Having a mental health toolbox has been one of the most integral elements of my own self-development journey, and it is something I encourage every person I work with to create for themselves. A mental health toolbox consists of self-care practices that you can use to improve your overall well-being and during times of stress, overwhelm, or whenever you feel in need of an emotional and energetic boost.
I like to think of our mental health toolbox like our beauty cupboards. Some things inside you will use every day, as part of your daily routine, others you’ll use when you have a flare-up or in times of need, and some things you’ll use simply because you feel like a boost of self-love and relaxation.
Here are some of my favorite tools that you can include in your own Mental Health Toolbox:
Meditation is simply the practice of awareness. It is an opportunity to be still, to slow down our minds, to focus our attention onto our breath and to come back to the present moment. Even five minutes of meditation a day gives us an opportunity to reset and re-centre. I find meditation to be particularly helpful when I need to problem solve: it gives me an opportunity to calm down my nervous system, step back, gain a new perspective and open up mental space for creativity.
2. Go for a Walk
What better way to let go of the day than to embrace the fresh air, move your body and just walk. Whenever things feel a little too much, get outside and walk it out. I encourage people to go on a 20 minute walk every single day and to incorporate it as part of their routine. You can also turn your walk into an active meditation by focusing your attention onto the sounds that you can hear, the feeling of the air on your skin, and taking time to appreciate all the beauty in the world that you can see.
3. Candle-Lit Baths
Never underestimate the power of a bath. Set the scene by turning off all the room lights, burning candles, playing some relaxing music and soaking in a bath filled with essential oils. This simple practice is just such an easy way to unwind and relax your mind, body and soul.
Repeating a mantra is a powerful tool to use to send a positive affirming message to our subconscious mind. When we do this regularly, we can actually reprogram our neurological pathways to support a more positive way of thinking. I suggest repeating a mantra every morning to start your day, such as “I am open to all opportunities that present themselves today” or “I am worthy, and I am loved”. In times of stress or challenge try repeating a mantra such as, “I overcome challenges with ease” or “I am calm and I am resilient”.
One of the most empowering ways to let something go, is to voice it. Practice letting out your fears, worries, anxieties and concerns onto the page. Just 15 minutes of free-flowing journaling can allow your mind to empty itself of negative thoughts or limiting beliefs and allow you to get on with your day with greater clarity and ease.
Self-Care is Self-Love. Having a massage, applying a face mask, having a manicure, getting a blow-dry: it all gives us an opportunity to do something that is just for us. The added bonus is that blissful feeling of being fresh, clean and pampered.
Moving your body in a mindful way is key for optimum mental health. I particularly love yoga and Pilates because both practices encourage you to focus on your breath, which is crucial for managing stress and lowering stress hormones. Allow the mat to become your safe space; a space for you to explore your body and to stretch, release and energise.
Dr. Joe Dispenza found that practicing gratitude daily for just four consecutive days, can increase the strength of your immune system by 50%! It is a practice that I love so much, even more so because it’s benefits are backed by science. Practicing gratitude is a sure way to improve every area of your life whilst also providing comfort in challenging times. Everyday, commit to spending just five minutes writing down, or saying out loud, every single thing you are grateful for. There is nothing too big or too small that you can include! After a few weeks of doing this daily, your mind will literally reprogram itself to focus its attention on the good in your life. When you face challenging or stressful times, you can always turn to gratitude to help boost you back up.
Roxie Nafousi is a self-development coach, manifesting expert, writer, and host of the podcast “The Moments That Made Me.”
Head to her website to book a spot in her next self-development webinar, schedule a one-on-one advice session, or download one of her meditations or affirmation playlists designed to help you on your manifestation journeys.