01 Jan

Everybody needs an arsenal of tips and tricks to keep their minds pointed in the right direction, and bounce back if you aren't feeling quite 100%. None of this is groundbreaking, or particularly difficult to accomplish... but it's what works for me.

Here are the six things that I stay aware of to help me stay in the right mindset. Evidently don't manage all of them at the same time, especially #6, but whenever I ever feel myself slipping again I do my darnedest to hit all 6!

#1 - Sun

The effect of Vitamin D on the mind cannot be overstated. I don't need to parrot a pile of statistics or studies, I can feel it. When I feel that I've been inside a lot, I have started ensuring to take the time to get out for a walk, even if it is in the Vancouver "winter".

#2 - Sweat/Sports

Fact: Being active releases endorphin's and reduces the levels of stress hormones in the body. I've always loved competition and sports, and making sure I get out for a hockey game, or a soccer game, or a hike, or a run... always seems to be able to boost my mood.  

#3 - Social

It is really easy when you aren't feeling tip top to avoid being social and get wrapped up in Netflix marathons and not leave the house except for work.... but it's not good for my mind.  Face to face contact and conversation with friends, family, or just strangers in a coffee shop keeps my mind active and engaged and promotes the release of oxytocin.

#4 - Sleep

Sleep is very important, and lack of sleep compounds. If over the course of a few days I don't get enough sleep, I'm fully aware that I become a grump. If I'm already not in a good mental headspace? Being a grump is the tip of the iceberg. When depressed oversleep can be an issue too because it's easier just to stay in bed... but that's not good either. For me I need to make sure that most nights I get 7 or 8 hours, while also making sure I don't stay horizontal more that 10 (or I'll just be sleepy all day).

#5 - Sustenance 

You are what you eat. When I go through a period of being busy (and not eating well) I can feel it in my body AND mind. Eating enough fruits and vegetables, not eating too much sugar, watching my other sugar intake (carbs), being moderate with caffeine intake, avoiding fast food.... Putting good things in my body helps me feel good about my body and in turn keeps my mind feeling fine too.

#6 - Sober

Another no brainer - Drugs and Alcohol are bad for your mental health. Wow. Big surprise. There is nothing wrong with social drinks here and there, or a cold beer after a hard days work, but when drinking to deal with (or avoid dealing with) things going on in your mind thats when there's a problem. Personally whenever I have realized I'm on a downswing (or already down) I have to cut it entirely. While sometimes it can be a little awkward when out in social situations, I know that it will help me get back up in the long run.

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