Now and then we get a bit off track. Our routines change and we’re left with a lot of free time with our thoughts. Something we can all relate to, right?
The day seems to get longer, warmer, less busy. However, for some, they get busier, shorter, with less time to acknowledge thoughts. Either way, they catch up with us and either make or break us.
For some time now, I’ve been taking the time to reflect on what I want in life and where my life is going. I’ve also thought about the people in it, should they be? Should they not be?
I’ve been taking some time to relax, which my brain is making me feel guilty about because it has been on the go for the last ten months. It’s used to the same routine. What happens when this routine stops and a new irregular habit takes its place?
How can you get your brain back on track and feeling mentally good after something has affected it?
In my personal experience, it’s all about what you keep stable even though a significant part of your routine has changed. Changing my brain routine from university to holiday mode is something I struggle with every year and never seem to note what makes this shift easier. So this time I thought why not talk about it, why not put it out there in case someone else can relate to this. Why not try and help one person going through the same thing?
Without further ado here’s what I like to do to get my brain back on track (it’s extensive so bear with me). First, I like to make sure I take time to destress which usually goes on for a week or two. This helps to calm my brain after going through exams and stressful life events.
Next, I like to get my sleeping back on track (this is the biggest struggle ever, and I still haven’t mastered this step yet). My brain works best when I have at least nine hours of sleep a night.
You may be thinking that’s a lot, but over the years I’ve come to realise that for me it’s just average. I remember in high school on the weekends I would sleep for like 12 to 15 hours, and I was made to feel like that was wrong when in fact it was just my brain playing catch up and processing everything I’ve learnt that week.
Remember that you know what works for you, you know how your body functions best and how many hours of sleep you need, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about that.
Often the answers to our problems are that we’re not getting enough sleep because not getting enough tends to increase anxiety and depression.
That being said, once I’ve got my sleeping pattern back on track I like to focus on what I’m putting into my body (diet). Recently I started drinking decaf coffee because I found I wasn’t sleeping deep enough at night, my adrenal gland was overworked (produces a variety of hormones including adrenaline and the steroids aldosterone and cortisol) and I felt jumpy all the time.
Since starting decaf It was the best change my routine that I’ve ever made. I also try to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, that are complex in carbs and take longer to digest and fill me up. I also like to go and do things that I love, and mostly that’s getting out and being active or taking myself out for something to eat. It can also be as simple as talking to a friend or watching a movie with them.
Did you know doing things that make you happy result in a happy brain? It’s because humans seek out things that give them pleasure (i.e. food, sex, and exercise) which produces chemicals in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin that give us feelings of happiness.
All of the things I’ve mentioned will help you to create a positive mindset and hopefully strong mental health.
If you give any of these tips a try, please reach out and let me know how it goes, I would love to hear about it.
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P.S.S. If you need someone to talk to or immediate help see: http://www.mentalhealthcompass.com.au/helplines