Your body and mind are interconnected. One can’t exist without the other, and if you neglect either your body or mind, the other will also be affected. It’s really important to take care of your mental and emotional health when you’re on a weight loss journey - not only to help you achieve your physical goals - but also to protect you from mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
There’s plenty of evidence that has shown that a healthy state of mind reduces your risk of disease and promotes longevity, but research tells us that mental health conditions are on the rise, having increased 13% worldwide in the last decade.
So why is it the case that more people are struggling with poor mental health, and what can we do to improve our mental and emotional wellbeing?
Take note of how you’re feeling
Very few of us take the time to check in with ourselves and to see how we’re feeling day-to-day. When it comes to our physical health, we will often go to the doctor for check-ups and be very aware of any niggles in our bodies.
However, with our mental health, very few of us take the time daily to ask ourselves how we are feeling, what we have been thinking about, and to evaluate what steps we can take to optimise how we’re feeling. If we don’t take this time to evaluate how we’re feeling and what we’re thinking day-to-day, our mental health can deteriorate over time without us taking steps to prevent this.
Connect with others
The development of modern technology as a way to communicate has brought us amazing benefits, and we can easily get in touch with anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time. The downside of this is that as a society we have normalised the use of social media as a replacement for real connection with others - and social isolation is a proven risk factor for mental illness.
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 intensified this, and many of us now carry out our daily work, errands, and socialising from home - but this does not replace the intimacy of real-life interaction. To make matters worse, we spend more and more time on technology indoors and less time out in nature, which has proven physical and psychological health benefits.
Take time to check in with yourself
With our increasingly busy and hectic lifestyles, we can often forget to carve out time for ourselves, particularly to focus on something we really enjoy. ‘Flow activities’ describe activities that allow you to fully immerse yourself in whatever you are doing and to feel fully present in the moment. There are proven mental health benefits to finding yourself in this state: feeling like you have true purpose and enjoyment in your life is fundamental to your happiness and consequently your health.
The bottom line
The advice and action plan points we set out in the Numan Weight Loss Plan offer some simple ideas and techniques to help you to look after your emotional health and get into a positive mindset. This, of course, is supported by the other areas of healthy lifestyle changes - if you improve your sleep, diet, and keep active, this will also positively impact your mental wellbeing.
If you can try to find ways to help you relax this will help reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and negativity. Remember though, this does not replace seeking professional help if you feel you are experiencing a significant mental health problem. If this is the case, you need to make sure you see your GP for additional support.