As we move out of a tumultuous 2020 and into 2021, there is certainly a lot to suggest this year will be better and brighter. As of the beginning of 2021, though, many of us are still feeling the pinch of lockdown and isolation, and the mental health pandemic the world is going through might end up being as impactful as the coronavirus pandemic.
If you are struggling with your mental health, you are not alone. We’re here to tell you that things will get better, and all the negativity you are feeling at the moment is temporary. You will smile and laugh with friends and loved ones again.
Although we cannot control what is happening in the world at large, there are still so many steps we can take to improve our own mental health and outlook. While healthy habits won’t end the pandemic, they can change how you feel about yourself and the world, and ultimately help you to cope better.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some ways you can improve your mental health during lockdown and beyond. Although the things covered here will be limited to what can be done during the lockdown, you will, of course, be able to continue using them in a post-lockdown world.
At the end, we’ll also discuss how incorporating CBD into your daily routine alongside these techniques can increase their effectiveness.
Don't switch off your phone, but change how you use it
One of the most common pieces of advice for those looking to improve their mental health or increase their sense of wellbeing is to reduce how much they use their phone. While there is plenty of evidence to suggest our increasing dependence on smartphones can be attributed towards a decline in mental health, especially in young people, smartphones have been a saving grace throughout the pandemic.
Smartphones have enabled us to keep in touch with the ones we love in ways that wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago. While phone calls and text messaging are a great way of keeping in touch, video calling and social apps only available via smartphones have revolutionised how we connect with each other online. Our smartphones have allowed us to speak, see, and play with our loved ones even if they are thousands of miles away.
Therefore, advising you to turn it off or go without it for a month is probably, well, not the best advice right now! What you can do, however, is be mindful of how you are using your phone.
Let’s face it, the vast majority of people who own a smartphone will have a social media app such as Facebook or Twitter installed, and now, more than ever, it’s far too easy to spend countless hours scrolling through these apps. As we scroll, we’re constantly reminded of all the bad that’s going on at the moment, and that’s really just the beginning of the negative effects social media can inflict on our mental health.
We do also believe that having designated times when your phone is out of reach and earshot is a good, healthy practice. Even when you’re not using your phone, a text message, social media alert or another notification can tear you away from whatever you are doing. After you’ve dealt with the notification, it’s then far too easy to check your other apps and, before you know it, half an hour has been sucked away by your phone.
Ultimately, what we’re saying is try and be a bit more mindful in the way you use your phone. After a session of using it, ask yourself what did I actually get out of that? If you answer that question honestly, you might find it easier to change your social media/smartphone habits.
And while we’re on the topic of mindfulness, that leads us nicely to the next section!
The term ‘mindfulness’ has gained quite a bit of popularity in recent years, even though the concept has been around since humankind began! At its core, mindfulness is the act of paying close attention to your thoughts and feelings as they occur, without trying to interpret them, judge them, or act upon them.
There are a lot of different ways we can practice mindfulness, whether that be through meditation or exercise such as yoga, running, or other sports.
Mindfulness can be an incredibly powerful practice as it allows us to rationalise the thoughts we are having and improve our emotional and physical reactions to events and situations that might otherwise cause us distress. This, in turn, can improve our overall mental health, especially when there is a lot going on outside of our immediate control.
There are tonnes of resources available out there to support you in your mindfulness practice, whether they be guided meditations, podcasts, books, or videos. To get you started, we’ve included some resources below to point you in the right direction:
- An introduction to mindfulness
- A list of the best books for practicing mindfulness
- Some of the best mindfulness apps
- Podcasts all about mindfulness and meditation
If you spend a bit of time each day really committing yourself to learning more about mindfulness and meditation, your whole outlook on life could change for the better!
We all know about the benefits that regular exercise can have on mental health. Naturally, we would always advise people to exercise at least twice a week, and this can be as much as a full blown work out or as little as a swift walk.
However, if you’re not up to exercising at the moment, going outside could still be invaluable for improving your mental health. Spending time outdoors, whether that be in your garden, a park, or a natural beauty spot, can work wonders for many people. It’s a way of attuning yourself to the natural world, which can have an incredibly calming effect and allows your mind to relax.
There is something so peaceful about sitting somewhere quiet and beautiful and listening to the birds chirping or a steam trickling.
Furthermore, there are lots of activities you can do outside, such as listening to music, audiobooks or podcasts, drawing, or simply taking in your surroundings. Use outdoor space to discover something new, or breathe life into one of your pre-existing hobbies.
So where does CBD come in?
Taking CBD on a daily basis can support healthy lifestyle changes due to the way our Endocannabinoid System (ECS) works. The ECS is the part of your body that is responsible for creating cannabinoids which help keep your body in balance. Cannabinoids work to prevent you becoming ill and achieve homeostasis.
And it’s this term, ‘homeostasis’, that can help reinforce the positive changes you make in your life and improve their effectiveness in increasing your mental health. Put simply, when your body is in homeostasis, it is able to properly adapt to the external stimuli of the outside world. In order for all living things to carry on living, they need to be able to adapt, both physically and mentally, to changes that occur.
When you are too cold, for example, you might put on an extra layer or switch on the heating. Your body lets you know you are too cold by causing a shiver. When you’re too cold, homeostasis is off balance, and thus warmth is needed to get the body back to the state of homeostasis.
So how does this tie in with our healthy habits?
As already discussed, CBD helps the body achieve homeostasis, which is when your body has everything it needs to adapt to a specific situation. Therefore, if you want to do more exercise, you’re going to need energy, which CBD can provide you with as it helps get your body to that homeostatic state necessary to exercise properly. If you want to relax and practice mindfulness, CBD can help your body reach the homeostatic state required for calm and relaxation.
In other words, evidence suggests that CBD can help your body respond to anything you want to do.
Of course, this is just the beginning of how CBD can change your life for the better. There’s a wealth of information around our website on how the power of CBD can help with chronic pain, anxiety and depression, insomnia, and much more.
We’d love you to try some of our CBD. At ProLife, we pride ourselves on offering some of the best CBD on the market, with absolutely no herbicides or additives. Grown under strict conditions in Colorado, USA, and lab tested for purity and quality, we don’t believe you’ll get more value for quality CBD anywhere else in the UK.