I will be talking about 4 hormones that are extremely important for your mental health.
Serotonin is often called the happy or “feel-good” hormone because it contributes to well-being and feelings of happiness.
This is another “feel-good” hormone, interacting with the pleasure and reward center of the brain.
Another important hormone is Melatonin, the sleep hormone. The production and release of melatonin in the brain is connected to the time of day, increasing at night when it' is dark and decreasing in the day when it's light.
And finally, Endorphins.
Endorphins are often described as the body’s natural pain killer which interact with the receptors in your brain, reducing your perception of pain. They can also help bring about feelings of euphoria and general well-being.
I have 5 suggestions of things you can use or do to keep your hormones well balanced to help maintain a healthy brain while under lockdown:
Reducing (negative) Media Consumption
Sunlight cues special areas in the eyes which trigger the release of serotonin. In turn, it helps regulate our circadian rhythm through complex pathways which also include melatonin.
Sitting in your garden or on your patio for 5 to 15 minutes, getting sunlight on your arms, hands, and face, is enough to boost your vitamin D intake without leaving your home. You can do this 2 to 3 times a week.
Exercising isn’t just good for getting your body ready for carnival, but it also keeps your mind in shape because it releases endorphins from the brain to all the systems in your body.
Be mindful of the foods you consume. It’s very tempting to eat all the snacks in sight during quarantine but too much processed sugar can harm your brain chemistry. A diet rich in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and fish, can help combat symptoms and feelings of depression. It's not about instant pleasure but what makes you feel good in the long term.
Examples of food that are good for your mental health include 🥘
Fish, Chicken, Eggs, Nuts, Beans, and Cheese. These help with the production of dopamine, the pleasure and reward hormone.
Bananas and Yoghurt aid in the production of serotonin, the happiness hormone.
Endorphins, the natural pain killer that creates a sense of euphoria and well being, can be released by eating avocados, Olives, Coconut and Dark Chocolate.
Abusing drugs and alcohol is common to help cope in difficult times like a pandemic but can affect your mind in a major negative way; the higher the high the bigger the crash. And above all: don’t forget to drink lots of water!
Sleep allows our body to repair itself and our brain to consolidate our memories and process information. Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Reduce negative media consumption 🛑
Be mindful of your media consumption. It’s okay to want to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world but it's not healthy to consistently keep the news on. It also protects you from getting into keyboard fights online.
While binge-watching your favorite show kills time, you can make better use of that same time watching something that can contribute to developing a new skill or just becoming a better version of yourself.
However, too much screen time can also affect your mental health. The blue light from screens actually suppresses the release of melatonin which can lead to insomnia and reduce the quality of sleep.
Although it’s important to know how to protect ourselves from contracting the COVID-19 virus, a lot of people’s focus has been on strengthening the immune system and physical attributes of health. However, health includes both our body and our mind - we cannot neglect taking care of our mental well-being.
This material came from long hours of research from different sources, it has also been things I had to put into my own practice as well so I decided to share it with you.