The past couple of months have been stressful for all of us. Not only are we in the middle of a pandemic, but we have also had to manage possible financial loss, homeschooling, and working from home, amongst others. All of this can cause high-stress levels which affect our mental health. Catherine Clark, Owner and Founder of The Harvest Table, says we can shift our mindset by filling our lives with positive habits that will enable us to deal with challenging times.
“When stress affects our lives, we’re required to dig deep. Many of us go into 'survival mode’ — we either attempt to get everything done or completely avoid taking any action. This causes more harm than good. We have to find ways to navigate life in a way that will benefit our mental health and ultimately, our entire lives,” she says.
Catherine offers these five tips to take care of your mental health:
1. Get some sunshine: A study from Central Michigan University found that sunlight exposure was associated with lowered anxiety. So, whether you’re working for home or are back at the office, be sure to take a break every few hours and instead of sitting in the canteen, on the couch or at your desk, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in the sunshine.
2. Focus on what you have: When you focus on all the good things in your life, you begin to realise that you have everything at your disposal to create a life you love. This shifts your attention from what you lack to cultivating an attitude of gratitude. Over time you have more to be grateful for, whether it’s the fact that you woke up, have a roof over your head, or that you are well fed. Shifting your mindset from the negative to the positive ultimately improves your mental health.
3. Control what is controllable: There are many distractions at home and work, and they tend to come with more stress than calm. We become flustered, frustrated, and out of balance, but this usually means we’re trying to control things that are beyond our control. Whether you’re at work or home, there will always be stressors in your life. The trick is to establish which ones you can control so that you create structures that will help you deal with them. Then, you need to make peace with what you can’t control and figure out how you will react the next time they affect you.
4. Rest: We often think rest means sleep. Of course, sleep plays a crucial role in your mental health, but rest also means making room for the things that revitalise us, allow us to relax, and make us feel more like ourselves. Make time for relaxation and the things you enjoy. Whether you’re reading a book, watching your favourite show, or doing an online Pilates or yoga session. Whatever it is, take the time to prioritise rest.
5. Take care of your gut: Around 90% of the body’s serotonin is made in the gut. So, when you take care of your digestive health, you support the production of the happy hormone. You can start by including collagen-rich foods like fish, chicken and egg whites in your diet as this will have a positive impact on your digestive system and nourish your body. If you are looking for a more convenient solution, The Harvest Table has a range of collagen products that are beneficial for your gut health (and so much more). When one part of your body is well taken care of, the rest of your body benefits too.
“Make 2021 the year you take charge and prioritise your mental health. Make it the year you thrive and embrace a healthy mental state so that you’re able to experience and appreciate all that life has to offer,” Catherine concludes.