They say it only takes 3 weeks – 21 days – to create new habits. Whether or not that’s true, we all know that sometimes we need to reevaluate our lives and create new habits that proactively encourage positive change. Mental health is a subject that I’m extremely passionate about, and therefore I’ve written this post for those of you wanting to start creating healthy mental health habits in order to boost your quality of life.
Focusing on your mental health can not only drastically improve your quality of life in the short term; but it can also help you to proactively work towards achieving your goals and laying down foundations for a future happier, healthier you.
Schedule time for yourself.
One of the biggest things I learnt from therapy is that I spent a lot (all) of my time doing things for the benefit of someone else. Cooking, cleaning, working, walking the dog – all these things serve someone else. After scheduling my days over a period of seven days and logging how much time I spent on doing specific activities throughout the days, I found that I spent all my time looking after everyone else. Literally, all of it. And do you know what? That realisation sucked – but it also answered a lot of questions I had asked myself about why I couldn’t ever get everything done and why I was always so busy, despite not feeling like I had ‘achieved’ anything.
Scheduling time for yourself EVERY DAY is vital if you want to build a healthy routine that nourishes your mind, body, and soul. I found it extremely useful to plan my days, scheduling in self care time, thus creating a healthy mental health habit. Scheduling this time in the diary, just like you would a doctor’s appointment, forced me to stop what I was doing at the specified time and take the hour I had set aside for myself. I made sure my partner knew about it, that the kids knew, and that any distractions or interruptions were removed. Planning this time for yourself, to do whatever you want to, is important for those wishing to create new healthy mental health habits.
What hobby brings you the most comfort? Centre more of your time around this.
Hobbies don’t have to be ‘big’ things. If you’re feeling unmotivated, tired, and low, it is likely you’re not going to feel up to taking a pottery class or exploring the countryside via horseback. Luckily, hobbies don’t have to be things that are outside of the house, like taking classes or joining clubs.
Hobbies can be small things that bring you joy. For me, it’s painting. I love painting, specifically watercolour painting. But let me just say this one thing: I’m not good at it. Not by anyone’s artistic standards – that’s not me being modest or undervaluing myself – what I’m trying to say is, despite not being an artist, I still find great comfort in creating art.
I find being creative to be extremely cathartic. It’s not about the finished product for me, but it’s about the journey. Emptying your mind of all your stresses through creativity, or your hobby of choice, is a great mental health habit to create.
Or, start a new hobby!
Of course, if you have the time and the inclination, starting a brand new hobby is a fantastic way to boost your mental health, meet new people, and develop new interests and skills. Many people find that exercise-related hobbies are extremely rewarding, plus there’s usually a huge community of like-minded people who are always ready to give you a helping hand, or teach you the basics. Mountain biking, for example, can be done alone or with friends, and can takes you to some of the most beautiful places around the country. The same goes for dog sled sports, such as canicrossing and bikejoring with your dogs.
Create a morning routine that works for you.
TikTok and Instagram are full of morning and evening routines that are super pretty and aesthetic. Let me tell you something though, you can have a routine without it fitting into the ‘glow up’ aesthetic. For tips and tricks on how to create a good morning routine that works for you, check out this link: 5 Simple Steps To Kickstart Your Morning Routine.
Take note of what you’re grateful for.
Taking note, every single day, of what you’re grateful for is a quick exercise to do regardless of whether you’ve had a good mental health day or a bad mental health day. It’s so easy, especially when you’re feeling low, to think that the whole world is against you; that everything that could possibly go wrong, has gone wrong.
However, I think you’ll find that if you grab some paper, or even better – start a gratitude journal, and create a list of all the things in life that you’re grateful for, you’ll start to challenge this perception. It’s good practice to list 3 things each day that you’re grateful for. It may be that you’re grateful for puppy cuddles, or for best friends, or for living close to a beautiful hiking destination.
Follow these tips and create new, healthy habits.
These are just a few ways to begin creating a happier, healthier you. Nourishing your mental health and looking after both your physical and mental wellbeing is vital, now more than ever before. With everything that is going on in the world currently, creating new habits that will help you to stay positive will benefit you immensely.