My TEDx Glasgow Experience – The Male Identity Crisis

My TEDx Glasgow Experience – The Male Identity Crisis

It was a day full of anticipation, full of excitement and of the unknown.

When you hear about TED, your mind immediately gets drawn to all kinds of images, big crowds, the Madonna mic, the red circle, hard-hitting and inspiring talks. TEDx Glasgow had it all and it was such a joy and an honour to have been a part of it.

Speaking is one of those things that I have a strange connection with. I’ve always been a good communicator when academic performances were poor growing up, I was always able to communicate well with others. There is something about speaking in front of large groups that causes huge anxiety but also creates enormous excitement.

I suppose in some ways it’s like the person that does ultra marathons. We might think that it’s terrifying, anxiety-provoking and gut-wrenching, the person that does the ultra marathon would probably agree, but they are still going to sign up for the next one.

I feel similarly with regards to speaking, I love it, I love the buzz and the anticipation. If I’m honest, I love the idea of communicating expertise and knowledge to a group of willing ears.

This passion for speaking and my passion for mental health and especially men’s mental health drew me to TEDx Glasgow. With over 2,000 people in attendance, it’s one of the biggest TEDx platforms on earth.

It was a number of months of applying and going through different rounds of the application process, finally hearing that I had been accepted as a speaker a few months before the talk.

I was immediately assigned a coach who was incredible and who I met with each week. We discussed the topic of my talk, The Male Identity Crisis. We looked at the message I wanted to convey and how I would manage this in just 8 minutes.

This was unlike any talk I had ever given before. I had to do more than just communicate research and empirical findings, I had to illustrate my story and discuss why this topic was so important to me.

I was anxious about memorising my script. It was 8 minutes long and I had no idea how I was going to memorise all the words and sentences that my coach and I had so painstakingly gone through with a fine-tooth comb. My dyslexia means that its really difficult for me to absorb the written word at times. As a result, I decided to create some illustrations of my talk notes.

This has always been helpful for me, rather than memorising words, I could memorise the images and remember what words I needed to say when each image popped up in my mind.

You can check out those images below here:

Men’s mental health is not only the main focus of my research on my counselling psychology doctorate, but it is also my passion. The fact that 78% of all suicides are completed by men, that 84 men a week take their own lives and that only one-third of the population of people in therapy are men.

The statistics are staggering and for me, one of the biggest contributing factors to the epidemic of men’s mental health and suicide is male identity and how we view men.

The way that men are viewed in society today, with what I think ha an element of a predatory nature, is the biggest component of men’s mental illness and male suicide I feel. In many ways, men are now encouraged to be vulnerable, to talk about how they feel and to seek help. However, at the same time, men are still expected to adhere to stereotypical masculine norms like being autonomous, not showing emotion and never asking for help.

It’s this conflicting identity that I feel leads to this male identity crisis and ultimately to men’s mental illness and male suicide.

The day finally arrived and it brought with it everything I had come to stereotypically associate with TED events. Massive crowds, the TED logo everywhere, art and different types of performers. It was amazing and difficult to not get drawn into the anxiety that came with speaking on such a platform.

I was keen to be around people as much as possible, I’m not someone that finds massive benefit in isolated moments during such anxious times. I spoke to family members and friends and chatted to volunteers in the green room.

I checked out a couple of the talks from some of the other amazing speakers and got prepared by rehearsing my full talk with my coach.

Waiting backstage was, of course, nerve raking but I was excited to get going.

The most anxious moment was getting strapped up with the mic and standing at the side of the stage, ready to give my talk.

Walking to the red circle felt like it took 20 minutes but when I got there, I was able to look out and felt a sense of confidence that I could remember my talk and communicate it well.

I always find that once you face a fear and prepare well in advance, you gain a real sense of accomplishment and joy from overcoming something that was originally a barrier for you. That’s exactly how I felt with this.

Doing my GetPsyched videos was of course initially nerve raking, no one really likes being filmed initially. However, that eventually became routine. This was very very different.

In truth, I have to say I really enjoyed every second of giving my talk. The joy of this whole process, the months of preparing, rehearsing and amending my script all concluded with what was an awesome day.

Since then the opportunities for speaking and connecting with others have really grown, but I don’t want this blog post to be just about me. I want to give some advice and belief to people that want to undertake a TED talk but perhaps think it’s out of their reach.

So, here are some of my top tips for getting started:

  1. You absolutely are capable of doing it. TED talks might have a huge global status and platform but that doesn’t mean you can’t apply or speak. TED is looking for innovating and interesting ideas, we all have those. So my first piece of advice is to believe that this is an option for you.
  2. When thinking of an idea to talk about, it doesn’t have to be a “never before heard of” topic. It could be a topic that we all understand but given a different angle due to your subject appreciation. Think about a topic you love and how that topic might be appreciated different because of your own living experience.
  3. Apply! You could spend months building up the courage and constructing ideas, but you’ll get nowhere if you don’t send that application form!
  4. The important thing is not about how well you know the topic, or how smart you can sound. The key to any process with a TED talk is to discuss what it means to you. What is your story connected to your topic? How can people connect with the story through you?

I encourage anyone thinking about doing something like this to go for it. TEDx Glasgow is one of the most incredible events and one of the biggest honours of my life!

Yoga for Depression and Anxiety: 6 Poses to Boost Your Mood – by Emylee Modestino

Yoga for Depression and Anxiety: 6 Poses to Boost Your Mood – by Emylee Modestino

Here are various yoga acts that can work supernatural occurrences on your body and psyche. Out of many such stances, I have chosen the main three that are especially great yoga models for sorrow and nervousness.

The first, called the Sun Salutation, isn’t one stance very a grouping of twelve postures. As an issue of the guideline, you ought to dependably rest on your back for a couple of minutes and inhale tenderly to close your yoga session for psychological well-being each day.

Yoga for tension and sorrow should be possible once, twice or three times each day, contingent upon your time accessibility and your energy.

A session of yoga can last somewhere in the range of twenty minutes to 60 minutes; a typical session is thirty minutes. Forty-five minutes is generally ample time to do all the yoga stances for nervousness and wretchedness with the inclination and core interest. Postures of yoga ought not to be mixed up as just extending of the appendages.

Each pore of your reality converses with you in the event that you do them with the inclination and that is the means by which yoga for emotional wellness yields the best outcome.

Shoulder Stand  

You will be amazingly profited by the posture if experiencing tension, melancholy, or/and stress.  lie down on the floor and backing the back with your hands, and after that gradually pull your legs off the ground. Guarantee that the body is in a straight line while adjusting on your shoulders. Be in the posture for some time and unwind.

Plow Pose 

A stunning posture of yoga, Halasana quiets the cerebrum, lessens pressure, and calms the sensory system. Rest level on the tangle with arms and legs set unreservedly. Presently place the hands on your back for help, and after that lift your legs gradually off the knot. At that point, lift your hips and back off the ground setting the weight on the shoulders.

Keep on taking the legs over the head and hold for 10-20 seconds. Standing Forward Bend)

Discharge pressure and worry with this astounding state of mind boosting yoga present. Uttanasana improves the working of the sensory system, quiets the brain and lessens nervousness.

You have to stand straight on the floor and afterwards twist the middle forward collapsing from the hip joint. Cut your hands down and put them alongside your feet and hold the posture for 20-30 seconds.

Balasana (Child’s Pose)  

Balasana is helpful, as it loosens up the whole existence and elevates the temperament in a flash. You have to stoop down keeping your feet together and after that, sit on your impact points setting the hips over them.

Breathe in and raise your arms overhead, breathe out, and twist the middle collapsing from the hip joint. Spot the belly in the middle of the thighs before you and remain in the posture for about two or three minutes.

Bumblebee Breathing 

It is called Bhramari pranayama. Bhramara implies a honey bee.

As the name says, in this breathing style, you make the murmuring sound of a honey bee. It has a close moment quieting impact on the psyche and is a decent blending to do nearby yoga for anxiety and melancholy

Envision a table with playing cards dispersed on it. They resemble a wreck. Further, envision sorting out those cards to shape a slick deck. You can tear a card.

However, you can’t split a separated a pack where it’s more grounded, sorted out, and bound together. The energies in your body are dispersed. There is a bungle between cell association, passionate powers, and mental energies; they are not adjusted.

Honey bee breathing alters those energies. The impact is moment and detectable for improved psychological wellness and decreased tension and despondency.

Alternate Breathing  

This is a kind of pranayama that is astounding for neurological and respiratory purging and detoxification and an extraordinary compliment to yoga for misery and nervousness. It shapes some portion of the sensory system cleaning (Nadi-shodhana) routine.

It is called Anuloma-Viloma in yogic writings. Anuloma implies a characteristic request, and Viloma means turn around the request. Maintenance of breath (kumbhaka) is a significant part of pranayama for wretchedness and tension.

Such taking in its most genuine sense is suggested for the individuals who have aced the physical stance and eat just a sattvic diet and are finished, nondrinkers. Also, it is an arranged movement.

In this way, my solid proposal is that you don’t hold your breath for any longer than a couple of moments (somewhere in the range of five and ten and no more).

There is a significant motivation to pay attention to this. When you practice interchange breathing without picking up the security of stance and without controlling your eating routine, you run the hazard for pushing the poisons through your sensory system to all pieces of the body.

This can prompt neurological disarranges, the arrangement of tumors, pimples, and loss of memory. If you practice it without delayed maintenance of breath, in any case, you gain the best advantage of pranayama and yoga for dejection and tension. You decontaminate and rinse your sensory system and lift the balancing out energies and powers in and around you. I

n case you have been rehearsing yoga for quite a while (at least two years), and you are on a sattvic diet, you can repeat maintenance for a longer time. Regardless, could you not do it past what you are OK with? No yogic exercise should make you look red in the face, amid or after. They should be easy.

Author Bio:

Emylee is a health & wellness writer, who firmly believes in the age-old remedies and holistic medicine as a primary cure for several diseases. You can read further articles and find out more about natural remedies by visiting https://www.howtocure.com/

Protecting Your Mental Health After A Serious Injury

Protecting Your Mental Health After A Serious Injury

It’s normal to be affected by stress, anxiety, depression or another kind of mental health issue after an injury.

The trouble is that too many people are worried about talking about it and are, as a result, missing out on the treatment they are entitled to.

As a medical broadcaster and experienced GP, I’ve helped a great deal of people get their lives back on track after a serious accident and encountered so many fantastic healthcare professionals along the way.

We aim to provide the most useful advice for recovering from an injury both physically and mentally and I would like to share some of our best practices with you here – here’s what you can do to help your mind during the recovery process.

1.Ladder up on your goals

One of the most common practices for GPs to undertake with injured patients is to help them stagger their recovery process by laying out stage-by-stage goals for them to achieve.

If you injured your legs or your hip in a car accident, for instance, you might find it tough to move like you did before. Rather than trying to run before you can walk, it works really well to take your time.

Attempt 10m before you go for 100m; get your body slowly used to moving again and you’ll find it much easier to cope with the little wins in your mind.

Unachievable goals only result in demoralised minds.

2.Accept that it wasn’t your fault

When you’re suffering mentally after a physical accident that was someone else’s fault, it can be extremely difficult to not feel some level of guilt or fault for it yourself. This is especially the case when you have to take time off work and you struggle to provide for your family as a consequence.

As GPs here to help you in these cases, it’s our best practice to help you break the accident down to understand exactly what happened and whose fault it really was, so you don’t unnecessarily feel like you’re letting anyone down.

It often helps to imagine other scenarios in which someone was injured through no fault of their own and then relate it back to yours.

Mental health issues can feel all-encompassing sometimes, so it helps to consider someone else’s point of view whenever possible.

3.Reframe the experience

An accident can often leave you feeling worried or scared about certain situations, such as getting back into a car or onto a bike after an incident on the road. That’s entirely natural and nothing to be overly worried about.

One way to deal with those feelings is to make a list of the positives that can come out of such a scenario. Try to imagine the freedom that a car gives you in the long term as opposed to the initial worry you experienced during the incident.

It might also help to practise things like mindfulness techniques, such as yoga, meditation and even journal writing. They can help your mind through a difficult recovery period by allowing you to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.

4.Don’t be afraid to open up

Sometimes, talking about the way you’re feeling is the most important element of the recovery period.

It might feel like it’s easier to keep it to yourself – the feeling of being a ‘burden’ on others is a very common occurrence – but it actually makes it tougher in the long run.

Your mental health can go from bad to worse if you decide to keep your feelings to yourself, so I always encourage my patients to open up about what they are going through.

More often than not, the exercise of sharing the experience of an unexpected accident can help immensely – it can go from being an all-encompassing, overwhelming trauma to a shared appreciation and understanding of the actual effects of the accident.

No-fault injuries can cause immeasurable shock, concern and fear in an individual and their loved ones, which can severely impact on their sense of self and awareness of the real world around them.

By opening up about it, you can avoid falling into the trap of letting the accident and its effects consume you and ensure that you give yourself the best chance of looking after your mental health in the long term.

The lasting psychological effects of a physical injury

The impact of an accident that affects your mental health as well as your physical health can be even greater if you don’t get the help you need – and we see that all the time in our surgeries.

Whether it’s a case of someone not knowing that they can ask for help with their recovery or, worse still, being afraid to do so, it’s a worry for all concerned.

That’s why I always say it’s important to know that it really is OK to ask for help when you need it. This old-fashioned idea that, unless you can see an injury, it’s not worth talking about is completely old hat.

It’s very difficult to forget about those negative thoughts, but they’re there and, unless they’re addressed, they’ll linger. The physical injury and the mental health issues that come with it are somehow inextricably bound together.

We know that mental health has been stigmatised for so many years, but we are hearing people talking about the importance of our mental health in conversation more and more these days, which is brilliant.

With the right help, everyone can feel mentally strong and well after an accident. It’s their right to do so by seeking the help that is available from their GP, so nobody should feel like they are on their own in the aftermath of an accident.

This article by Dr Hilary Jones is part of the Make It Right campaign by National Accident Helpline, which is running in collaboration with Dr Hilary and five healthcare professionals to raise awareness of the unseen effects of physical, no-fault injuries.

The Dark Side Of Our Minds by Yadav Acharya

The Dark Side Of Our Minds by Yadav Acharya

Introduction

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and one of the very influential psychoanalysts of the 20th century. He was a student of Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis. While Jung and Freud were the firm believers of the unconscious mind, they had many ideas that went against each other.

Carl Jung devised his own version of the psychoanalysis, analytical psychology, for which he is considered the founder and the forerunner. Jung’s analytical psychology expanded the field of the human unconscious through the integration of religion, evolution, symbolism, archetypes, anthropology, and philosophy with the psychiatry and psychoanalysis.

While Freud was limited to sexual instincts and fear of death (much later in his career) to explain the human nature and mental illness, Jung did a great job seeing the whole picture or at least didn’t oversimplify while seeking the truth.

What is more impressive about Jung was he divided unconscious into the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious and delineated each with eclectic sources and paradigms. It is very hard to do that because the unconscious mind doesn’t manifest itself as obvious as a conscious mind, and most of what comprises the unconscious mind is hidden into the darkness of mental faculty.

The Unconscious Mind

As hidden as it is, the impact of the unconscious mind in the lives of human beings, especially while we are talking about the mental, social, and existential wellness, is huge and very mysterious.

Many people who consider the visible and observable evidence as the only reliable source of enquiry, according to Jung, make a grave mistake of ignoring the source of truth and light. We learn to deal with darkness only through the enquiry of it, avoidance just keeps the possibility of discovery. In his book, Jung (1933) describes the nature of our investigation as follows:

“When we must deal with problems, we instinctively refuse to try the way that leads through darkness and obscurity. We wish to hear only of unequivocal results, and completely forget that these results can only be brought about when we have ventured into and emerged again from the darkness.

But to penetrate the darkness we must summon all the powers of enlightenment that consciousness can offer; as I have already said, we must even indulge in speculations.” (Jung, 1950, pg. 97)

This type of venture into the unconscious mind has been the heart of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. This was the important step because, in Jung’s view, the integration of shadow or evil aspect of our personality is made possible through such exploration into the darkness. Every individual searching for the wholeness of self has to confront the chaos within oneself.

This principle has been the essence of steps adopted by a highly successful rehabilitation organization called Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) which has an estimated membership of over two million. In an article by M. Addenbrooke (2017), the involvement of Carl Jung in the foundation of A.A. is mentioned and the steps that this organization implements to treat millions of alcoholics reside on the “Jung’s idea that alcoholism represents a misguided search for wholeness.”

The same article also mentions that the steps that made the treatments of all those possible “facilitate acceptance of and confrontation with shadow aspects of oneself as an essential element in recovery” (Addenbrooke, 2017).

Archetypes, Individuation, Healing, and Identity

Another important feature of the unconscious mind is that it acts as the storage-basket of personal and archetypal myths. In simple language, the myths are the untruthful or alternative perception of the reality based on the imagination, experiences, and emotions. The relation of personal myths and archetypal myths with the individuation process is highly stressed in analytical psychology.

In analytical psychology, the individuation process plays a vital role in the healing of patients who suffer from deeply rooted anxiety, fear, crisis, and depression. Whoever have developed the dysfunctional forms of personal myths, they assess the situations and most importantly the dangers around them in an ineffective manner.

If that happens, the appearance of anxiety, fear, and stress over irrelevant matters is inevitable: a person’s danger perception can predict his/her behaviour in the face of any hazard (Veschikova, 2014). An adaptive response to threat results in well-being while a dysfunctional one predicts the danger of psychological illness. So, the study of personal myths has some potential in the therapeutic journey of the patients suffering from fear, anxiety, crisis, and depression.

Similarly, the journey into the archetypal world of the unconscious mind and the manifestation of the personal unconscious is considered an important part of Jung’s analytical psychology. Through the investigation, an analyst connects the ego or the personal unconscious of the patient with a significant and most relevant archetype.

This way, after the investigation and effective interpretation of the archetype, the hidden personal complexes come into the consciousness of the patient’s mind. Once the identification is done, the room for changes expand. If one continues to be under the grip of the dysfunctional complexes, the healing process is delayed.

So, the patient knowing the actual cause of his complexes must sacrifice his/her identification with his ego/complexes and connect with his self. The development of self (i.e. individuation process) starts as soon as the patient loosens the grip with his/her dysfunctional complexes. Thus, the upwelling of the complex is very important for the therapeutic journey.

However, it is suggested that more than the dissolution of the complexes, the long-term healing requires the individual to be conscious of the complexes and identify themselves with “an aptitude to change” (Sullivan, 1996).

While talking about the myths that are prevalent in the unconscious of the individuals, it is also important to talk about family myths. A child’s development in the presence of the controlling and perfectionistic parents make the child identify himself with the archetypal influence of the family myth. Such type of myth, Jung describes, hampers the psychological development of the children as they tend to identify the situations and people outside their family with the childlike archetype.

This idea of the childlike principle of Jung in the psychological development of a child is a deviant from that of Freud’s who ascribed most of the developmental processes to Oedipal or Electra complexes. While Freud based his theory fully on sexual impulses, Jung realistically based his idea on parental control and the inability of the child to escape the childlike archetype (not being monistic about it), sometimes even though there is no presence of parents.

As a result of such tendency, some individuals are identified with features such as “the puer aeternus, with deficits in the ability to work, form stable adult relationships, and create a separate nuclear family”. Hence, the identification of such myths is very essential (Kradin, 2009). Such identification helps, as discussed above, in envisaging the possible attitudinal and behavioural changes. Some of such changes can be the development of personal mythologies.

Such myths help individuals navigate through life, especially through the life crisis. Everybody needs at least some degree of standard and meaning to which they can identify themselves with. How does that work anyway? Feinstein, Krippner, & Granger (1988) have summarized some of the principles that seem to govern the development of individual myths.

In the same paper, they also have evaluated some of the characteristics of “mythologies associated with higher levels of personality integration” (Krippner, & Granger, 1988).  After understanding these principles, their personality, and their needs, individuals can develop some personal myths themselves, with the assist of analytical psychologists.

Another way to find the meaning is through the use of imagination. Since the meaning is subjective to the individuals, anybody can linger into their imagination and fantasy that “touches the larger impersonal archetypal patterns” (Jean Knox, 1994). Thus, in the development of personal myths, the final call again goes to the exploration of a form of the unconscious mind which is the source of all the archetypes, the collective-unconscious.

The Scientific Value

Even though we have known some of the principles, theories, and claims of Jungian philosophies, we must also ponder on the practical effectiveness of the Jungian ideas on the unconscious mind and the archetypes in the real world and scientific community. Very early in this paper, we saw that the most popular organization in the world of rehabilitation, Alcoholics Anonymous have integrated the Jungian ideas of darkness and the shadow personality into their treatment methods.

This evidence that substantiates the effectiveness Jungian principles cannot be understated. Further, Roesler (2013) wrote an article in which he assessed several reports, research projects, and empirical studies on Jungian psychotherapies.

Several patients who went through the therapy process were able to show “significant improvements” against their problems along with the improvements in “level of personality structure and in everyday life conduct.”

Also, the study of several health insurance reports makes it evident that the patients who went through Jungian psychotherapy utilized fewer healthcare facilities than the average population. The analysands reported long term psychological well-being. Through his analysis of such documents and researches, Roesler went on to conclude that the Jungian psychotherapy now has empirical evidence to substantiate its effectiveness in the therapeutic process.

Not only for the healing process, Roesler’s (2013) narrative study of some life stories suggest that Jungian principles have significance also in the overall lives of people. His examination of 20 autobiographical stories has produced some interesting findings. All the 20 storytellers have integrated some archetypal patterns into their life stories.

Archetypal stories like hero story, tragic life, victims etc. were extracted from the lives of the participants of the study. Such archetypes help to form an identity, develop effective personal myths to deal with life/reality, as well as a guide through the crisis.

Conclusion

To cap it all, through many documented papers, it is evident that the Jungian notion of archetypes and the process of diving into the unconsciousness play a significant role in the individuation process.

The same process is initiated in many clinical practices of analytical psychology by encouraging patients to explore the darkness of the unconscious mind. In other words, healing requires going into the unknown territory, finding a way to control the monster, and also bringing the treasures (hidden in the dark world of the unconscious) that suits us.

Jung, through his eclectic reading, clinical experience with patients, and logical reasoning, explored the dark territory of unconscious mind very effectively and provided the anecdotes to the chaos. He felt the need to integrate the darkness into the personality, utilize it, and figure out the most functional way to bring order in our lives.

Also, thanks to Sigmund Freud, who came up with the concept of the unconscious mind.

References

Jung, C. G. (1950). Modern man in search of a soul. New York: Harcourt.

Sullivan, M. (1996) The analytic initiation: the effect of the archetype of initiation on the personal unconscious. Journal of Analytical Psychology.  41(4):509-527.

Veschikova, M. I. (2014). A Review of Studies of Danger Perception and Prospects of its Study in Clinical Psychology Development. Psychological Science & Education, 6(4), 169–181.

Kradin, R. (2009). The family myth: its deconstruction and replacement with a balanced humanized narrative. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 54(2), 217–232.

Jean Knox, R. (1994). Living Myth: Personal Meaning as a Way of Life (Book). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 39(2), 277.

Feinstein, D., Krippner, S., & Granger, D. (1988). Mythmaking and Human Development. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 28(3), 23.

Roesler, C. (2006). A narratological methodology for identifying archetypal story patterns in autobiographical narratives. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 51(4), 574–586.

Roesler, C. (2013). Evidence for the Effectiveness of Jungian Psychotherapy: A Review of Empirical Studies. Behavioral Sciences (2076-328X), 3(4), 562–575.

 

5 Nighttime Routines to improve Your Mental Health by Kay Carter

5 Nighttime Routines to improve Your Mental Health by Kay Carter

Whether you’re a busy parent, an aspiring professional, someone that struggles with insomnia, stress, anxiety, or maybe a combination of the three, sleep is an integral part of your mental and physical well-being.

Did you know that creating a nighttime routine can actually be more conducive to going to sleep and staying asleep each night?

Similar to creating a bedtime routine for your children, you can implement a bedtime schedule that will train your body to get better sleep and promote better mental health. Here are some beneficial nighttime routines to improve your mental health.

1. Take Note of What Your Eat and Drink Before Bed

It’s well-known that what we put into our bodies has a direct effect on how we feel throughout the day. The same can be said regarding what we eat and drink before bed and how it affects how we sleep.

Make sure that you avoid any type of caffeinated beverages and alcohol before bed. This may seem counterproductive—isn’t alcohol supposed to relax you?

Believe it or not, while alcohol is considered a depressant, alcohol consumed in large quantities can affect your melatonin levels and will prevent you from staying asleep at night.

You also want to make sure that you aren’t eating anything too heavy or sugary before bed. Try to eat your dinner at least three hours before you go to sleep and if you get hungry for a bedtime snack, try healthy foods that are low in carbs, such as carrot sticks and hummus, avocado, greek yoghurt, or apples.

2. Stick With the Schedule You Create (Even on Weekends)

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, having a consistent sleep schedule can set the body’s internal clock and produce quality, sound sleep.

Once you create a sleep schedule for yourself, make sure you stick to it as often as possible, even on the weekends. It may be tempting to go out during the weekends, stay up all night, and then sleep in the next day, but actions like that alter your circadian rhythm and end up making it harder for you to go to sleep at your regular time the next night.

There will always be exceptions to the norm, such as special events or going on vacations outside of your regular time zone, but as a rule of thumb, make sure your nighttime routine stays consistent every single night and try to avoid any distractions that may alter your routine. This includes watching television close to bedtime and even having your phone close to you.

Most phones now offer a nighttime mode that will remind you when it gets close to bedtime and will automatically put itself in “Do Not Disturb” mode to help make it easier to avoid distractions.

3. Plan Your Morning Ahead of Time

If you find yourself struggling to get to sleep each night and are constantly tossing and turning, stressing about the day ahead, consider taking a moment to plan your morning. Lay out what you will wear the next day, meal prep your lunch, and take a little bit of time to work through your morning schedule.

This will help you in two ways: the first is that you will find yourself more at ease, knowing you have taken active steps to get yourself ready for the next day. The second is if you find yourself thin on time in the mornings, having all your big items ready to go will shave off a lot of time you otherwise would be stressing about in the morning.

Additionally, try making your bed every morning. Adding this to your morning routine can actually have a positive effect on your mental health when you go to sleep each night. Having a nice crisp and neatly made bed is visually welcoming and helps your mind and body relax that much more, as opposed to diving into a mess of sheets.

4. Consider Your Surroundings

You want to make sure that your bedroom is conducive to getting the sleep you need and improving your mental health. While this isn’t something you will add into your routine or practice every night, you want to make sure this is implemented to make sure you are primed for sleep. According to House Method, having a bedroom that’s conducive to a restful night’s sleep can help improve mental health.

Think about how your room looks right now. Do you get a good night’s rest each night or could there be improvements? Make sure when it’s time for bed, your room is dark, cool, and quiet.

Remove all distractions from your room and ensure that rattling appliances or a loud ceiling fan are addressed and quieted. Turn your TV and phone off and shut off all lights before falling asleep.

The temperature of your home also can directly affect the quality of sleep you get. Typically, the best temperature for sleep is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but be sure to adjust according to your comfort level. While you may want to save money on your electric bill, bedtime is not the time to keep the AC at 80 degrees for the sake of saving money.

5. Implement Self-Care Into Your Routine

With a busy schedule, it may be hard to try and squeeze in self-care, but it’s essential to your mental health. As you get ready for bed and are trying to establish a nighttime routine, now is the perfect time to add self-care.

A great way to end the day is by using a gratuity journal to notate three things you are grateful for each day. Journaling helps calm the mind and can help keep life in perspective.

You can also use journaling to write notes about any last-minute thoughts that pop into your mind before you go to sleep, such as making sure you remember a dentist appointment or jotting down a quick note to grab milk when you go to the grocery store.

Other ways you can practice self-care is by taking this time to practice a guided meditation or a relaxing bedtime yoga session. You may even want to do something simpler, such as apply a relaxing face mask before you go to sleep.

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