Health, Wellness, & Mental Hygiene Beyond Fitness & Nutrition

By: Erica Jade, MightyFIT Nutrition Coach and owner of Erica Jade Health

Mindset is everything when it comes to your overall health and wellness. It’s not enough to only focus on your fitness and nutrition. To become your very best, happiest, and healthiest self, you need to go beyond that and prioritize your COMPLETE holistic health and wellness journey by addressing your habits and routines and releasing any self-limiting beliefs that may be holding you back.
Mental hygiene is the practice of trying to maintain mental health through proactive behavior and treatment. Mental health is “one’s overall psychological well-being”, whereas hygiene refers to methods for preserving health. It’s what you do to keep your mind healthy, and it is necessary in today’s world. Without a strong mental hygiene practice, we can get sidetracked, interrupted, or led astray by many outside factors that we feel are out of our control and thrown off track from achieving our goals. By proactively creating a plan and routine that fosters good mental hygiene, we can boost our chances of success in all areas of life. Planning helps reduce stress and allows you to focus on what you can and want to focus on, one day at a time. It also helps you see what you should be blocking out of your day or avoiding. I always say, “Focus on what you can control. If it’s out of your control, let it go!”.
Here are a few mental hygiene techniques I highly recommend incorporating into your daily and/or weekly routines. For most of these (other than sleep and rest), you only need to do them a few minutes each day (5-15) to get the healthy benefits from a good mental health plan.
Being mindful is all about being present in what you are doing at the current moment. Our minds (and bodies) weren’t built to constantly be under stress and constantly “doing” something. There are certainly times when we need to think forward to plan or pull from past experience. However, the more we stay connected to the past or future, the more we miss out on the present. Instead of being caught up in fear, worry, regret, etc. (all emotions that stem from lack of presence), it is important to slow down and focus on what we are actually doing in the moment to thoroughly enjoy life. 
I practice mindfulness every day as often as I can, especially when I’m eating! To practice mindful eating:
1) Make an effort to slow down and consciously think about every bite, taking time to enjoy it.
2) Focus on what your food looks like, how it smells, and the texture in your mouth.
3) Savor every bite and chew thoroughly, avoid distractions like TV or social media.
This is just one simple mindfulness exercise that you can easily integrate into your current routine. This will also help with digestion and improve our ability to listen to our hunger cues. Our brain needs time to process that our stomach is getting full, sometimes up to 15 minutes from when you’re actually full. When we rush through meals, we often miss those hunger cues and risk overeating. 
Daily Meditation
Another great way to give your mind a break is to plan daily meditation into your mental hygiene routine. I recommend starting your day with a morning meditation, winding down with a guided sleep meditation before bed, and/or taking 5 minutes to meditate mid-day or whenever you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. Meditating is not about controlling your mind; it’s about not letting it control you. If you’ve never meditated before, try following these steps from
1) Take a seat or lay comfortably on your back.
2) Set a time limit.
3) Notice your body.
4) Feel your breath.
5) Notice when your mind has wandered.
6) Be kind to your wandering mind.
7) Close with kindness.
Learn more about meditation and its benefits on their blog, “How to Meditate.”
Daily Journaling
Journaling every day helps you focus inward to discover what may be limiting you, and it also helps you track your goals and progress. Writing can reveal what triggers you (both negatively and positively) and what emotions or self-limiting beliefs may be holding you back from reaching your full potential. Even only 5 minutes a day will help! I add this into my morning routine every day. If you’re struggling with figuring out how to start, try writing down 5 things you’re grateful for each morning and your top 3 tasks to complete for the day. It can be as simple as that!
Good Quality Sleep and Rest
Allowing your mind and body to rest through sleep (or taking breaks to rest when needed) will enable you to be fully charged and work at your best. Lack of sleep has been proven to increase cravings and poor eating habits, decrease mood, brain function, and memory, and impair recovery from workouts. For the best results, aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Looking for more help with your mental hygiene and guidance to create a healthy lifestyle that works for you? Contact me at Erica Jade Health! As a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I help clients achieve their goals using a full-picture approach that addresses mental hygiene, healthy habits, nutrition, fitness, relationships, self-limiting beliefs, and other lifestyle factors to create a customized health and wellness plan that works WITH you. I believe in getting to the root of problems to heal fully, rather than taking a bandaid or quick-fix approach. You are dynamic and unique. Your wellness plan should be too!Looking for healthy meal and nutrition planning support? Our MightyFIT Nutrition Program can help you. Reach out to any of our MightyFIT Nutrition Experts and Coaches so we can guide you in the right direction.