We live in an increasingly interconnected world that is rapidly changing. Here at The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL), we understand that while this era is exciting, it is also challenging. We stood by our code of behavior, The Melawati Way that encourages students to ‘Take care of yourself, Take care of others, and Take care of this place,’ including taking care of our mental health. What is mental health? Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being that affects how we think, feel, and act.
At ISKL, self-care month is celebrated each year during October, and our Elementary School (ES) Counselors, Chris Wright, Lynn Kogelmann, Emma Gedge, have provided our ISKL Community with the ten things that we can all practice every day for our mental health. These tips are universal; they are applicable for students managing homework to parents working day-to-day and everything else in between.
Express your gratitude
To start the list, our counselors recommend tracking three things you are grateful for every day. Pen them down in your journal or say them aloud as words of affirmation to yourself. The act of expressing gratitude is important for mental health as it makes our brain release neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which gives us that overall good feeling.
Kickstart your day with coffee or tea
Coffee lovers, rejoice! Did you know that starting the day with a cup of coffee or tea is said to lower rates of depression? If you can’t consume caffeine, an alternative is to drink some green tea for that all-good feel factor. Fancy a cuppa at a lovely cafe? This video might help!
Boost brainpower with chocolate
Did you know that treating yourself to a few pieces of dark chocolate can improve your alertness and mental skills? This is due to the combination of ingredients such as flavonoids, caffeine, and theobromine. So do go ahead and indulge in a small amount every couple of days!
Immerse yourself in nature
Research shows that being in nature can increase your energy levels, reduce depression, and boost overall well-being. You can start by setting aside 30 minutes of your day to take a stroll at a nearby park or go for a hike in the jungle.
Go off the grid
Why not go off the grid for one day? We could all do with a digital disconnect by leaving our smartphones at home, having fun with our family and friends in person. Going off the grid also gives you more time to recharge and connect with your inner self. It helps cultivate thoughtfulness and patience, which in turn tunes out unhelpful thoughts.
Have a dance party
Have you tried dancing around while doing your work? Not only will you get the job done, but dancing reduces our stress hormones, aka cortisol levels, and increases endorphins. Now get off from your chair and start busting out some moves to your favorite dance tunes! If you are looking for some groovy tracks, we recommend checking out this Spotify playlist!
Spend some time with a furry friend
Do you know that time spent with animals lowers your stress hormone level cortisol and boosts oxytocin, stimulating feelings of happiness? Research stated that interactions with animals could help decrease loneliness, increase happiness, calm anxiety, ease social discomfort, and reduce emotional pain.
Don’t forget to smile
If you feel stressed, do you know that smiling can help you feel calmer and lower your overall heart rate? So flash those pearly whites! Not only will it make you feel more confident, but it will help lift the mood of those around you as well.
Say thank you
While there’s so much rushing in life, you can still find time to be helpful and show gratitude. And one way of doing that is by writing someone a thank you note. Letting a person know that you appreciate them and are grateful for them increases your feelings of self-worth and happiness.
Get some sun
Set 15 minutes aside, put on some sunscreen, and get some sun! Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is essential for your body as it promotes numerous health benefits. Sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D, which is believed to be a mood elevator.
The past year has been a challenging time physically and emotionally for our students and parents, having to navigate through the process of online learning for an indefinite amount of time. As you consider how best to address your struggles, you may benefit a lot by finding ways to include these ten things in your daily routine.
Thank you Chris Wright, Lynn Kogelmann, and Emma Gedge, for sharing these fantastic mental health tips! Do lookout for more mental health tips coming your way. For more tips from our counselors. Do follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter to check out other ISKL news!