When caring for your mental health, sometimes the smallest changes can have the biggest impact.
Mental health is not like a marathon; there’s no finish line and no amount of steps to take until you get a trophy or a blue ribbon. There is no destination at all. Instead, our mental wellbeing gradually shifts and changes as we go through life, which means we can always be improving it.
Making a few small lifestyle changes, such as exercising more, meditating, and cutting out negative habits, can help to alleviate a number of symptoms related to mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Here are 5 simple habits to incorporate into your daily routine that will have a positive impact on your mental wellness.
1. Make Sleep a Priority
A lack of sleep disrupts hormones, interferes with brain cells and affects our thought, mood and energy. If you have trouble falling asleep, make sure to turn off electronics an hour before bed and create a calming atmosphere. Reading, writing in a journal, and meditating are all great ways to prep your mind and body for sleep.
2. Keep Friends Close
You may be caught up in the day-to-day chaos and realize you haven’t spoken with friends in weeks or months. It’s important for our well-being to have strong relationships. They help us cope when times are hard, give us opportunities to talk, laugh, and have fun! Schedule a night out with friends or check in by calling or emailing at least once a week.
3. Practice Presence
Stress can force us into overdrive and leave us feeling disconnected. Practice being in the moment and connect with how you’re feeling, thinking, and make adjustments when needed. If you notice a lot of negative self-talk, take steps to change it. Try meditating, think of something you're grateful for, or just find a few minutes to focus on your breathing. It can be challenging at first, but the more you practice being present the easier it becomes.
4. Get Moving
Exercise is tied to improved memory, emotional regulation, and learning. Think of how recalling stored information, learning new skills, and managing your emotions affect your day. Get out for a quick jog, play basketball with friends, or simply do jumping jacks, push-ups, and squats in your living room. You’ll be amazed how much exercise can lift your mood and give you a boost of confidence.
5. Spend Time Outdoors
Nature, sunshine and fresh air are proven to lower stress levels and improve mental clarity. You can feel more relaxed and focused after just 10 minutes! Combine a few healthy habits by exercising outdoors, exploring hiking trails with friends, or even finding a quiet place outside to read or journal.
Our mental space is one we often neglect to spend time on but when we choose self-care, we thrive! Start today and you’ll be forming healthy habits for lifelong wellness.
If you are struggling to cope, or the symptoms of your stress or anxiety begin to interfere with your everyday life, it may be time to talk to a healthcare professional. Contact your doctor or your Employee Assistance Program if you need to speak with a health professional. If you are experiencing an immediate crisis, please get help.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
From The National Institute of Mental Health