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7 everyday habits for mental health

In this article and infographic, we share seven simple ways to boost your mental health that you can use in your daily life. 

Research by Aetna International shows that expatriates are more vulnerable to mental health issues than those living in their home country. Taking time to support your own well-being is essential to preventing serious or long-term problems. There is plenty you can do as part of your everyday life to prevent or manage worry and stress and keep well.

Everyday habits for mental health

World Mental Health Day Everyday Habits for Better Mental Health Infographic

1. Laugh more 

  • Find an online comic or website that makes you laugh and bookmark it for easy access
  • Save your favourite memes or GIFs on your phone for when you’re out and about
  • Include laughter in your morning or evening routine – there doesn’t always need to be a reason for a chuckle
  • After a stressful day at work, opt for a sitcom as your evening TV session rather than the latest drama or horror
  • Keep a joke book or your favourite comedic novel by your bed or on your work desk.

2. Hang out more

  • When possible have face-to-face meetings, either in person or on video chat, rather than relying on email
  • Find an exercise class or an extracurricular course so you can make new friends
  • Set regular catch ups with your closest friends and family
  • Speak to the staff at shops and restaurants to get yourself in a more sociable mindset
  • Volunteer for a local charity that combats loneliness – you can be social while helping those most vulnerable in society like older people.

3. Be more grateful

  • Start a daily gratitude journal to reflect on the positive aspects of your day
  • Learn mindfulness techniques and take time to appreciate your body and being each day
  • Find a cause that means a lot to you – appreciate what privileges you have and exercise your power for good
  • Counter your negative thoughts by saying something positive out loud
  • Send your friends and family cards or text messages to say why you appreciate them.

4. Say “no” more

  • Assign priorities to your personal and professional to do lists so you can focus on the most pressing tasks only
  • Practice saying “no” in the mirror to increase your confidence
  • Set and stick to ‘out of hours’ times at work – turn off your notifications to reduce temptation
  • Take time management and/or delegation training at work
  • Write down your life goals and only say “yes” to requests that will help you achieve them.

5. Give back more

  • Volunteer in your local community
  • If you can’t dedicate time to volunteering, consider donating a small amount of your monthly salary to your favourite charity
  • Help your friends and family with small jobs like picking up groceries or hanging a picture
  • Donate unwanted food to a local food bank or homeless shelter
  • Plan a work charity event like a bake sale or sponsored run.

6. Keep learning

  • Ask colleagues questions about their work
  • Learn to cook or if you’re already a kitchen pro, find a cuisine you’ve never tried before
  • Find a new hobby such as painting, cycling or learning a language
  • Read more non-fiction to learn about the world
  • Attend a conference for work to stay up to date with the latest industry trends.

7. Get out there

  • Walk to work or if you work from home, take a stroll in the morning before sitting down at your desk
  • Use the weekends to explore nature around your town or city
  • Join a running or walking club
  • Buy some outdoor games to enjoy with your family in the garden or at a park
  • Suggest an outdoor work meeting to your team.

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