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  • Writer's pictureNamrata Patel

Managing Mental Health: A Holistic Approach

Updated: 1 day ago

In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Many of us have adopted various self-care techniques to help manage our mental health. As we focus on Mental Health Awareness Week, in this blog, I will explore a holistic approach to managing mental health, emphasising the interconnectedness of our physical and mental wellbeing.



Mental Health Awareness Week

Understanding Holistic Healthcare


Holistic healthcare is about recognising the intrinsic link between mind and body. It involves understanding that our physical health directly impacts our mental state and vice versa. Rather than treating symptoms in isolation, holistic healthcare takes a comprehensive approach, aiming to balance and nurture the entire person. This means considering factors such as diet, exercise, sleep, and emotional wellbeing as interconnected elements of overall health. By addressing the root causes of health issues and promoting healthy lifestyle choices, holistic healthcare helps individuals achieve a more balanced and fulfilling life.



The Importance of Nutrition


Eating the right foods can significantly influence your mood and energy levels. Consuming nutritionally dense foods can lead to more positive feelings, higher energy, clearer thinking, and calmer moods.


Digestion plays a key role in mental health, after all, your gut is your 2nd brain.


To keep your gut happy, follow these four rules:


  • Include 30+ plant foods a week: Enjoy a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, herbs, spices, and legumes.


  • Eat the rainbow: Different coloured plants provide various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.


  • Include fermented foods: Foods like tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir support a healthy gut microbiome.


  • Avoid or restrict certain foods: Cut down on alcohol, highly processed foods, added sugar, and artificial sweeteners.


Nutrition for mental health


The Role of Movement


Exercise is a key component of self-care. Doing exercise you enjoy is part of looking after yourself. Two of my favourite go to exercises for boosting my mental health are:


  • Yoga: Ideal for stress relief and improving confidence. Yoga stimulates the vagus nerve, promoting a restful state and enhancing flexibility and strength.


  • Walking: A simple but effective way to combat overwhelm and stimulate creativity. Walking outside helps you disconnect from technology and recharge your mind.



Walking for mental health


Feeding Your Brain

When feeling lethargic, incorporating brain-boosting foods into your diet is essential. Coloured veggies, oily fish, whole grains, nuts, and dark chocolate are rich in polyphenols and omega-3s, which support better brain health.


Feed your brain the right foods for mental health


Social Connections

Nurturing social connections is as vital as proper nutrition. Engaging in shared experiences, whether in person or virtually, helps maintain these connections and create meaningful bonds. Healthy relationships are so important for mental health, let go of connections that are not serving you emotionally and mentally.


Healthy social connections are important for mental health


The Power of Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for mental health. Poor sleep can affect mood, memory, and cognitive function. Create a bedtime routine to wind down, such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practising gentle stretches. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to ensure your mind and body are well-rested.


The power of sleep for mental health


Practising Mindfulness

Mindfulness isn't just about meditation. It involves being present and fully engaged in the moment. Practising mindfulness can reduce stress, improve focus, and enhance emotional regulation. Techniques such as mindful breathing, body scans, and mindful eating can be incorporated into your daily routine.


Mindfullness for mental health


Embracing Nature

Spending time in nature can have profound effects on mental health. Studies have shown that being in green spaces reduces stress, enhances mood, and improves cognitive function. Activities like hiking, gardening, or simply sitting in a park can help you feel more connected to the world around you and foster a sense of peace.


Embrace nature for mental health


An Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude can significantly improve your mental health by shifting your focus from what you lack to what you have. Keeping a gratitude journal, where you write down three things you're thankful for each day, can boost your mood and overall outlook on life. This simple practice helps cultivate a positive mindset and reduces feelings of anxiety and depression.


Practising gratitude for mental health


Learning and Growth

Engaging in continuous learning and personal development can also enhance mental health. Whether it's picking up a new hobby, taking a class, or reading a book, challenging your brain and setting goals can provide a sense of purpose and achievement. This growth mindset encourages resilience and adaptability, crucial for maintaining mental wellbeing.


Learning enhances mental health



Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), often referred to as tapping, is a method that combines cognitive therapy and acupressure to reduce stress and anxiety. EFT involves tapping on specific meridian points on the body while voicing positive affirmations. This technique can help release emotional blockages, reduce negative feelings, and promote a sense of calm and wellbeing. It's a simple, self-administered tool that can be easily integrated into your daily routine.


Emotional Freedom Techniques for Mental Health



Taking a holistic approach to mental health means paying attention to all aspects of your wellbeing: mind, body, and social connections. By nourishing yourself with the right foods, engaging in enjoyable physical activities, fostering meaningful relationships, incorporating restful sleep, mindfulness, creative outlets, spending time in nature, and practising techniques like EFT, you can enhance your overall mental health and wellbeing. This Mental Health Awareness Week, consider incorporating these practices into your daily routine to achieve a more balanced and fulfilling life. If you need additional support, don't hesitate to reach out to professional organisations in the UK dedicated to mental health.



Disclaimer:


It's essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before starting any new wellness practice, especially if you have underlying medical conditions or concerns.While these holistic practices are beneficial, they do not replace professional medical advice. Always consult your GP if you have concerns about your mental health.


If you need additional support, consider reaching out to these professional organisations in the UK:


  • Mind: A leading mental health charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Visit Mind for more information.


  • Rethink Mental Illness: Offers support and information for anyone affected by mental illness. Their services range from advocacy to residential care. Learn more at Rethink Mental Illness.


  • Samaritans: Provides 24/7 emotional support for anyone in distress or struggling to cope. Contact them at Samaritans or call 116 123.


  • NHS Mental Health Services: The NHS offers a range of mental health services, including counselling, therapy, and crisis support. Visit NHS Mental Health Services to find services in your area.


  • CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably): Focuses on preventing male suicide by providing support for men in the UK. Visit CALM for more information.


  • YoungMinds: The UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people's mental health. For resources and support, visit YoungMinds.

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