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Mental health

5 small habits that can make a big difference to your mental health

October is an excellent time to reassess your mental health. As we move toward lower temperatures and shorter days, take some time to check in with yourself.

How are you feeling? What’s your energy like? How are your moods these days? Use this Mental Health Meter from the Canadian Mental Health Association to see how you’re faring on characteristics that make up good mental health.

This Fall, consider implementing a few small changes to your daily routine to support your mental health.

FIVE TIPS FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH:

1. BE PRESENT BY COMMITTING TO LESS SCREEN TIME.

Real life is happening right now. We are missing more and more moments of real-life engagement with ourselves and others by constantly being distracted and tethered to a phone. Make a choice to be present. Dedicate some time at least once a week to being phone-free. Try turning your phone off from 5pm Friday till noon on Saturday and take advantage of that time to be entirely present with your friends, family, partner or yourself. You’re not missing anything online, you’re missing out on real life.

2. GET OUT AND SOCIALIZE!

Don’t let yourself prematurely hibernate. Call that friend to reconnect over a coffee and a walk. It’s not winter yet, so don’t let a chilly day deter you – dress appropriately (layers are key!). Wondering what to talk about? See tip #3.

3. GET INSPIRED!

Plan your winter getaway. Imagine yourself snowshoeing in the mountains or walking along a sandy beach. Where do you want to explore? What do you want to do? Planning a trip gives you something to look forward to and acts as excellent motivation to get moving now, so you can be happy, strong and energized for your adventures!

4. GET A GOOD SLEEP!

Sleep is critical to our moods—aiming for 7-8 hours per night is best. Are you feeling well-rested? If not, try to start your nighttime routine earlier by turning off screens (tip #1!) and cue your mind to relax by reading a book, listening to music or taking a bath. Can’t sleep because you have a busy mind that just won’t slow down? See tip #5.

5. GET MOVING!

Movement clears the head. Think about movement as a tool to flush away stress and anxiety. Getting your heart rate up releases feel-good endorphins. Start small, with little bits of movement built into your day. Walk 15 minutes by getting off public transit a few stops earlier. Take the stairs at work. Add a 20-minute lunch break walk outside to your daily routine (even connect with a pal, tip #2!)—it will do wonders for your mental health.

Lindsay Somers is a Lifestyle Health Coach in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She believes in a better everyday with activity. To find inspiration to build your active life you can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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