This week, it is Mental Health Awareness Week. We are really passionate about looking after our mental health and although we are blessed to have such a positive and enthusiastic family here at BODA HQ, we have made it our mission to create this environment to ensure we always grow, love, move and win together. Of course, it’s not always easy and it does take a conscious effort to be positive and enthusiastic - especially when you don’t always feel that way.
Some people call mental health ‘emotional health’ or ‘well-being’ and it’s just as important as good physical health. Mental health is everyone’s business. We all have times when we feel down or stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass. But sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us.
To find out more about Mental Health Awareness week and the Mental Health Foundation please read here.
In light of this week, we wanted to share with you how we look after our mental health on a daily basis. We understand how important it is to have a happy and peaceful mind, and there are things you can do to help this. Not only to achieve the best out of life, but the best out of ourselves too. However, of course there are times when we feel down and not really like ourselves, and that’s ok. Everyone experiences down days.
As a team that evokes positive energy, we want to tell you, yes you, reading this right now, that there is a method behind looking after our mental health, and we want to share it with the world, in the hope that it can help. Let’s call it the BODA Blueprint to good vibes and a healthy mind. So let’s step away from the leathers for a hot minute and let’s focus on you.
Tip 1: Meditation
Team BODA takes part in a hosted group meditation class every two weeks, and we also meditate individually regularly too. We see this as a time to unwind as a team, and to collectively come together to not only rest and recover, but to discuss how we are all doing mentally, physically and emotionally. We’re lucky enough to have a professional talk us through our guided meditations, but don’t worry, there are hundreds of free guided meditation classes available online that you can get involved with too (click here to subscribe to Goodful’s YouTube Channel for meditation gold). We’ve also enjoyed taking part in Jay Shetty’s free IG live meditations through 2020, he’s a great one to follow if you’re not already!
Not only do you finish your session more relaxed and calm than you could ever imagine, but the mental clarity is one thing that stands out for all of us. Plus…it’s also a good excuse to get a midday nap without judgement.
Tip 2: Team Lunchtime Walks
Taking a step away from our work environment, or personal environment for a 30 minute walk is a fantastic way of clearing the mind and resetting. We love a trip out to our local food store during the middle of the day or at lunchtime, any excuse for a snack right? All of the family here can vouch for this being a great way to forget about the occasional stresses in the office and have a laugh, giggle, or a park workout (you’ll see from our images we’re a little better at designing jackets than we are working out!).
Being outside in the fresh air is really great for your health: fresh winds, birds chirping, sunshine (or rain), natural elements allow you to practice grounding techniques that allow you to focus on what’s around you to defer yourself from stress and anxieties. More specifically, walking in the great outdoors reduces stress within minutes of exposure to the elements. Brisk walks can improve muscle tension, blood pressure and brain activity, while spending time around nature significantly boosts your endorphin and dopamine levels which are the key hormones needed for happiness.
We understand that sometimes it's tough to find the time to get outside, especially when you work in a fast paced, busy environment. However, finding 30 minutes to do so will do wonders for your mental health and you’ll find, when you return to your desk you will be feeling refreshed and ready to go again. No 3pm lulls here! Really can’t step away from your desk? Walking meetings are also a great way to get out in the fresh air. You’d be surprised at how productive a 15 minute walk with a colleague can be.
Tip 3: Hydration and Healthy Eating
Hydration is one thing we are all very passionate about. Listen, we’ve all been prone to running solely on caffeine from time to time, but water is one of the best formulas to keep you fresh and focused.
Eating well is another thing that works in the exact same way. We have been told this from being a child - you are what you eat! The occasional naughty snack is always okay, and sometimes, a spot of comfort-eating can be just what we need. But, one thing we would say is, keep it all in moderation. A happy inside leads to a happy mind! Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, along with foods rich in Omega-3, such as salmon, sweet potatoes and soy products are the best meals to have. Dark green leaf vegetables are the most protective for the brain, while nuts, seeds and legumes such as beans and lentils are also excellent brain foods.
Meal preps are ideal for ensuring you’re getting a healthy lunch in the office. They can keep you on track with your fitness goals, meaning you are always prepared and satisfied. BODA meal plans coming soon!
Tip 4: Laughing Yoga
Laughing is the purest form of therapy there is. The joy that comes from it is universal, and is something we can never, ever, get bored of. We take part in the occasional session of Laughing Yoga… and yes, we know what you’re thinking - what’s that?!
Laughing Yoga is yoga with a twist. It begins with an instructor forcing you to make yourself laugh by making laughing sounds, such as shouting HA HA HA from the pit of your belly. As the session goes on, you continue to copy the instructor and act out the movements / repeat the sounds that they make. Whilst you are making these sounds yourself, yes you feel silly, but that quickly goes as you’ll soon find yourself in tears of laughter and there is no forcing happening. This activity is one of many that can be used to your advantage. Laughing yoga stimulates the release of happy endorphins and increased serotonin. It also improves your immune system, giving lowered levels of cortisol and epinephrine, which are the body’s stress hormones.
Frequent laughter can also be effective in increasing the body’s pain threshold, allowing chronic pain sufferers to attain a higher level of comfort. But overall, team laughing yoga brings people together and strengthens relationships while simultaneously making us more focused and productive when we return back to work.
The underlying theme of it all is just having fun with those around you. Find reasons to smile, and to laugh and the other benefits will follow. Don’t wait for it to find you!
Tip 5: Sunflower Growth
Recently, the BODA team were all given sunflower seeds to take home and plant. This may seem simple, or insignificant in a way, but the idea of nurturing for a natural form of life is surprisingly therapeutic. Look after your flower, watch it grow, watch it blossom. The circle of life is fascinating and seeing it in one of its most purest forms allows you to appreciate the little things on a daily basis.
Having fresh flowers in your home is reported to reduce stress, boost your mood, bolster relationships, improve memory, help you sleep and help you physically recover - so there really is no reason to not welcome a blossoming sunflower into your home.
We hope that this has been useful and that you get a chance to try them for yourself - even if it’s only one. Mental Health is important. Please remember to look after your mind, speak to someone if you’re not feeling ok, check in on your friends regularly (even your ‘strong’ friends) and also remember that you’re not meant to be feeling 100% all of the time. It is OK not to be OK.
Your mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It can change as circumstances change and as you move through different stages of your life.
There’s a stigma attached to mental health problems. This means that people feel uncomfortable about them and don’t talk about them much. Many people don’t even feel comfortable talking about their feelings. But it’s healthy to know and say how you’re feeling. Speaking to someone you trust is often the first step of recovery.
There are many incredible charities, such as MIND, who have teams devoted to ensuring that no one has to face a mental health problem alone. Whether you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is - there is support available, you’re not alone.
Lots of love,
Team BODA x