Thankfully, as a society we are now better aware of the importance of good mental health. Self-care has become a hotly talked about topic in recent years, with the power of yoga, meditation and journaling at the forefront of many discussions. However, whilst these activities do help to keep a lot of people grounded and happy, they aren't for everyone. It's super important to discover what type of self-care works best for you. For some, this might be an evening in, spent playing on some great bingo sites, while for others it might be going swimming, or taking time to cook up some delicious and healthy meals. We are all different and have different things that make us feel happy and relaxed. But, there are certainly a handful of general and simplistic things that make most of us feel our best.
Cut Back on Social Media
Without a doubt, there are lots of great benefits to social media, but too much screen time can leave us feeling disheartened and pretty blue. The constant barrage of perfectly filtered photos that appear on Instagram are bound to knock many people's self-esteem whether we consciously realise it or not. It's actually really difficult to go online and not compare yourself to others, so whilst it's nice to now and again see what our friends, colleagues and various different celebs are up too, too much time spent looking into the online lives of others is surely going to get you down in the long run. It is also thought that time spent on social media before bed can prevent us from getting a good night's sleep, which is another very important factor contributing to our health and wellness. It is sadly easy to miss out on living truly in the moment because of the distractions that our screens create. Staying away from social media more often in 2020 is without a doubt a kind thing to do for ourselves.
Exercise is hugely important for both the health of our bodies and our minds, but that doesn't mean you have to hit the gym for hours on end in order to be kinder to yourself. There are many different types of exercise out there to choose from, from competitive sport, to jogging, to walking, to horse riding, to pilates, or even to running around a giant assault course if you so choose. There's a type of exercise out there suitable for everyone and getting into the habit of regular exercise will help to boost your overall mood and decrease your stress levels.
Like exercise, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet is not only important for the body but also the mind. Being deficient in certain nutrients, like magnesium for example, can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, follow a keto diet or eat a bit of everything, it's important to understand what nutrients are in certain foods and make sure you eat sensibly and include a varied range of food types. Ordering in takeaways too often and snacking on too many sweets, crisps and chocolate can all too quickly end up taking its toll on your mental state as well as your physical state. However, it's of course important to allow yourself to indulge every now and then and not be too strict with yourself. Really, it's all about moderation.
Read, Watch Greats Films, Listen to Music You Love
Sometimes when we get into a bit of a rut, we forget to indulge in down time. Spending an evening reading a great book or watching our favourite film can really help us to unwind and feel re-energised. Listening to music on the way to and from work can also help to boost your mood and leave you feeling empowered.
Meet Up with Friends and Family
Spending time with the people we love and care about is so important to our mental well-being. It's an opportunity to get any worries off your chest and have a good laugh. Shutting yourself away from people is never a good thing in the long-term. If you don't have many close friends, which isn't at all uncommon in this day and age, then you can easily meet people who share the same interests as you at various different evening classes and clubs.
Being kinder to yourself should always be a priority. A lot of us beat ourselves up for a range of silly and ridiculous things, and we don't put enough time into making ourselves feel great. 2020 is the year to stop being mean to yourself and start helping yourself to feel empowered and truly content in life.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist