Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Both require time and attention and can have a profound impact on your overall health.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at how to take care of your mental health.
How to Take Care of Your Mental Health
Mental health impacts all areas of our life.
Similarly, there are many areas of our life that have an impact on the quality of our mental health. Making a few changes to our daily routine and putting a bit of focused effort into adjusting our mindset can pay off in the form of an increased sense of wellbeing, more mental clarity, and more energy for taking on the adventures of the day.
Here’s how to take care of your mental health.
Create a Healthy Bedtime Routine
We start hearing about the benefits of good sleep from the time we are dragging ourselves out of bed to start our elementary school day.
When we are small, we usually have the benefit of having a parent or guardian direct us in what an adequate amount of sleep consists of.
Once we are grown and on our own, it can be tempting to skimp on the sleep in order to squeeze in a few more chores, finish up a bit of work from the office, or even have time to enjoy some recreation.
Whether you are someone who needs a full eight hours of sleep a night to function at your best or some other amount, it is important to engage in the rituals which will train your body to drift to sleep on command.
Work on creating a comfortable sleeping space that is free from mental distractions and full of any types of white noise, scents, or other sedating stimuli you have found to relax you. Whichever time you decide to crawl into bed, your body will take those familiar surroundings as a cue to get some shut-eye.
Treat Your Body Right
Though our mental health is an intangible, invisible, reality, our bodies are pretty concrete. Though extremely complex, the body tends to run similarly to any other machine. Just as your car wouldn’t run very well with no internal and external maintenance, our bodies need some attention in order to operate at top performance. Eating foods that are rich in nutrients that our brain and body need tend to provide a boost to our overall mood and increase our mental clarity. Treating our bodies to exercise to keep it fit and limber results in the release of pleasurable chemicals improves our sleep and tends to provide us with a healthy boost of self-esteem.
Practice Positive Self-Talk
While our bodies are similar to machines, our minds are similar to computers. And, like the computer programmers like to say, garbage in, garbage out. Allowing ourselves to think negatively for too long – whether it is about ourselves, others, or the world at large – can gradually take a toll on our mental health. Try disciplining yourself to add one positive observation, comment, or counterpoint to any negative thoughts that you are tempted to entertain throughout the day. With practice, this initial attempt at optimism can even become second nature.
Surround Yourself With Mentally Healthy People
We can often be our own worst enemy when it comes to sabotaging our mental wellbeing through negative self-talk. We can also be brought down by those around us who seem intent on viewing the glass as half empty. It is an observable phenomenon that we tend to attract others who are on a similar frequency as ourselves, which can mean that we end up with a circle of friends who are overly pessimistic. Along with training yourself in the art of positive thinking, make efforts to establish connections with others who are currently exemplifying the type of mental health that you would like to strive for.
Reward Yourself Regularly
Successful people know the importance of setting and reaching long-term goals. Even the most determined of us can be bogged down by the waiting period of the daily grind, resulting in a loss of positive mindset and temptation to throw in the towel. It is important for our mental health that we add short-term goals, as well. Reaching a goal not only prompts our brains to release feel-good chemicals, but can also provide a great excuse for rewarding ourselves with a little pampering.
Stress is one of the biggest enemies of our mental health. Much of our daily stress comes from the number of obligations and tasks that we are expected to complete. Learning to be more organized in the way that we go about satisfying these requirements means that we will be able to accomplish more but in less amount of time. More time in our day means that there is more time to devote to doing the types of things that nurture our mental health.
Seek Support Before It Gets Bad
When some people think of starting therapy, they still think of the Freudian approach of laying on the couch and talking about your mother. Therapy has evolved quite a bit since those times, and it is no longer something that is only reserved for those who struggle with severe symptoms. Finding a therapist to talk to during times of decision making, during temporary periods of stress, or just as means to get to know yourself a little bit better can help to improve your wellbeing and keep your forward life journey on track.
Take A Mental Health Day
In the United States, depression and other mental health conditions contribute to a notably high amount of missed days at work. Rather than waiting until the state of your mental health becomes so bad that you have to call off unexpectedly, try scheduling in some anticipated days of me-time. Many employers have progressed to the point of recognizing that mental health is just as important and physical health, and some even encourage taking a mental health day off here and there. Even if your employer doesn’t support the idea of your taking off for a wellness day, you typically have the right to keep your reasons for taking the day off to yourself.
Now that you know how to take care of your mental health, you can take the necessary steps to improve your health. Try one or two of the suggestions above and see how it makes you feel.
Develop a schedule that supports your mental health and be sure to prioritize your health. As with physical exercise, taking care of your mental health requires time and attention. Give yourself time and track your progress.