Good health is not only about looking after your body, it’s a holistic approach that includes the wellbeing of your mind and soul too.
Here are some of our favourite tips to nurture your mind and soul.
Unless you’re an enthusiastic gardener, keeping a few houseplants – whether in the office or at home – can bring loads of joy. Especially if you live in an apartment, houseplants are often the nearest thing you’ll get to nature and can instantly improve your mood. The bonus, according to NASA, is that most indoor plants also help to purify the air in your space while adding colour and warmth.
Less screen time
Studies have shown that even moderate lengths of time spent on digital devices can have a negative impact on everything from mental health to self image. As much as there are benefits, like learning or easy access to information, these devices “can interfere with everything from sleep to creativity,” according to a Harvard Medical School study.
Other research attribute obesity, irregular sleep, behavioural problems and impaired social skills to too much time in front of screens. Think about how much you enjoy and savour your meals while watching television – yes, it’s called mindless eating. Try creating screen-free times and focus on other activities, like the ones listed in this article!
Strong social ties
One commitment I made to myself this year is to stop texting “yeah, let’s meet soon”. I admit this does not inspire any intention, however, when one says, “let’s catch up soon, how is next week?” you’re acting with purpose and intention. Better still, pick up a phone, call your loved ones and have a chat. Strong social ties boost our immune system and increase longevity. We sometimes get so busy that we don’t reach out, but then risk loneliness and feeling overwhelmed by one’s burdens.
Spend time in nature
There are more and more voices advocating for “nature as medicine” or nature therapy, and some go as far as saying that nature has a solution for almost everything. Although that may be taking it a bit far, start by spending time in nature for healing. Take a walk, visit a park – the city of Johannesburg has spent lots of time and money beautifying its public parks, for example – or just sit on a park bench with your thoughts. In countries like Japan, “forest bathing” is becoming popular for its health benefits.
Reports suggest that time spent in natural or green spaces reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress and high blood pressure. Practise walking barefoot when outside to connect with the earth – also known as earthing.
Keep a journal
Without making it an everyday obligation, keeping a journal is a great way to reflect on your day, an event, your mood, relationship, habits or things you’re grateful for. This can be done in the morning or in the evening, whenever you have a nice stretch of time for you and you alone; for your thoughts and honesty. Journaling also helps identify patterns thereby bringing insight and progress to life, raising one’s focus and encouraging creativity. Expressive writing is now becoming a kind of therapy for treating certain mental ailments and is very nurturing for mind and soul. So go on – give it a try!