Focus on one thing at a time
Multitasking is worn as a badge of honour, but too much multitasking is not healthy. Practice being present. When walking, observe your surroundings – the weather, the birds. When you spend time with friends, really listen to what is being said. Turn off your phone and try to forget about the running to-do lists in your head.
“Physical and mental health go hand in hand and should not be seen as separate, as poor mental health can lead to poor physical health and vice versa,” said Kimberly Leitch, a New York-based Talkspace therapist.
Incorporate a daily “mindfulness break”
“Set aside one to two minutes each day to decompress, check with your body and assess how you’re feeling,” O’Neill said. ‘There are many good apps that can help you integrate a structured mindfulness practice or you can simply develop a practice that works for you.’
After just a week of brief daily attention, it was found that the practice of meditation produced significant improvements in attention, energy and stress. Research shows that these benefits are more than subjective: participants in one study experienced an actual decrease in stress-controlled cortisol and an improvement in their immune system. They also showed improvements in visuospatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning — important sets of mental skills that help you get things done faster.
Set aside “self-care” time
Give yourself an afternoon or evening to indulge in something you enjoy doing. It can be exercising, reading, or watching your favourite show on a binge — essentially, make an appointment with yourself to do something fun just for yourself.
Set limits and stick to them
Living in a successful society has its advantages. But it also has drawbacks, like burnout, which is a real concern when you’re trying to have it all: a fulfilling career, an Instagram-worthy time with friends, and happy family life. Remember that sometimes it’s okay to say no. Whenever possible, set limits in your professional and personal life so as not to surpass yourself.
Ask for help
Asking for help is often the first step to recovering and staying healthy, but it can be hard to know where to start or where to turn. It’s common to feel uncertain and wonder if you should try to handle things on your own.
“But to put it simply, there’s never a bad time to ask for help,” O’Neill said. “Talking to someone about your thoughts and feelings can always help you gain knowledge that will likely be beneficial in your life. If you find yourself in times of stress, or if you feel angry, irritable, now, or easily frustrated, this could be a good invitation to seek professional help to deal with these feelings.
Mental health doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. Spending a few minutes on it each day can help you feel better and think more clearly. Remember that relaxation is just as important in mental training as more energetic activities, such as memory exercises or physical exercise.