A balanced lifestyle is an essential part of your mental wellbeing. Living a balanced life can reduce stress, bring you joy, and keep you happy and healthy.
Check in with yourself and ask if all these elements are in your daily life, and are you dedicating the same energy and emotional focus to all of them. In addition to your daily work and family focuses, you also need to pay attention to the following elements: social connectivity, exercise, education, diet, and sleep.
Dr. John B Arden is a psychotherapist from the United States who writes about Brain-Based Therapy. This is used with people who are depressed or anxious. As part of this, Dr Arden developed an acronym called S.E.E.D.S.
S - Social Connectivity
Significant relationships are important for all of us as human beings. If you are lonely, you may find yourself with a weakened immune system, early symptoms of dementia, signs of depression and lower mood, and negative self-beliefs.
It is important to have good quality healthy relationships, engage socially with others, and form deeper connections with those around us.
E – Exercise
Exercise is proven to be helpful in easing some symptoms of depression and anxiety. Exercise does not need to always be high intensity or take up lots of time – it is more about getting your body moving daily in some way.
Making time to do some form of exercise, whether it be a walk, a jog, yoga, weight lifting, boxing, pilates, dancing, playing sports, or running around with your children in the garden, the benefits of regular exercise are seen not only in your physical health but in your mood, energy, sleep quality, and productivity.
E – Education
In addition to physical exercise, exercising our brain is also important. Taking some time to challenge yourself, learn something new, and engage in brain-stimulating activities can help you over years. Learning new things helps to create new pathways in the brain and the more pathways you have, the more you will see improvements in your memory and productivity.
Linking with social connections, you could take some time to learn more about the things the people around you enjoy. Fortunately, with the wealth of information we can access, finding new things to learn about has never been easier. Try to stick with reputable sources where you can. Engaging in other brain-stimulating activities such as word searches, Sudoku, and puzzles can also be beneficial. You could also read more non-fiction books.
D – Diet
The impact of a healthy diet cannot be ignored. With a balanced diet, you will see improvement in your physical health, brain function, energy levels, and other symptoms you may experience. Read more about the impact of diet on mental health here.
S – Sleep
Quality sleep is a vital part of any balanced lifestyle. When things get busy at work and in our lives, sleep is one of the things that is often sacrificed.
It’s not only about getting enough sleep (a recommended 7-9 hours per night), but having good quality sleep. That includes falling asleep easily, staying asleep once asleep, and then waking up feeling refreshed.
When you are struggling to sleep it may be tempting to use sleeping tablets as an aid, but this can actually prevent a proper sleep cycle in the long term. Here are some tips for improving your sleep quality.
At the end of the day, while work and daily responsibilities are important, in order to live a happy, healthy life and improve your mental wellbeing, a balanced lifestyle is needed. This means a solid work-life-play balance, where all aspects receive attention and work together to improve your overall quality of life.
COPE Therapy Team, Akeso Pietermaritzburg