5 Daily Practices for Emotional Wellness
You know how humans spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on physical fitness but forget almost entirely about emotional fitness? Yeah, let's do something about that (especially during #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth).
Here are 5 ways you can nurture your emotional wellness on a daily basis:
1. Be true to your #SleepSweetSpot 😴
If you're keen on making me roll my eyes till the end of time, say, "I'll sleep when I'm dead." Er, technically, but you might die sooner if you don't prioritize your sleep. According to the Harvard Mental Health Letter, "Americans are notoriously sleep deprived" and yet "a good night's sleep helps foster both mental and emotional resilience." Unfortunately, chronic sleep deprivation most often leads to negative thinking and emotional vulnerability.
Now, a good night's sleep varies from person to person, but we each have what I call the #SleepSweetSpot. When you find it, you'll likely feel refreshed and energized as you wake up. My #SleepSweetSpot went from 8 hours a night last year to approximately 7 hours to 7 hours and 30 minutes now, so it's something to assess on a regular basis.
2. Spend a few moments in the fresh air 🌤
I don't know much about the science, and by "the science" I mean our evolutionary history, but I think it's safe to say that we weren't made to be cooped in 5 days a week for 8 to 10 hours a day. A good chunk of us are chained to desks for years of our lives and it's harmful to be sedentary for that much time.
One of my favorite remedies for office life is taking a combination lunch and walking break. I eat for approximately 10 minutes and then use the rest of my break to go for a walk, feel the breeze on my face, warmth on my skin and blood circulating through my body. My daily walks with Chuey are another opportunity to get outside! Getting fresh air is an immediate mood booster.
3. Dedicate at least fifteen minutes to movement 🏃♀️
We are notoriously "busy" creatures who make excuses for not practicing an active lifestyle, but the truth is, you don't need a whole lot of time to fit in an effective workout. In only 15 minutes, you can run (or speed-walk) 1.5 miles or complete a HIIT workout. In 25-30 minutes, you can squeeze in a power vinyasa flow with free YouTube tutorials.
All of this is possible if it's a priority for you, and I can promise that the post-exercise endorphins are worth it. Your brain and body will thank you.
4. Nourish your body with whole foods and water 🥑
I agree that you are what you eat in that you feel how you eat. After a greasy burger, you'll probably feel lethargic. After eating lean protein, greens and healthy fats, you feel light but satisfied, even motivated to make better choices throughout your day.
Let's rely on Harvard once more for the research behind this: serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps mediate moods and about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract. In other words, what we choose for fuel directly affects how we feel long-term.
5. Start your day with purpose and gratitude 🙏
Mindset is everything. If you begin your day by taking deep breaths, acknowledging something you're grateful for and setting an intention for the day ahead, I can guarantee you'll feel better that you did.
Start each morning with purpose. Maybe that's starting a gratitude journal, downloading a meditation app or listening to an inspiring podcast. Whatever that looks like for you, know that your emotional well being is worth the daily investment.