How to Keep a Healthily Mental Life

If it’s not broke don’t fix it… right? No! One of the best methods of mental health recovery is to maintain an environment prone to mental health and mental illness recovery. Staying mentally healthy is a way of life, not something you do when things start to go wrong. Take a look at these top tips to staying mentally healthy! Remember sometimes, the best treatment is prevention.

Connect with others. Develop and maintain strong relationships with people around you who will support and enrich your life. The quality of our personal relationships has a great effect on our wellbeing. Putting time and effort into building strong relationships can bring great rewards.

Share your interests. Join a club or group of people who share your interests. Being part of a group of people with a common interest provides a sense of belonging and is good for your mental health. Join a sports club; a band; an evening walking group; a dance class; a theatre or choir group; a book or car club.

Contribute to your community. Volunteer your time for a cause or issue that you care about. Help out a neighbour, work in a community garden or do something nice for a friend. There are many great ways to contribute that can help you feel good about yourself and your place in the world. An effort to improve the lives of others is sure to improve your life too.

Take time to enjoy. Set aside time for activities, hobbies and projects you enjoy. Let yourself be spontaneous and creative when the urge takes you. Do a crossword; take a walk in your local park; read a book; sew a quilt; draw pictures with your kids; play with your pets – whatever takes your fancy.

Take care of yourself. Be active and eat well – these help maintain a healthy body. Physical and mental health are closely linked; it’s easier to feel good about life if your body feels good. You don’t have to go to the gym to exercise – gardening, vacuuming, dancing and bushwalking all count. Combine physical activity with a balanced diet to nourish your body and mind and keep you feeling good, inside and out.

Challenge yourself. Learn a new skill or take on a challenge to meet a goal. You could take on something different at work; commit to a fitness goal or learn to cook a new recipe. Learning improves your mental fitness, while striving to meet your own goals builds skills and confidence and gives you a sense of progress and achievement.

Deal with stress. Be aware of what triggers your stress and how you react. You may be able to avoid some of the triggers and learn to prepare for or manage others. Stress is a part of life and affects people in different ways. It only becomes a problem when it makes you feel uncomfortable or distressed. A balanced lifestyle can help you manage stress better. If you have trouble winding down, you may find that relaxation breathing, yoga or meditation can help.

Rest and refresh. Get plenty of sleep. Go to bed at a regular time each day and practice good habits to get better sleep. Sleep restores both your mind and body. However, feelings of fatigue can still set in if you feel constantly rushed and overwhelmed when you are awake. Allow yourself some unfocussed time each day to refresh; for example, let your mind wander, daydream or simply watch the clouds go by for a while. It’s OK to add ‘do nothing’ to your to-do list!

Notice the here and now. Take a moment to notice each of your senses each day. Simply ‘be’ in the moment – feel the sun and wind on your face and notice the air you are breathing. It’s easy to be caught up thinking about the past or planning for the future instead of experiencing the present. Practising mindfulness, by focusing your attention on being in the moment, is a good way to do this. Making a conscious effort to be aware of your inner and outer world is important for your mental health.

Ask for help. This can be as simple as asking a friend to babysit while you have some time out or speaking to your doctor (GP) about where to find a counsellor or community mental health service. The perfect, worry-free life does not exist. Everyone’s life journey has bumpy bits and the people around you can help. If you don’t get the help you need first off, keep asking until you do.

Eating for Healthy Eyes

Protecting your eyes starts with the food on your plate. Studies have shown that nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E may help ward off age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Regularly eating these foods can help lead to good eye health:

* Carrots

You’ve probably heard that carrots and other orange-colored fruits and vegetables promote eye health and protect vision, and it’s true: Beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A that gives these foods their orange hue, helps the retina and other parts of the eye to function smoothly.

Carrots can easily be added into salads and soups, and are always a great side veggie with lunch or dinner. You can also dip them in just about anything — salsa, hummus, guacamole, peanut butter and low-cal dressings.

* Bell peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts

Three B’s that provide a blast of vitamin C! Vitamin C is another key antioxidant shown specifically to protect the eyes. Steam them, roast them, add to soups and omelets … or, combine all three for apasta primavera (lightly tossed in olive oil and garlic).

* Almonds

They’re filled with vitamin E, which slows macular degeneration, research shows. One handful (an ounce) provides about half of your daily dose of E.

* Sweet potatoes

Beta carotene to the rescue once again — thanks to the bright-orange flesh in these sweet, special spuds.

Sweet potatoes are a super side starch with dinner, and if baked with small amounts of oil, make scrumptious homemade fries. You can also prepare mashed sweet potatoes: Bake them, remove skins and mash with a bit of skim milk and reduced-fat margarine spread and season with a dash of salt and ground black pepper.

* Spinach

Spinach provides four eye-protecting ingredients! It comes packaged with vitamin C, beta carotene and large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin …a matched pair of antioxidants found in high concentrations in the tissue of the macula. Because they absorb 40 to 90 percent of blue light intensity, these nutrients act like sunscreen for your eyes. Studies have shown that eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can increase the pigment density in the macula — and greater pigment density means better retina protection, and a lower risk of macular degeneration.

Spinach is an obvious side vegetable with dinner. It is also a great base for any kind of salad, and it’s scrumptious sautéed an in an omelet. Try my low-cal spinach artichoke dip (bonus: Use carrots and pepper sticks for dipping!). See recipe for spinach artichoke dip with crudite below.

* Wild salmon and sardines

Omega-3 fats even help your eyes! Studies have shown that regularly eating foods rich in omega-3 fats can help protect tiny blood vessels buried within the eyes. Wild salmon and sardines are among your best sources — aim for two to three 4-ounce portions each week.