Words by Lisa Hughes
January 20th, 2016
‘Feed your head!’ Grace Slick urged us in trippy Sixties classic, White Rabbit. While we’re pretty sure the Jefferson Airplane frontwoman was singing about an acid trip (ahem), we still love the sentiment. Everyday trivial things can swamp your mind and weigh you down and, even though our minds pretty much hold everything together, it’s all too easy to overlook your mental health when we talk about wellbeing. Big mistake. If there’s one thing that should be top of all of our New Year resolutions lists, it’s to spend more time looking after our minds. And so, below, you’ll find 5 ways to give your mind a break and improve your overall wellbeing this year.
Researchers at Stanford and Harvard recently found that workplace stress is as dangerous as second-hand smoke. Scary. Now we’re not going to be naïve and suggest you ditch your job (although if your job is really impacting your health you should consider it) but there are ways to cut down on stress. Instead of stuffing yourself while hunched over your keyboard, go for a brisk walk at lunch. Try sharing your workload and delegating tasks – it’s NOT a sign you can’t cope.
This might seem a bit Captain Obvious but even the mildest form of exercise does wonders for your body and mind. Experts say just 20 minutes daily is enough to get those feel-good endorphins flowing and de-clutter the mind. That doesn’t necessarily mean forking out for the gym, either. Skip your bus ride home in favour of a brisk walk, start cycling to the office or pack in a yoga class on your lunch hour – the fitness world is your oyster.
You are what you eat is as true for your mind as it is for your body and certain vitamins and nutrients play a starring role in mind matters. B vitamins, in particular, help your body produce all-important chemicals that impact mood and brain activity and some studies have suggested that diets low in B6 are linked to depression. Get your daily hit of vitamins with a varied, balanced diet and get your RDA of B12 in fish, lean meat, eggs, and fortified cereals. For top-notch brain food, Omega 3 fatty acids in salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds help memory, sharpen your learning skills and improve mood.
Not just for New Age hippies, meditation has broken through to the mainstream in recent years, with everyone from A-List goddess Goldie Hawn to comedian-turned-social-campaigner Russell Brand espousing on the benefits of daily meditation. The art of being in the moment isn’t easy (the clue is in the word ‘practice’) so don’t expect instant results but once you bring meditation into your daily life, you can look forward to less anxiety, stress relief and improved concentration, as well as a feeling of overall positivity. We can’t argue with that!
A crime most women commit but rarely admit, comparing yourself to others, especially in terms of success, is an easy trap to fall into. Even though we adore social media, the constant glossy images of cellulite-free, highly filtered lifestyles can make even the most confident person feel insecure. Truth is, Instagram is fantasy most of the time and everyone – even celebrities – put a slick Valencia gloss on their lives online. No one – not even Gisele Bundchen – has a perfect life and the sooner you realise this and focus on your own goals and positives the better you’ll feel about yourself, trust us.
Missed the first part of our mindfulness series? You can read it here!
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