4 out-of-the-box ways to boost mental health this stressful holiday season

Taking care of your mental health should be a priority. Most people know that eating healthily, sleeping well, and getting regular exercise are all proven ways to improve your mental health.

However, sometimes, you need to do something different -something to give yourself an extra boost. If you think outside of the box, you can implement several positive ideas to give your mental health that well deserved lift. 

Do some cleaning

Cleaning can fill some people with dread. Even the sight of that pile of dishes or messy bedroom is enough to make your mood drop. However, research shows that cleaning can actually be a positive thing for your mental health. 

Sometimes, it comes down to how you approach the task at hand. For example, when you wash the dishes, try to do it mindfully. Scientists found that people who focused on smelling the soap, feeling the water temperature, and noting their touch on the dishes when washing up increased their feelings of inspiration by 25% and reduced their nervousness levels by 27%.

Not a fan of dishwashing? Well, other cleaning jobs help your mind too. A scientific study found that women who have cluttered living spaces or a house full of unfinished projects are more likely to feel depressed and fatigued.

In addition, Havas Worldwide revealed that 50% of us could live happily without most of the things we own, which means decluttering reduces stress and anxiety. Clearing out that closet really is a positive way to clear your mind.

Even the small task of making your bed can make a difference. The National Sleep Foundation reported that people who make their bed in the morning are 19% more likely to get a good night’s sleep.

So next time you see a little cleaning job that needs doing, try to approach it with a different mindset. See it as a mental health booster rather than a chore and let your mind reap the rewards.

Go green!

There is no doubt that getting outdoors is great for your mood, but so is having more plants inside your home. If you don’t have a lovely green plant at your workspace, now is an excellent time to add one. 

Research identifies that being surrounded by green plants can help you concentrate, increase memory retention, enhance your life, and create a sense of well-being. Indoor plants have been found to improve feelings of positivity in university students, improve levels of satisfaction with job and home life, and positively affect mood and cognition. Plus, if you want to be productive, The University of Exeter found that employees’ productivity increases by 15% when houseplants are added to the work environment. 

Not sure what to get? Here are some plants that are shown to help your mental health:

  • Lavender Plants – can help to decrease anxiety make a calming atmosphere.
  • Bamboo Plants – have been found to induce relaxation effects on adults.
  • Peace Lillies – are identified by NASA as an air purifier. They can filter out the toxic fumes that cause things like dry eyes and headaches, adding to stress levels. 

Get involved in the community

You may have a lot on your plate, so adding another item to your list seems a little daunting, but volunteering in your community can have a significant impact on your well-being. Taking the time to volunteer can:

  • Counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety
  • Combat depression
  • Increase feelings of happiness
  • Provide a sense of purpose
  • Increase your self-confidence

According to HelpGuide – research shows just two to three hours of volunteer work per week brings the most benefit to both you and the cause you are supporting. 

Doodle, doodle, doodle

If you really haven’t got time to fit in an activity like volunteering, then make the most of your coffee break at your desk. Pick up a pen or a pencil and have a doodle. Simple, spontaneous doodling can help to relieve psychological stress.

Also, according to the Lancet, it may provide many unexpected therapeutic benefits. Doodling is thought to give your focus circuits a break allowing you to re-set your mind. This can help you to become more creative and focused on your current task in the long run. If you are stuck on a problem, have a creative block, or feel stressed, then take a break and start scribbling nothing in particular. 

Managing the responsibilities of your work, home, and social life can feel like a delicate balancing act. Despite this, it is essential to take time to prioritize your own psychological wellness.

Making time for your mental health does not have to be labor-intensive. Simple activities like popping a plant on your desk, making your bed, or doodling on your notepad are all easy ways to give your mind some self-care. 

The most important thing is to find things that work for you. Try something new to support your mental health. Does it help? Carry on doing it – and if it doesn’t, then move on. Whatever you decide to do, whether it is take up knitting or get some chickens (both found to be good for mental health too), allow yourself the time to look after your mental health.