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6 Ways to Practice a Mental Health Wellness Routine At Home

Steven Losardo, AMFT 

If you are someone who has had to transition from working in an office environment to working at home during the pandemic, it is likely that many changes have altered your routine. Mindful Magazine (2020) notes, one effect of switching to remote work is the loss of a social environment, which has impacted mental health for many people. The pandemic has been a source of depression and anxiety for remote workers, which is why developing a wellness routine to manage your mental health can be helpful.  

Six ways to begin your own mental health wellness routine at home 

Where to begin with a wellness routine? 

  1.     Practice Mindfulness: You can practice mindfulness anywhere, anytime; when taking a break from work, when going for a walk, or during free time. The focus of mindfulness is to become aware of the present moment. When thoughts arise during mindfulness meditations, you acknowledge the thoughts, and then direct your attention back to the present moment (Mindful, 2020).
  1.     Diet: You may be sick of hearing about the impact diet and exercise have on your health, but there is a reason why they are emphasized so often. Diet is important because it impacts your neurotransmitters: serotonin is a neurotransmitter, a chemical in the brain, responsible for regulating mood, sleep, and appetite. Because 95% of serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, what you eat has a significant impact on your emotions and mood (Shelhub, 2020). 
  1.     Exercise: It’s important to incorporate exercise into a wellness routine for mental health. Research has demonstrated its positive effects on depression and anxiety. The Mayo Clinic (2020) notes exercise lessens depression and anxiety by increasing confidence, taking your mind off worries, and producing endorphins (feel good chemicals). Exercising can also create social interactions, either by going to the gym or seeing friendly faces when you go for a run-this can help you feel less lonely as a remote worker.
  1.     Watch alcohol consumption and unhealthy habits: While one glass of wine at night may be unlikely to cause any harm, when drinking goes beyond that it may be serving as an unhealthy way of managing stress (Cherney, 2019). A little-known fact is that alcohol increases anxiety once its effects wear off (Cherney, 2019). Other unhealthy coping mechanisms to watch for are frequent binge eating or use of recreational drugs; if these are a common occurrence, you may benefit from seeing a counselor.
  1.     Utilize mantras and positive affirmations: GoodTherapy.org, (2015) notes using mantras and positive affirmations are great ways to stay positive when going through hard times. An example of a positive affirmation is telling yourself: “My life is filled with meaning.” Positive affirmations are said to “rewire” the brain and reverse our negative thinking patterns. Throughout the day, when faced with difficult situations we can use mantras such as: “I got this!” While these seem like simple additions to a wellness routine, they can improve mental health when practiced regularly.
  1.     Prioritize sleep: An important part of any wellness routine is to prioritize sleep. As remote workers our routines have changed; we may be spending more time on screens late at night, which can interfere with quality sleep (Prince, 2021). Looking at screens at night reduces melatonin production, which we need to help us fall asleep (Prince, 2021). Getting a good sleep is important for managing mood the next day as well as helping us focus on our work. A key part of any wellness routine is routine, so try to go to bed at the same time every night.

As you can see, there are a number of important details to consider when developing a wellness routine. Mental health has proven difficult to manage for many people during the pandemic. If you are feeling overwhelmed at any point, think about seeking help from a counselor. Do what is best for you based on your own schedule, but these are positive steps you can take to improve your mental health.

References

Cherney, K. (2019). Alcohol and Anxiety.

Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/alcohol-and-anxiety#alcohol-effects

on April 6, 2021.

GoodTherapy.org, (2015). How 15 positive affirmations can change your life. Retrieved from:

         https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/how-15-positive-affirmations-can-change-your-life

0923157 on April 6, 2021. 

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms.

         Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in

depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495 on April 6, 2021.

Mindful. (2020). Getting started with mindfulness.  Retrieved from

https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/ on April 5, 2021. 

Prince, R. (2021). How does technology affect sleep? Retrieved from

         https://www.sleep.org/ways-technology-affects-sleep/ on April 6, 2021.

Shelhub, A. (2020). Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food.. Retrieved from

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food

201511168626 on April 6, 2021.

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