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

March—the final winter hurdle. It can be a hard month mentally for many Canadians. Hang tight, we got this! Days are getting longer and temperatures are steadily rising.

March is an excellent time to spring clean, or reassess your mental health. In shifting gears from winter to spring, check in with yourself. How are you feeling? What’s your energy like? How are your moods these days? Take this time to reflect on small habit changes you can implement today to support your mental wellness.

Five spring cleaning 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 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 five pm Fridays 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!

Break out of winter hibernation mode. Call that friend to reconnect over a coffee and a walk! That warm spring sunshine feels so good! Don’t let puddles be a deterrent—treat yourself to a new pair of rubber boots! Wondering what to talk about? See tip three.

3. Get inspired!

Plan your summer vacation. Imagine yourself hiking a trail and swimming in crystal blue lakes this summer! Where do you want to explore? What do you want to do? Planning a trip gives you something to look forward to and also acts as excellent motivation to get moving now, so you can be fit, strong and energized for your summer 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 one!) and cue your mind to relax by reading, listening to music, or taking a bath. Can’t sleep because you have a busy mind that just won’t slow down? See tip five.

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 happy-feeling endorphins. Start small, with little bits of movement built into your lifestyle. Walk 15 minutes by getting off public transit three stops earlier. Take the stairs at work. Add a 20-minute lunch break walk outside to your daily routine (connect with a pal, tip two!)—it will do wonders for your mental health.

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