The last few months, without a doubt, have had some serious challenges for all of us, whether that be juggling working from home and parenting, missing our friends and family, and not being able to hit the gym among many other things.
As a founder of a small business also dealing with the ramifications of another Covid lockdown, it has been paramount for me to prioritise my mental health. The biggest reflection for me, has been not just what I can be aware of during Mental Health Awareness week, but how I can actually integrate new habits and rituals into making sure caring for my mental health is second nature to me – lockdown or no lockdown.
So, over the past few months, I have been trying out lots of different things to find what works for me, and I encourage you to do the same because one size doesn’t fit all. Finding a routine that allows you to care for yourself is so important as the world around us changes. In reality, the only thing we can count on is that things WILL change, so what can we do to best prepare ourselves?
My key new habits are:
- Connect with nature. This practice is SO underrated. There is something about feeling the ocean, the grass or the sand between your toes that connects you with the natural world. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle & bustle of our lives (or feeling so stuck to Netflix during lockdown), that it takes conscious effort to get up and move your body in nature. So, every day, I go for a walk outside (anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour, anything is better than nothing!), and once a week I go and get a big nature hit, whether that be going for a bush walk or jumping in the ocean (yes, even in winter – some might call me crazy, but it really does make you feel good!)
- Reflect. I have found reflection a highly powerful tool to help me see my progress, celebrate my wins and practice gratitude. I have a journal where every night, I write down 3 things I’m grateful for that day, 3 wins (big or small!!), and something I learned. This practice allows me to be present in the day-to-day, and feel a sense of happiness, hope and fulfilment regardless of the circumstances.
- Move your body to shift your mind. If you are feeling stuck or struggling mentally or emotionally, shifting your physical state has the ability to make you feel so much better. Exercise is the classic example of this – ya know, endorphins and all that! But sometimes the last thing you feel like doing is setting up a HIT circuit in your garage - if you feel up to it, by all means go hard! But if not, there are other ways you can help shift your physical state without committing to an intense workout. I utilise a range of techniques, from using an acupressure mat, meditating, deep breathing, yoga and my favourite – the spontaneous kitchen dance party – to help shift how I’m feeling internally. Sometimes it feels like you don’t have the time for something like this – this exactly when you NEED to stop and do it. Move your body, shift your mental state, and you will be rewarded tenfold in better productivity, clarity and joy!
These are some strategies that have worked for me, and are things that are very much integrated into my day-to-day now so that caring for my mental health is a lifestyle, not a token idea that I do once a year. I hope you have been able to relate to this in some way, and if you, or anyone you know is struggling during with mental health, please reach out to one of the many services available.
Lifeline (0800 543 354)
Youthline (0800 376 633)
Mental health is very close to both mine and Brad’s hearts, and is something we strongly believe needs more support, so 5c from every bottle of Phoric sold goes to mental health in Aotearoa. We’ve partnered with Yellow Brick Road, an incredible charity working in the mental health space, and they have great resources available on their website, so check them out below!
Please reach out if you have any feedback or related to this in some way, we love hearing from you!