5 essential hacks to take care of your mental health, according to an expert.

Chelsea Pottenger knows how to look after mental health, well.

Having experienced severe postnatal depression following the birth of her first child Clara, Chelsea went from a high-flying corporate job to hitting her lowest point (you can read all about her story here).

It made her re-evaluate her life.

The now 41-year-old went back to university to study psychology and is the founder and director of EQ Minds - where she works with businesses and professionals to take care of their mental wellbeing.

Chelsea works with some of the biggest brands in the world, like eBay and Google, to teach their employees how to take charge of their mental wellbeing.

Here are five essential hacks she suggests everyone incorporates into their daily lives to better their mental health.

1. Don't look at your phone when you wake up.

Before you roll your eyes having heard that too many times before, Chelsea explains the science behind why this is so bloody important and what you should do in those first moments of your day instead.

"When you wake up your brain's pretty vulnerable to whatever you're looking at - a work email, the news or social media. When take [all this] in, it physically changes the way our brain looks," she said.

Instead, she suggests you lay in bed, and practice some gratitude.

Here are some ways you can do that:

  • Silently or audibly expressing your gratitude before getting out of bed.
  • Write little gratitude notes or keep a gratitude journal.
  • Post inspiring quotes around the house.
  • Do a guided gratitude meditation.

"It's one of the simplest tasks and it will change [your] lens looks of the entire world," she said.


2. Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand.

This tip blew our mind.

"From what I've read about [brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand] in research, it really helps you to be mindful," she said.

"When you [do it], it's just your brain thinking back at the task, not too far into the future."

"It's really engaged in [the task at hand]. We become happier, less irritable, and more focused."

3. Smash a tall glass of water before your first coffee.

Another tip you might roll your eyes at, but hold up! There's a good reason experts suggest you do it.


"Think about it, you haven't drunk water for the past eight hours you've been in bed, so [it] will flush out the toxins and hydrate the body," Chelsea said.

"The brain is 80 per cent water, so it's going to make you feel fantastic for the day."

Want your brain to operate at top functionality? Drink up.

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4. Protect your time.

Are you a people pleaser? Struggle to say no? This hack is for you.

"Protect your time by setting boundaries [and] learn how to say no," Chelsea said.

By doing this, you've got your own time, your own workload and you're protecting your mental health and your personal life.

"Then you've got your own time, your own workload and you're protecting your mental health and your family time."

Here are five phases you can use from Chelsea's book, The Mindful High Performer, to say 'no' respectfully:

  • "I appreciate the offer, but this is something I'm not ready for right now."
  • "Thanks for the opportunity, but I don't have the capacity to take it on at the moment."
  • "I can't right now but thank you for thinking of me."
  • "I care about you a lot, but I don't have the mental capacity to help you right now."
  • "I need to take some time to rest and recharge. Let's do it another time though."

5. Take regular breaks.

This last hack is another that makes sense on paper, but you probably haven't considered it this way before.

Every six weeks, Chelsea takes a week off the grid. No phones and time in nature, which allows her to properly switch off and recharge.

Of course that's not doable for everyone so instead, the mindfulness coach recommends booking in something every six weeks - whether that's a long walk in nature or road trip to a beach up the coast.


"Lock it in with your calendar so you know, plus, you'll get excited and look forward to it," Chelsea said.

"And if you come home and get post holidays blues, it doesn't matter, because you'll go again in six week's time."

Feature image: Instagram/@chelseapottengerofficial/Mamamia.

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