Do these four things every day for your mental health

Create time in your daily schedule for these core human needs. Be there for yourself first so you can be there for others in your life.

You can apply these to your life right now.

Whether you’re in generally good health or struggling with chronic physical or psychological conditions, we believe that every person needs these four things, every day!

1. Move.

Our bodies need to move. They need to stretch, reach, twist, bend, step, perspire, to whatever degree works for us as individuals.

Our bodies don’t care if it’s at the gym, out in the neighbourhood, or in your living room—they just need activity. It’s not just about staying in shape. It’s about your immune health and your mental health, as well! So if it’s not already there, ass some movement into your day, at least 20 minutes per day! YouTube exercise videos range from three-minute workouts to more than an hour, and many of them are family-friendly, too.

We can’t recommend building movement into your day, highly enough.

2. Nourish.

You might have a sense of what foods make you feel lively, focused, resourced, and sane, right? And there are certainly those that are just for fun (Mmmm, chocolate).

We suggest not banning or outlawing the small treats that bring you joy, rather setting up a daily structure that (mostly) fills you with nourishing, healthy foods.

Always wanted to make a dietary change, learn to meal prep, teach your kids to cook, or sample a new cuisine? Now’s the time! Try to structure one or two 30-minute chunks of cooking into your days.

3. Connect.

This one, more than ever, is key. Humans need to feel connected. We need to feel seen, heard, and understood by another human—and to extend the same in return. And since it won’t ‘just happen’ throughout your day, you’re going to need to schedule it. More to the point, you’ll need to ask for it. To get vulnerable enough to say, “I really want to connect with you. Can we talk?”

Tell the truth about how you’re feeling, what you’re experiencing. Invite them to do the same. Listen with kindness. Offer your support with generosity. High-quality human attention may feel like a scarce resource right now, but you can generate an infinite supply of it.

Right now is a wonderful opportunity to make those calls (phone, not video!) you’ve perhaps been putting off due to constantly being ‘too busy’.

4. Be.

Amid all the ‘doing’—the preparing, protecting, adjusting, coping, responding, providing, procuring—humans need moments to simply BE.

It’s not necessarily about serenity or warm fuzzy feelings. It’s about pausing long enough to let your nervous system come back to baseline after prolonged activation. Experiment with what works for you.

If meditation or guided relaxation works for you, great! If watching a crappy TV show while snuggled on the couch helps you to just BE, that’s good, too. And if painful emotions get too loud or overwhelming when you try to slow down, that’s OK, too.

Try to ‘make friends’ with just being. Let your feelings, thoughts and emotions simply rise and speak to them. Yes, I’m serious.

Tell them they’re ok, because they are a part of who you are, and you’re going to get through this. Tell them sometimes you’ll need their help and sometimes you won’t.

In short, this is an opportunity to get really intentional.

To choose rather than to drift. In the absence of what normally dictates our days, we are called on to create the structures that will support our health, physically and emotionally, in a time of profound uncertainty.

Try out weaving Move, Nourish, Connect, and Be time into your days, and let us know how it goes for you!

Article by Elizabeth Markle, Ph.D. co-founder of Open Source Wellness.

Edited by Seated Massage.