Taking steps to improve your health doesn't only mean eating better and exercising more. It's also important to be kind to yourself.
Unfortunately, we often forget to factor looking after our mental wellbeing into our plans to lead healthier lives.
But when we do, we can notice a big difference. Strong mental health can also mean better physical health - it can be easier to eat well and move more if your head is in the right place.
And who doesn't want to feel less stressed and overwhelmed by every day life? Adopting a few simple habits can really pay off, and it doesn't have to be a big deal.
AIA New Zealand recognises the vital role that good mental health plays in our overall wellbeing. We've got together to provide ideas on how to make some positive changes to your everyday routine.
DID YOU KNOW?
80% of New Zealanders over the age of 15 have experienced mental illness themselves or know somebody who has, according to Health Promotion Agency report 2016.
FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL WELLBEING
TAKE A MOMENT
Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to practise a relaxation technique like meditation every day. It doesn't have to be complicated - simply find a quiet place, close your eyes and focus on clearing your mind for just a few minutes.
MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY
Decide on a realistic bedtime and stick to it. Even half an hour more sleep a night will improve your concentration.Try to avoid screen time for an hour before bed - the light they emit disrupts your circadian rhythms.
FIND A CREATIVE OUTLET
Write a poem, paint a canvas, upcycle some furniture or experiment with a new twist on an old recipe. There's a strong link between creative expression and overall wellbeing.
ALLOW TIME FOR FUN ACTIVITIES
Sticking to the same routine week after week can be tedious and steal your joy. Give yourself something to look forward to by scheduling an enjoyable outing at least once a month, if not every week.
Focus on boosting your mental health
1. Start a journal - it can give you a greater sense of overall emotional wellbeing
2. Treat yourself. Read a magazine, listen to a podcast or relax in a scented bath
3. Stay connected. Plan regular catch-ups with friends - socialising helps release tension
4. Get active. Start by getting outside for a walk at least 15 minutes a day
This article was created in collaboration with Woman's Day