Guest post written by Gale Hayden
In light of everything going on in the world lately, it's understandable that the term "mental health crisis" is discussed more frequently.
A 2021 study published in The Lancet identified a number of factors contributing to the rise of major depressive and anxiety disorders. Among these factors was reduced human mobility (or our ability to travel).
The study recorded this "global prevalence" across 204 countries and territories, and while it may look like an intimidating number, the idea is that almost everyone has been affected by recent changes in the world.
What's important now is our ability to acknowledge this and find ways to help ourselves, without feeling shame or guilt for it.
There's no instant fix, but the journey towards self-recovery can be an enlightening one.
Here are three easy-to-adopt, natural ways to improve your mood.
Tip #1: Get Enough Sleep
We covered this in our previous post on “What is Self-Care?” but getting a few more hours of sleep in to replace phone or laptop screen time is not only healthier for your body, it also gears you up for a better start to your day.
Numerous factors affect sleep quality, which means there are a lot of things in our daily lives we can change to achieve higher quality sleep. We recommend our Softies' luxury sleepwear for higher overall comfort and body temperature regulation, but you can also try out things like soft music or white noise to help you get to sleep faster and wake up feeling more rejuvenated.
Tip #2: Surround Yourself With Good People
"The more the merrier," so they say, and for good reason. Dealing with stress and anxiety can lead to shame or guilt about over-burdening the people around us, no matter how unfounded these feelings may be.
Over time, this can lead to a tendency to self-isolate in an attempt to spare others from the negativities we’re dealing with. However, Maryville University’s insights on social isolation reveal that social isolation can have a massive impact on our cognitive health — and not in a good way.
Prolonged social isolation can trigger symptoms of chronic loneliness. If left unaddressed, loneliness may put you at risk of depression, as well as reduced cognitive skills, increased risk for dementia, and other serious medical problems.
Making small changes in lifestyle habits, such as eating healthier and finding hobbies to keep you entertained can be a good start. But spending time with friends and family members is especially crucial to staying socially active and combating social isolation.
Tip #3: Take Up Yoga
It's no secret that relaxation and mindfulness practices, like yoga, can help promote more restful sleep. Not only does yoga keep your body healthy and fit, but it also allows you to take a more holistic approach to your health by training your mind.
A study on the benefits of yoga shows that people who practice yoga reported a reduction in stress and anxiety, as well as less muscular pain.
It doesn't have to be a complex exercise, but starting with a simple daily or even weekly routine that includes basic yoga stretches (which can be found in abundance on YouTube) can help you start or end your day on a relaxing note.
Plus, yoga practice can give your mind that much needed reset. From there, if you find yourself wanting more of a challenge in your exercise routines, you can look into attending advanced classes or working with an instructor who can guide you in your mindfulness journey.
Show Yourself Some Love With Softies
Ultimately, the journey to recovery starts with you. These tips may not be the be-all and end-all to your mental health journey, but they're a good way to start, without being too hard on yourself.