By Scarlett Buckley

Image courtesy of iStock

With healing chakra this and meditative breathing that, it has become clear that society has reached a positive point of no return in the fight to better understand and work through our collective mental health struggles. Phew! Big sentence. But, when it comes to the small practices we can do each day, it can feel overwhelming with the number of tips, tricks and tantalising tantra’s that’s out there to choose from. So, to help, we’ve put together a small list of super simple ideas for better mental health!

1. Remove perfectionism

How many of us are so focused on trying to make everything perfect? Whether you’re on a diet, whether you’re trying to get a report together, submitting that last assignment of the term or trying be that perfect parent. We keep on pushing ourselves and challenging ourselves until it starts to get strenuous. This is the point at which our performance can drop. If you’re anything like me, I get super motivated when I’ve reached that level of performance where I’m positively challenged, but often just behind that is the tipping point at which I become so stressed, anxious and convinced that whatever task I’m doing must undoubtably be considered for a Nobel prize, I mess it up. By removing that need for perfectionism in our work, friendships, eating and general life, can lead to longer and more progressive change and to the realisation that perfectionism doesn’t need to exist on the journey to happiness!

2. Exercise (eek)

I hate exercise, and that’s the truth. I hate the gym; I hate running and I hate lycra. But, after many years of protesting that good mental health doesn’t acquire physical activity, I finally throw my hands up in surrender – exercise is absolutely vital. I finally realise working out doesn’t have to equate to achieving a perfect body, it can simply be good for the mind. That is not to say you must have a top of the range peloton or a ridiculously priced gym membership to include exercise into your routine. And after a busy day at work, the thought of coming home and heading back out in the cold to run 3k is almost laughable. So with no further ado, below are links to my three favourite YouTube workouts for your living room, where all you need is a yoga mat!

Pamela Reif – 20 min full body workout

Finally, a workout suitable for beginners. This 20 min full body workout will get your sweat on, target those abs make you drink a gallon of water but most importantly, leave you with glowing endorphins!

Get Abbs and a hardcore tummy work out in two weeks with Chloe Ting!

This one is a 30 min morning yoga flow routine by SarahBethYoga. Not as high intensity as the others, but none the less a great way to get your body moving!

3. Self-care

 A big part of practicing good mental health is practicing self-care. This doesn’t necessarily mean face masks and bubble baths (however absolutely can if winding down helps you reach a state of peace). Practising self-care can look like eating the right foods, maintaining friendships or monitoring our phone usage, particularly social media. I find when I’m in a over stimulated, depressed or in an anxious state, the first thing I do is reach for my phone and my thumb starts aimlessly scrolling, most of the time to numb my brain. This, of course, doesn’t help when I’m looking down at other people’s pretend perfect lives and then becoming infuriated by my own pathetic-ness and begin spiralling worse than before I opened that stupid app. So, this last year, to attempt to amend this mental technicality, I invested in some amazing books. Some focused on mental health and some just damn good reads which ultimately helped me get off my phone in the evenings and actually did something good for my brain.

Below are my top three reads:

Mat Haig, How To Stop Time

 A brilliant short novel by my favourite author and mental health advocate on the impact and meaning of time, and how we navigate love through the ages of this cruel world.

Richard Osman, The Thursday Murder Club

I was hysterically laughing through this triumph of a first novel by the equally hysterical Richard Osman. 100/10, thank you Richard.

Mat Haig, Reasons To Stay Alive

This is the true story of how Matt Haig came through crisis, triumphed over a mental illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. Moving, funny and joyous.

Just as we know what we want out bodies to look like, it’s important to know what we want our minds to feel like. The mind is a muscle we use every single day, to be creative at work, to be effective at home, to be productive in our own businesses as entrepreneurs or whatever we might be doing! Just as our bodies need to eat, exercise (whether we like it or not) and be engaged to get stronger, so does our mind.