5 a day: the 5 ‘portions’ you need for good mental health
Are you getting your five a day?
I’m not talking about fruit and vegetables - although healthy eating is great, of course. I’m talking about including five activities each day to promote mental health and wellbeing.
Nourishment is needed for mental health in just the same as fruit and vegetables are needed for physical health. By doing five mentally healthy activities each day, you’ll be reducing your risk of developing a mental health problem, promoting your wellbeing and increasing your happiness.
Your five a day could be any actions you find helpful, positive, calming or enjoyable, such as:
Writing down things you’re grateful for
Speaking to a friend
Saying positive affirmations
Doing something fun
Spending five minutes alone
Going for a walk
Turning your phone off
Just like eating fruit and vegetables, it might not be possible to get five portions every day, but it’s good to know what works for you and aim for it. Your mental health is every bit as important as your physical health, and is worth prioritising in exactly the same way.
Here are the five things I try to do every day for my mental health:
1) Have five minutes of peace
Sometimes I meditate and sometimes I just lay down and relax, but I find it very helpful to have a chance to breathe, slow down, and take time for myself.
2) Apply moisturiser
I buy a posh face cream which smells lovely and feels like a little treat every time I apply it. It only takes a couple of minutes but it’s a reminder that I’m looking after myself and my body.
3) Get out of the house
I work mainly from home so it’s easy to end up staying inside all day, especially when things are busy. Getting outside - even if just to put the bin out! - always feels great.
Sometimes I go for a walk, sometimes I dance or do yoga, and sometimes I just do a couple of shoulder rolls and stretches. Moving helps me to be more mindful of my body and release any tension that’s built up.
5) Schedule worry time
I used to worry a lot, but then I learnt about worry time and have never looked back! I write down anything that’s bothering me during the day and then forget about it until a designated period of time when I worry to my heart’s content. It really helps me let go of things and stay calm and contented the rest of the day.
That’s what works for me, but how about you? What ‘apple’ could you ‘eat’ each day for your mental health?
Let me know about your mental health five a day by contacting me or in the comments below - I’d love to hear from you.