A Guide to Mental Well Being
Sami is a certified yoga instructor, health practitioner, and head of our Pagosa Springs retail store.
Most of us these days use our minds more than our bodies, which is why it’s important to consider mental well-being too. Think of this just like you would a workout regimen that’s specifically dialed for your brain.
Make a Schedule
The mind always breaks before the body, so during this time try not to forget your mental health. The best way to keep going and maintain focus is to create a schedule and stick to it. This will keep you busy and help you stay on task. Even laying out your day to day with things like 7am - make coffee and 8am – take a shower that may seem mundane or obvious, will actually help you settle into a routine.
This can be done any time of the day and is helpful in resetting when you feel overwhelmed or stressed. There are many breathing techniques from Alternative Nostril Breathing to Bumble Bee Breathing that you can find instructional videos for. For now, let’s focus on an easier one: Measured Breathing.
Get into your comfortable clothes. (My personal favorite is the Eleven.9 Hoodie and a cozy pair of socks.) Light a candle or incense if you have them. Find a place to sit or lay somewhere where you’re by yourself. The couch or your bed is a great place to start. Play your favorite song, perhaps something mellow, to calm the space. If metal is your thing, by all means play it. This is your time.
Close your eyes and try to only focus on your breathing and the song. Do your best to resist thinking about the everyday things like the laundry, emails, or the car payment. This is time for your brain to take a break. Take deep breaths by inhaling for three to five seconds, then exhaling for the same amount of time. Do this for the entire song and for as many songs as you need. If the mind wanders, no big deal! Just refocus and keep breathing.
Feeding the Mind, Body, and Soul
There’s a good chance we all need to eat a few more fruits and veggies. Try to get your daily dose of both so that your mind and body can continue to operate at a high level. I can’t stress enough the importance of Vitamin C. Next time your at the market, look for oranges, limes, broccoli, and kale to help boost your Vitamin C intake. Keep those antibodies up and running!
One of our favorite meals of the week takes place on what we’re calling “curry night.” It’s so easy to make. You can throw in as many veggies as you’d like and leftovers stay good for days. Not to mention spices help boost the immune system.
All that said, don’t forget to indulge here and there. Grab a candy bar and a glass of wine. Or make something sweet.
For me, baking is a great stress reliever. I am forced to focus on what I’m doing if I want to create something devilishly good. Find a new recipe or try one that’s been on your radar for a while. It’ll make the house smell good and you’ll most likely win the praise of those you share a space with.
Get Your Hands Dirty
What better way to reconnect with Mother Nature than through dirt! Plants have been a huge help for my sanity. The results of a thriving plant that’s been properly watered, fed, and lighted is deeply satisfying.
And it doesn’t have to be some elaborate collection of exotic plants you’re tending either. Grab a new succulent or herb that you can water and put in a window. Start small and work your way up.
If you really want to test out your “green thumb,” consider a small garden. This could be done with your spouse and kids. Assign someone to spinach, someone else to squash. Be creative and conscious – like you’re running a co-lab – and you’ll find that a garden is something everyone can benefit from. However you choose to do it, getting your hands dirty and creating new life along the way is super healthy for the mind.