There is so much emphasis on our physical health and well-being but our emotional and spiritual health is also important. The focus for this month’s Wellness Wednesday prompt is our Emotional Health and I will be sharing some simple ways you can start taking care of your EH today.
What do we mean by Emotional Health?
Sometimes we make life harder than it needs to be. Part of having good mental or emotional health is to ensure that you keep the pressure off and decrease the amount of anxiety and stress. Many of us wear the badge of ‘busyness’ with honour, we feel we need to justify ourselves by filling our days and social calendars. I’ve been guilty of that – feeling that I need to be busy all the time. BUT constantly putting pressure on ourselves, physically and mentally eventually takes it’s toll. We ‘burn out’, we can even become ill.
8 Simple Ways to Take care of your Emotional Health
1. Move Well, Eat Well, Sleep Well
Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, helps regulate your mood naturally and is known as the ‘happy chemical’. When your serotonin levels are normal, you feel happier and calmer. Low levels of serotonin in the brain has been scientifically linked to anxiety and insomnia. We can increase serotonin naturally by physical activity and eating well.
A daily walk or whatever form of movement you enjoy, is not only good for keeping our bodies strong and healthy but does wonders for our emotional health. Regular physical activity is proven to release endorphins which can trigger positive feelings. Your mood is lifted and you feel more ‘alive’.
Eating a well balanced diet and variety of foods to increase serotonin include eggs, cheese, turkey, nuts, salmon, tofu, and pineapple.
Sleep is also important and as we age we find it more difficult to get a quality night’s sleep. Increasing our levels of serotonin and creating a calming daily ritual before bed can help with insomnia.
2. Quiet time and disconnecting
Whilst we need regular activity, we also need ‘quiet time’ to restore our body and mind. Taking time for reflection or meditation, a long soak in the bath or just curling up with a good book allows our mind to relax. Taking time to concentrate on slowly breathing in and out helps clear the mind. Taking time to disconnect from social media and technology – try it for a day and you will notice the difference!
3. Social connection
Staying socially connected is vital, especially if we are retired and don’t have the same interaction as we did when we were working. Catching up for coffee with a friend, enjoying time with family or even our virtual friends helps us to avoid loneliness and isolation.
Play is something we forget about as we become adults. Life becomes full of responsibilities and we forget how to have fun. However, playtime is just as important now as it was when we were children. Doing something ‘fun’ releases tension and allows us to find joy. Spending time with my grandson has taught me how to play again and enjoy the moment.
In her book, ‘The Artist’s Way’, Julia Cameron suggests taking ourselves on an ‘Artist’s Date’. This means planning a weekly activity or visit on your own to explore new places or experiences.
I have written often about the importance of gratitude in helping us stay positive in life. I’ve also written about ‘Gratitude Walking’ which combines going for a walk whilst reflecting on what you are grateful for. Some of us journal, some start and end the day thinking grateful thoughts, others give thanks in other daily rituals. Gratitude is a word that can be overused but it is vital to our emotional well being.
7. Learning to say ‘No’ and setting your boundaries
This is the hardest thing to do. I know that I will probably be a work-in-progress with saying ‘No’. Many of us feel we need to always be there for others, even to the detriment of ourselves. Learning to say ‘No’ is not selfish. We cannot be there for everyone all of the time. Remember ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’.
Investing in our emotional health and well-being is a valuable investment. You are worth it – aren’t you? Of course, you are! Taking a long relaxing bath, having your hair or nails done or doing something just for yourself will increase your self-love and and happiness.
What are some ways you could improve your Emotional health today? Do you have any tips you could add to my list?