Hope everyone had restful weekends and are recharged for the week! In light of World Mental Health Day this month (and considering we are entering the winter months of a pandemic quarantine) I’ve decided to share Dr. Laurie Santos’ top suggestions for maintaining well-being. Since we’ll still be fairly isolated in the coming months, it’s really important we take care of ourselves and stay positive as the days get colder, darker, and shorter.
Dr. Laurie Santos’ work is fascinating, and I strongly recommend her podcast The Happiness Lab (the episodes dive deep into thought provoking phenomena like depression after winning the lottery, the golf “yips”, psychopathic traits in charitable people, etc.). Although emotions and the brain are still not fully understood, one thing we can be certain of is that the below 5 areas are proven to contribute to a greater wellbeing.
30 minutes of activity (yoga, running, etc.) each day can boost your energy levels, productivity, and overall happiness. Something interesting I learned in a webinar on ‘burn out & mental health’ is that taking hot baths or meditating can also fall into the exercise bucket, and can use energy and give you a similar state of energy and peace.
Giving thanks is a great way to keep positive. Numerous studies show that writing down 3-5 things you’re grateful for daily boosts happiness. You can do this in the morning before you start work, or at the end of the day to remind yourself of everything you accomplished. Don’t take yourself, or your blessings, for granted!
This is arguably one of the most important things you should do every day. Try cutting out screens before bed, and try to have quality rest (comfortable, at peace, limited light). Everyone’s body is different and requires varying amounts of sleep to help get you through the day. Make sure you’re giving your body enough.
During this time, it’s more important than ever. This means scheduling family zooms, meeting up for coffees, staying in touch with your loved ones regularly. Don’t fall into the trap of isolation and going days without contact.
Be with your emotions
Dr. Santos recommends that RAIN technique: Recognize, Accept, Investigate, and Nurture. What this means is that to overcome your emotions, you must accept them and get to the root of them. If you wake up anxious, sit with your feelings for a few minutes and find out why. Otherwise, you might get let it subconsciously impact you for the entire day.
Remember to take care of yourselves and start your day in prayer to ground yourself and give purpose to your day.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7