Making a Better Today with Ty Leonard

Making a Better Today with Ty Leonard

This time of year can be difficult for a lot of us when it comes to health, physically and mentally. We recently discussed ways to detoxify after an indulgent Christmas to help on the physical side of things. But, what about mentally detoxing, nurturing and restoring? We partnered with Ty Leonard, founder of mental health organisation Better Today, to discuss the importance of taking back control of your health path, and the different ‘why’ that leads so many of us to a similar road of mental decline, anxiety, depression, panic… With that, we worked with Ty to bring to light our recommendations for working through the mental hit this season can have, and try to come out of it as mentally strong and healthy as possible.

Have a buddy system

Two in five of us have experienced a mental health issue at some point in life (or will have one before the age of 85), so there’s a high chance that someone else in your life will be going through something similar, or has worked through it in the past. Connect with people you feel close with and can trust, and organise a buddy system of support through this particularly mentally delicate time. This can be between two people, or you can create a network, but essentially you are formalising an agreement to be each other’s support call if things become too mentally heavy over the festive period. An honest conversation goes a long way when setting this up. If you know you are prone to dips in mental health let them know and give them some suggestions on what to do if you speak up or they notice. If you want people to be there for you, it helps to let them know what they might be there for you through. This could be to meet up, call each other or even a text. It’s an on-hand touch point of support that could make the difference between getting through something mentally stronger, or experiencing a mental health slump. Even if the latter still occurs, you can never underestimate the difference a caring phone call can have. 

Use the resources available to you

There are some incredible resources out there that help to normalise mental health issues, and help you work through declines as they come up. Some are government created and some are independently organised, it’s entirely up to your preferences as to which one you use. For the most part though, they have trained people ready for you to reach out and will have highly effective tools for working through mental health issues in the immediate and short term.


Connected 2 Care is a website designed to inform you of the available resources and services around you in the Newcastle and surrounding areas.  
If you live outside this area you cannot look past services like life-line who have been helping people for more than 5 decades.  
Last but not least, remember what has helped you in the past. 

If you have utilised people, services or even steps in the past it is always helpful to turn to familiar places in times of need. 

Take care of your nutritional needs as well as possible

Often our physical health impedes, alters or slows down our mental health. Whether that be because we are just feeling generally sluggish, fatigued or unmotivated, or if there’s an actual hormonal or chemical imbalance, the physical and mental are woven together to make up how we feel, holistically. You don’t need to add a perfect diet to your list of to-do stressors, but it’s important to listen to your body (what is it reacting to? How are you feeling emotionally and mentally after you eat certain things?), speak to a naturopath or nutritionist about the food choices that flare up negatively for you, and try to move toward eating mindfully. You can also offset nutritional gaps in your diet with high quality supplements.

If you are prone to dips in your mental health. Have a plan. Not a reaction. 
Many of us have struggled with mental health issues for years on end. There is no shame in it. Even Ty (founder of Better Today) can speak to this. 
The important part is understanding what to do when these feelings start popping up. 

Here are 3 simple daily tasks you can do to improve your mental state. 

Get your body moving - The increased heart rate pumps the brain with oxygen, aiding the release of endorphins and hormones like serotonin and dopamine, known as the “feel-good hormones”.

Practice gratitude - "Gratitude is the quality of being thankful for, ready to show appreciation for and returning kindness”. Gratitude journalling is the practice of thinking deeply about things you are grateful for, feeling that emotion and writing about it. 
The beautiful thing about it is you do not need a great deal in life to do this. The reason gratitude journalling is so effective ie because we are only capable of being in one emotional state at a time. So by focusing your mind on things you are grateful for, you actively choosing to be in a positive state. Try focusing on things like events, people, goals and hobbies instead of material items when you do this. 

Eat what you need before what you want - It’s commonly overlooked how important nutrition is for mental health. Before you binge on chocolates for two days straight, remember this, your brain relies on specific nutrition to remain healthy, hence the term “mental health”. 
When you eat right you assist your brain with producing chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. 
Try to make 80% of your foods whole foods that are nutritious and 20% of them soul foods, which are delicious. 

Here are 3 extra things you can try that also require very little effort with a big return on your investment of time. 

1. Spend time with positive uplifting people as much as possible.

2. Try an ice bath or cold shower for a big boost of endorphins in the morning.

3. Set goals for the new year and write them out. 

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