Lifestyle

How to make sure you’re getting your emotional ‘5 a day’


(Picture: Getty Images)

Autumn is always a season of shifting – the leaves change, the weather sharpens, and the days shorten. This year may be particularly jarring, as many of us grapple with the return of a regular office commute, too. But as we reach for our jackets and the nights draw in, there’s more we can do to get through the darker months than stocking up on vitamin D and investing in a SAD lamp.

According to psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, who recently partnered with messaging app Messenger for World Mental Health Day, now is the time to add an ‘emotional 5-a-day’ into your self-care routine.

Dr Papadopoulos says: ‘Beyond a nutritional 5-a-day, there are 5 key principles you should consider adopting to nourish your emotional wellbeing. Introducing these to your self-care routine can help you respond more effectively to life’s challenges and ensure that you have the resilience to move forward with positivity, confidence, and a sense of overall wellbeing.’

How to get your emotional 5-a-day

Connection

‘Each and every day, it’s important to meaningfully connect with someone. It doesn’t have to be a 3-hour heart-to-heart conversation or a deep philosophical discussion. Sometimes all you need is a ‘good morning’ direct message or a funny GIF, a meme from a friend or a quick call with your family.

‘When you can, take time to nourish your close relationships by doing things together, whether in person or online. But always remember to set healthy boundaries that give you time and space you need to practise active self-care.’

(Picture: Getty Images)

Accomplishment

‘Doing something well or doing something you are good at each day gives you a rich feeling of accomplishment. This could be something that’s part of your job, a hobby or perhaps the crossing off of a task on your to-do list, like spring cleaning your flat, dropping a direct message to an old friend, or deftly handling a personal hurdle.

‘Mastering something each day, even if only a small task, offers an important sense of fulfilment as your head hits the pillow at night.’

Gratitude

‘Much has been written about the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal. But even if you don’t go to the extent of writing down each day what you’re thankful for, remembering to incorporate gratitude into your daily routine can do a tremendous amount for your own personal happiness.

‘Reminding yourself of what you are thankful for is always a good thing. It resets the framework in which you see your life and the lives of those around you. And if journalling is simply not your cup of tea, consider sharing your gratitude with someone, whether over a quick call or a simple note.’

(Picture: Getty Images)

Reflection

‘If something made you feel bad, reflect on why. Be mindful that negative thought patterns might make you jump to unreasonable conclusions. This is amplified when we are trying to interpret other people’s behaviour. For example, if you messaged someone and they ignored you, you might instantly assume they are angry at you. Try to look at the situation objectively. It could be that they are busy or perhaps they’ve muted their direct messages as part of their own self-care routine.

‘Looking to carve out time for your own personal reflection time? Consider switching off your Active Status on Messenger so when people message you, you won’t feel pressured to respond because they’re aware you’re online.’

Purpose

‘The saying goes, “if you can find your why, you can find your how”. What is the purpose of what you do? What is the purpose of your actions and your day? Figure out what you want your life to stand for, to be about and you will find yourself grounded through even the stormiest of seasons.’

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Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


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