(1) Practice mindfulness
I'd never heard of mindfulness until I was introduced to it when dealing with a severe bout of anxiety and although it's not something I go to on a daily basis, I have witnessed just how effective it can be. Now before you scoff and scroll onto the next post on your blog feed like I would've done a few months ago, hear me out. Mindfulness is about bringing your mind back to the present moment by focusing on your breathing and your body, and it is supposed to help those with stress/anxiety/ any mental issues. If you'd like to give it a go, just to see how it works, I'd recommend downloading the app Headspace - it's offers paid content but there are 10 free 10-minute tracks to introduce you to the concept. This time last year I would have laughed at myself for suggesting this app, but if you give it a go you might find it to be a useful tool.

(2) Get enough sleep
Now this isn't a department that I need much help with, but when I do have trouble sleeping it is extremely evident how important a good night's kip is. I'm not here to give you 'twenty ways to fall to sleep in 5 seconds' copied straight from Google, but I will say what helps me nod off. Firstly, I can't give in and go to sleep too early. No matter how tired I am I pretty much always get a second wind between 11 pm and 3 am, so If I go to bed before 11pm, I will, without a doubt, wake up a few hours later and be up for an hour or so. The other thing that always helps me is to read. I know, groundbreaking right? Again, unless I practically fall into bed, I try to force myself to read at least a chapter before calling it a night. The difference it makes to my sleep is noticeable, so whenever I realise that I've got out of the habit of reading for some reason, I make sure to pick it back up again to help my sleep.

(3) Train your brain
When I was looking for a job and staying at home a lot of the time, I could literally feel my brain cells shrinking from lack of stimulation. Going from a full-time final year student to an unemployed graduate drifting through life definitely had a massive effect on the way my brain was working, and I couldn't stand the feeling that my intelligence was deteriorating before my very eyes. That's when I decided to look into finding a few apps to challenge myself and keep my mind working rather than letting it wander all day. One of the apps that I found the most useful was Peak, an overall mental performance game which tests and helps to strengthen areas like memory, language, reaction time, etc. As a language student, I also think that Duolingo has been a great help to keeping my mind active and sharp, especially as I don't always have time to practise anymore. Not only did these apps give me something to do every day, but I could definitely feel them working to restore what mental capability I felt I had lost in my unproductive eight months of unemployment. This, in turn, helped to boost my self-confidence and kept me from being so hard on myself, all of which has been essential for me when maintaining my mental health. Now that I'm back out in the real world working full-time, I like to use these apps during my morning commute to help me wake up and to give myself a productive start to the day.

What little things do you do to maintain a healthy life? Let me know!

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