Habits & Daily Actions that Support Positivity and our overall Mental Health
Updated: Dec 22, 2020
Taking care of your emotional health involves making a commitment to practicing activities that motivate and inspire you. There’s likely so much that goes on in your everyday life that could potentially go against your mental health and emotional wellbeing like work, relationships, financial struggles, too much time indoors, screen time, and the overall fast-paced nature of your day-to-day activities. These things can drain and deplete you with time—or even after just a few days of high stress! For this reason, implementing habits and daily actions that support your wellbeing and quality of life is critical. Consistency and regular practice is key—not waiting until you can use your vacation days or finally take some time off. And certainly not putting off self-care until you’re in dire need of it or showing signs of burnout. Healthy habits and daily actions serve as both prevention and a source of healing.
Below we will discuss 3 habits and daily actions that can provide you balance, recovery, and a renewed ability to truly enjoy life.
1) Change your routine.
This habit is especially critical if you tend to adhere to a pretty strict work or daily schedule. Structure and routine can certainly be a good thing—it provides predictability and organization, which is important when it comes to getting things accomplished. However, even a schedule should be used in moderation or it can potentially threaten your mental health. When you tend to do the same thing every day, you could be at risk of functioning on auto pilot where you may mindlessly engage in the tasks you need to do. You might feel a lack of pleasure or enjoyment in what you’re doing after a while, and then, boredom will set in pretty quickly. Boredom can lead to irritability and moodiness as you begin to resent or dread your work or daily routine. This sequence of events is pretty normal, particularly as you approach the end of a workweek. It’s no wonder people look forward to Fri-yay.
Doing something to change your routine earlier on in the week will not only energize you, stimulate your mind, and make you far more productive, it will bring some fun and satisfaction into your Monday through Thursday schedule. Changing your routine simply involves doing something completely different—resisting the urge to sit on the couch all evening or scroll through your phone until it’s time to go to bed. Some great breaks to your routine can include spending some time walking outdoors or in nature; sitting at a café after work and reading a good book; or getting into a new hands-on hobby where you can build or create something. The point is to plan different things you can do to change things up during the week—the more varied, the better.
2) Pursue goals in small parts.
It can often be mentally and emotionally draining when you find that you’re far too busy working and tending to life responsibilities to put any time into a passion or goal. Many people dream of leaving their day job or cultivating a ‘side hustle,’ but often don’t have the time to really make their ideas come to life. There’s a key factor here that can make all the difference and can take you towards that passion or goal faster and sooner. It involves taking action in very small parts: 15 minutes here, an hour there; even 5 minutes of disconnecting from your responsibilities and devoting that time to your goal can help you accomplish so much in a week’s time. We often tend to believe that we need large windows of time to be productive, but the reality is that you will get much more done if you shift your mindset and begin to take advantage of smaller windows of time. Ask yourself, “How much can I get done in the next 10 minutes?” This habit will make your goals and passions more attainable and realistic. Break down the task into steps and commit to accomplishing just one of those steps every day.
Disconnecting for the sake of your emotional health means symbolically disconnecting (as in, taking a break), but it also means literally disconnecting—from technology, that is. This is often challenging for many people, as most of us have a computer, tablet, or smart phone at arms-reach at all times—even while sleeping! We often underestimate how harmful this can be, even if you use devices for leisure as well as for work. A critical daily habit involves removing devices from your surroundings whether it means turning everything off and leaving it in one room or removing yourself and going elsewhere, away from the urge to grab your phone and start scrolling or getting on your laptop and checking for new emails (an incessant habit for many of us).
This is one habit that you might not realize how much you need it until you do it several times. Many people describe feeling revived and less anxious when they spend some time away from technology. Aim for 1 hour of no screen time daily and if possible—a whole 12 hours straight (while you’re awake) on weekends.
Want to learn more about creating new habits in your life, check out Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg.