature is a wonderful thing. It invokes fascination in the human mind. This, in turn, is immensely healing and provides restoration.

I just love the smell of fresh flowers. They ALWAYS make me feel good.

 

 

DAY TWENTY

Eat some chocolate. Yes, you heard me right. In fact, go get a glass of wine to have with it.

Dark chocolate and red wine have been found to improve brain function as well as lowering the risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure and risk of stroke.

Its fair to say that its only a couple of ounces of chocolate and a glass of wine so don’t be overdoing it!

*If you do feel that you are becoming dependant on alcohol then make an appointment to speak with your GP who can give help and support*

DAY TWENTYONE

Have a social media detox.

Unfollow, unfriend or even block ALL the people who have a negative effect on your life. Social media is a mind fuck so take time to detox yourself from anyone or anything that doesn’t spark joy!

It’s okay to mute people too if you don’t want to go so far as to unfriend or block. Remember it is YOUR social media and you have control.

 

DAY TWENTY-TWO

Let go of any regrets you may have. We all spend time thinking about things we should have said or done and to be honest we can’t change them. In fact, looking back prevents us from moving forward.

Make the change today and move forward. You can write in your notebook/journal about anything you feel you need to change here. Maybe it is going to take the time or be done in steps but break it down into manageable chunks and work towards it. It WILL be worth it.

 

DAY TWENTY-THREE

Read a book.

As a kid, I loved reading. It was my happy place and I read book after book after book. Somewhere along the line I lost that. So now I make time to read. It transports me to a place I love to be, and it makes me feel good.

Remember there are all kinds of books – you may want to read a recipe book or even a DIY manual. I will go so far as to say that a copy of the summer issue of Vogue is also acceptable!

 

DAY TWENTY-FOUR

Plan a holiday

Not everyone has the time or resources to go on holiday. But what if I told you that you could spend a night camped out on the living room floor under a sofa tent. Maybe a night away at a friend’s house could work for you. It’s all about planning.

Work out what fits best into your lifestyle and try to do it. Getting away out of our comfort zone is what we are working for here. Learning to relax and enjoy ourselves in unfamiliar surroundings.

 

DAY TWENTY-FIVE

Food.

We touched on food briefly but thinking about boosting our mental health it is important that we ensure our diet is filled with foods such as:

  • Fatty fish
  • Turmeric (perfect in curries and lattes)
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and Seeds

All these foods are important for brain boosting. We can also make the leap from coffee to herbal tea which can be soothing and calming as well as providing additional health benefits. For example, peppermint tea can help with digestion. I make an amazing ICED PEPPERMINT GREEN TEA – yes, it’s amazing. I have a post up on the blog if you want to try it yourself.

 

DAY TWENTY-SIX

Download some apps on your phone for mindfulness.

There are lots to choose from and these can be very useful in helping to calm yourself and take control.

Alternatively, you can buy some affirmation cards or check out profiles on Instagram such as @little_penny_thoughts which I love!

 

DAY TWENTY-SEVEN

Say No!

We can get sucked into things we don’t like or feel comfortable doing yet we go along with them to avoid disappointing or letting down others. Take control back and say no.

This is your life and you will never please everyone all at once so why not please yourself?

 

DAY TWENTY-EIGHT

Try something new.

If you want to try lobster or skydiving, then today is the day to make that happen.

After all it is better to know that you despise the taste of lobster or are afraid of heights than to wonder what if for the rest of your life?

Just be careful not to bite of more than you can chew – baby steps!

 

DAY TWENTY-NINE

Go see a therapist.

If you feel that your mental health is in a place where you need to talk to someone then go, see your GP or make an appointment with a therapist. You will not heal unless you make the leap to do it.

I had CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) years ago after I was diagnosed with my fibromyalgia. I was not coping at all with the ‘new’ Christine and was in mourning for the old me. It wasn’t for me. I did however then see a pain psychologist who literally changed my life. Taking the leap and asking for help is huge. I didn’t think things would change for me, but I knew I couldn’t go on the way I was. Now I have come to terms with my fibro and I embrace the new me. It was hard work but totally worth it.

No one will judge you for asking for help. If you want any advice on my experiences, then DM me.

DAY THIRTY

What are you most proud of this month?

How have you changed? Have you changed anything? Are you sleeping better, eating better, or simply feeling more in control?

 

DAY THIRTY-ONE

WELL DONE!

YOU HAVE MADE IT.

Mental Health and Self care are knitted into the fabric of our existence. You can’t pour from an empty cup so it is vitally important you take care of yourself by allowing yourself ways to reflect, recharge and reboot. I hope that you have found the past 31 days helpful. Remember this is not a definitive guide (there isn’t one) so take away what fits or works for YOU. I would also highly recommend seeking medical advice if you feel that things are getting on top of you.

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed this month of Mental Health and Self-care tips and ideas.

 

Until next time,

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