LISA DUNBAR'S HEALTH HACKS

Top tips for minding your mental health this month

Lisa Dunbar is a Dundalk-based Nutrition and Health coach

Tia Clarke

Reporter:

Tia Clarke

Email:

tia.clarke@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Top tips for minding your mental health this July

Lisa Dunbar catching some rays

At the beginning of every new month I have been giving you a few tips on simple things you can do to improve your mood and overall mental health. Because remember, our mental health and wellbeing is something we need to work on in the same way we do our physical health. As we head into July, here are some things you can think about trying this month…

Let The Sun Shine In!
So, who saw that one coming?! Who would have thought that 2018 would bring us the Summer we have all been wishing for?!
Temperatures hit record highs last week and well, maybe thoughts of ‘be careful what you wish for’ started to enter our minds. Because it became very tempting to start complaining that it was too hot!


However, the fact is, sunshine has been proven to have a huge impact on our mental health. We instinctively know this as we tend to feel more upbeat on good days and a bit less perky on grey, rainy days.

Some people even develop Seasonal Affective Disorder, or the so-called ‘winter blues’, those feelings of sadness that are associated with being forced to spend more time indoors and not being exposed to enough natural light or sunshine. So, for everyone, sunshine is incredibly important for our overall wellbeing.

The recent warm weather is something we are not accustomed to, so of course, do be safe and sensible and remember to stay hydrated, but really the best thing we can do is just get outside and embrace a good thing while it lasts!

Focus On What You’re Good At
None of us were born thinking “I’m not good enough”, but for many of us this silly notion can sneak into our minds and stay there for long enough that we begin to believe it.


This can have a huge impact on our mental health. And when you believe you are not good enough, you start to behave like you’re not good enough and this can have a massive impact on how you live and enjoy your life.

I promise you, there are many things that you are good at, you just need to remind yourself! The best way to do this is to grab a pen and paper and start writing them down.

Think about and jot down a list of all the things you do well, things you know a lot about, things you are able to do quickly and easily, times you helped others, times you overcame a challenge, the people who love you, and so on…

Keep this list somewhere accessible and read back over it any time you need to be reminded that you are indeed more than good enough!

Have a Bath
The simpler things in life are usually the things that actually bring us most joy. Baths are a great example of this. A warm bath is a fantastic way of unwinding and destressing because, mainly, we associate lying down with relaxation!

As well as this, the warm water is believed to mimic the conditions of the womb, creating a sense of security and contentment, further adding to your relaxation.

Another great benefit of a bath is that it can force you away from stress-inducing things like TV or the internet (or your crazy family!) for at least 20 or 30 minutes!

In today’s fast-paced modern world, we tend to opt for hurried showers. But why not try swapping some of your hurried showers for a warm, relaxing bath instead!?

And remember, your bath should be warm, but not too hot. A scorching hot bath actually has the opposite effect and stresses your body out!

Look at Some Old Photos
One of the biggest issues with the development of camera phones is that we are capturing more photos than ever, but print hardly any of them! And with the rate that most people upgrade their phones, many of those photos are lost forever.

Even if they are saved, I wonder if in 40 years time looking at old photos will bring the same joy that it does to me now.

I love looking at photos from my childhood. I love how there was no editing, no selfie-faces…just real life fond memories. Back then photos were often only taken on special occasions, times of real celebration, joy, and excitement.

Looking at old photos like these is a direct reminder of those times, helping to recapture and relive those positive feelings.

I’m sure you have a box of photos somewhere in your home – why not take them out and have a trip down memory lane!