9 ways to take care of your mental health
In the recent decade, the stigmatization of mental health has decreased to some extent. As a result, more and more people are willing to discuss mental health and its care. Where previously such discussions took place in academic settings or close-knit circles only, now workplaces, schools, and media are shedding light on it. But even with so much talk about mental health, very few know how to follow up with these care tips and methods. There are many ways to improve your mental well-being, but not everyone has the budget to spend on a private yoga retreat in the mountains. This article discusses nine simple ways to take care of your mental health without putting too much burden on your pocket.
- Create a plan for mental fitness
Mental fitness corresponds to the time and effort you put into your mental health. Taking care of your mental health is one thing, but setting goals and actively working out, journaling, or committing to stay on track is striving for mental fitness. Though everyone should develop a mental fitness plan that helps them stay on track, certain mental health conditions require constant support and guidance. In that case, it is better to seek support groups like the Delphi Behavioral Health Group, where you can actively engage with healthcare practitioners and folks like you trying to stay on track. Support groups are built on the essence of the community so that you don’t feel lonely in your journey to attaining mental fitness.
Once you’re determined to take control of your mental health, draft a mental fitness plan. Start listing things you should do—one of them is exercising regularly. You don’t have to get a gym membership or do high-intensity weekly workouts with a strict diet plan. Walking 30-40 minutes daily or doing light stretches can enhance your mood. Even if you skip a day or can’t walk for more than 15 minutes, don’t fret too much. Working out for 20 minutes daily is better than not exercising for weeks or months.
- Eat a balanced diet
Next to working out is to nourish your body with food, not harmful junk. A research study from Harvard states that processed or refined food items harm the brain. Such foods are likely to produce stress and chronic inflammation. In addition, there is a strong correlation between mood disorders like depression and a sugar diet. So, include nutritious food in your diet, like fruits, vegetables, whole-wheat grains, etc. However, don’t deprive yourself of things you enjoy like pasta, cheeseburger, or sour jellies. As long as you consume everything in moderation, you’re good to go.
The human body is composed of 60% water – that’s self-explanatory why you should stay hydrated. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine states that women should consume 2.7 liters of water daily while men should consume 3.7 liters daily. Also, avoid highly caffeinated and carbonated drinks. Consuming excessive caffeine can make you feel less than thirty, and you’re likely to remain dehydrated. In addition, dehydration harms your brain’s functionality as it can cause inefficiency and symptoms of mood disorders like depression.
- Balanced Sleep
Try to incorporate a balanced sleep into your schedule and mental fitness plan. Staying up late for work or school isn’t good for your mental or physical health. Sitting in front of a computer working for hours past your bedtime can cause eye strain, back problems, and an increased likelihood of mood disorders. If you struggle to sleep on time, put aside your phone an hour before bed. Blue light from computers and phones inhibits melatonin production, which is necessary to make you fall asleep. A couple of hours before bedtime, turn on nightlight mode on your phone to help you prepare for sleep. Ensure your room’s temperature isn’t too cold or too warm, or else you’ll find it difficult to relax. Finally, eliminate distractions from your bedroom or bedside table so you can have a good night’s rest.
Along with sleeping on time, having a balanced diet, and working out regularly, try to practice mindfulness daily. Mindfulness is being mindfully aware and conscious of your surroundings and yourself. It is a mental state achievable through various activities like journaling, meditation, and yoga. 9 ways to take care of your mental health
Though journaling can help with mental fitness, reflective journaling helps look deep inside. Reflective journaling involves writing down, or typing out (whatever floats your boat), anecdotes reflecting on your past behavior, actions and thoughts. Then, you can either use journaling prompts or start writing about whatever you want to reflect on. Reflective journaling is a great way of coaching yourself and your thoughts when you don’t feel like coming to terms with them or don’t have anyone to discuss them with. They are also great at returning to the journal entries to reinforce past lessons.
- Schedule time for relaxing activities
As you embark on your mental fitness journey, look for relaxation activities that brought you joy during childhood. Reading books, humming to music, playing an instrument, creating art, or anything that makes you feel happy and grounded can be a good form of stress release. Plenty of stores sell coloring books for adults, or you can use one of their paint-by-numbers sets for a relaxing paint session. You can also schedule time each day for breath work. It can be a five-minute simple breathing exercise or a more intense breathwork session. As you inhale and exhale, focus on your breathing and nothing else. Even if done for a few minutes, breathing exercises can help relieve stress.
Set personal and professional goals
When creating a mental fitness plan, your personal and professional goals can make a difference. It’s also good to look forward to something you aim to achieve, like pitching to ten new clients weekly or taking your dog for a walk thrice a week. These goals don’t have to be an overarching outlook into the future but small things you look forward to conquering. You would also notice optimism and a sense of relief from looking at your progress towards your goals. Also, planning everything, whether it corresponds to your personal or work life, helps tackle the stress of over-committing and over-promising.
Mental health care differs for everyone, so you should devise a mental fitness plan. What works for someone else might not work for you. For instance, many folks find it challenging to journal or process their thoughts through writing. They are better off discussing it with a friend or therapist. It doesn’t imply that journaling doesn’t work; you can still give it a try and see what works for you. Ultimately, what matters is how much effort you put into understanding your emotional and mental well-being.
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9 ways to take care of your mental health