3 Small Ways To Make A Big Impact On Your Mental Health (Tips From A Wellness Expert)
When it comes to wellness, starting small is the easiest way to stay committed even though it can be tempting to want to overhaul everything and start over.
With so many different wellness tips and ideas being shared, knowing where to begin can sometimes feel tough in itself. Adding more to your “to-do” list is rarely the answer, even if the add-on is considered “self-care”.
Instead, finding ways to improve the schedule or routines that you already have can really boost your mood and help you stay committed for the long haul.
Schedule Your Joy
You may have been taught that joy will come after you figure out how to rid yourself of the tough issues that come up in life. And of course, that’s not possible because life comes with ups and downs – and many times we’re unable to predict or keep up with the ebbs and flows.
If you waited until you had it all figured out, you’d most likely be waiting forever – and you deserve joy as much as possible in the now.
One of the ways you can ensure you have access to joy on a daily basis (yes, every single day) is by scheduling it in. Find at least 15 minutes in your day, longer if you know you can commit to it, to set aside time for you to do something that brings you joy. Perhaps 15 minutes before you shower, you’ll spend time dry brushing. Or maybe before you go to bed you’ll spend time reading a book you’ve been wanting to create time for. Although this may seem small, these activities can help you feel better and more joyful.
To help make it easier for you to practice creating joy during your scheduled time, write down 5 things that you enjoy that you’d do right now if you had the time. Make sure they are things that don’t require you to buy anything extra or for you to go anywhere (unless your joy includes taking a walk or drive) so that it’s accessible to you. When your 15 minutes of joy time is close, you can look at the 5 things you’ve written down and select something in the moment or you can choose the night before to have something to look forward to the next day!
Simplifying Your Routine
You may have added things to your routine in the name of wellness that you’re not actually enjoying. For example, although 5 am wake-ups work for some people, for others sleeping a bit longer creates more joy. Or perhaps a 2-mile walk every day makes one group of people feel great and for another group, they’d much rather take a yoga class – or perhaps not work out at all at the moment.
Ultimately, regularly going over your routine and assessing how it’s making you feel can help you create daily rituals that you actually enjoy and look forward to rather than activities that you hoped would create joy that honestly aren’t enjoyable.
When looking at your routine ask yourself:
1. What do I do each day, that doesn’t have to be done that I can change?
For example, ask yourself:
- Am I eating salads for lunch when I’d prefer a sandwich?
- Am I going for long walks when I’d rather spend time in my garden?
2. What do I do each day, that I can’t change, but could be doing something else during that same time that I do enjoy?
For example, ask yourself:
- Could I be listening to a podcast or audio course while I do laundry?
- Could I set up a music playlist to listen to while I’m working?
- While on a call, could I stretch while listening in?
3. What can I eliminate from my routine altogether?
For example, ask yourself:
- What can I automate?
- What can I put off (it’s not important but it’s somehow on my list)?
- What can I delegate or ask for help with?
Saying “No” More Often
It can be hard to say no and this may seem like a big step versus a small step but “no” is a small step that you can start taking today! Whether you’re used to showing up for everyone you love, or you’re afraid of being called selfish, or perhaps you just don’t know how to begin – saying “no” often takes uncomfortable practice.
The practice of saying “no” is called boundaries, and when you put boundaries in place in your life and relationships, you’re bound to have space and time for yourself. Why? Because when you have boundaries in place, you’re more likely to check in with yourself and consider whether you actually want to do what you’re being asked to commit to.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself before saying yes:
- Do I have time for this?
- If I say yes to this, what will I have to say no to for myself?
- Can I do this right now? Or can I commit to doing this at another time?
Saying “no” to others when you don’t have time or space is providing you the opportunity to have more time and space for your priorities. When you advocate for your time and needs, you build self-trust within, and you’re more likely to do this again and again for yourself. If others have an unfavorable response to your decision, remember that it will take time for those around you to adjust to you choosing yourself in a new way.
Stay committed to your needs and the people around you who love you will enjoy seeing the positive effects of your new commitments to yourself.
For more mental health tips and inspo, follow Yasmine on Instagram and visit her website! XO
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