As we ring in the new year, we commonly resolve to take better care of ourselves physically. We want to lose 10 pounds, eat healthier, join a gym. Self-improvement is never a bad idea, and it’s important that we don’t overlook a crucial piece of our health awareness while we whip our bodies into shape – our minds. Mental health is easy to put on the back burner, but it’s critical to our well-being. Here are 8 easy steps to better mental health to get you going in the right direction.
1. Healthy Body, healthy mind! Research shows a direct correlation between a sound body and a sound mind, so make sure you are taking care of yourself. This includes getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding harmful substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and drugs and taking vitamins and supplements (such as vitamins B, C and D, Fish Oil, Magnesium and SAM-e). Click here to read more about natural supplements and depression and be sure to seek your health care providers advice before altering or starting any of these. The better you feel physically, the better you’ll feel mentally!
2. Catch your zzzz’s. And then catch some more! You can read more about the connection between sleep and depression here, but suffice it to say that sleep is of utmost importance to our mental state! There’s no magic number for how much sleep is enough – as this varies widely across ages and individual needs. If you suffer from regular bouts of insomnia or are often drowsy during the day, you may want to take stock of your sleep habits. Find tips for better sleep here!
3. Get up and go! There’s a clear correlation between exercise and mental health. Not only does structured exercise time help channel pent up energy, but it also releases endorphins – natural chemicals produced by your central nervous system commonly connected to euphoric highs. So find something that works for you and your lifestyle and get moving!
4. Get creative! Developing hobbies and interests are a surefire way to encourage mental health. Hobbies give us direction and purpose. They fill our minds with constructive energy and help us cope with emotions. Mental energy is just as important to channel as physical energy. Try something new or dig out your once loved pastimes. painting, dancing, writing, antiquing, gardening – the options are endless!
5. Find some support. Don’t do it all yourself! If you feel overwhelmed, stressed out or just down in the dumps, make sure you’ve got a support system in place. Everyone needs friendships, be they old, long-distance, new, family-friends or what have you. The size of the support system doesn’t matter, and the group will vary for each individual. The important thing is that there’s someone you can talk with, commiserate with, lend a helping hand and a listening ear or just give you a hug.
6. Give more. That’s right. Give more of yourself. Be a volunteer! Find a cause you love and dive in. Studies have found that volunteering leads to lower depression, increased well-being and a reduction in the risk of dying. Any activity is good for you because it gets you off the couch and out of the house for a change of scenery. Plus, volunteering provides needed social connections and helps us to feel happier as we focus on others and less on ourselves.
7. Find quiet. Everyone needs peace and tranquility in their life. If there aren’t obvious moments of peace in your ordinary day, you’ll have to manufacture some! Learn to quiet your mind, whether through meditation, mindfulness, or prayer. There are a lot of useful tips for attaining this on the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
8. Get help. Admitting you need some help with your mental health doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you’re self-aware and mindful of your individual needs. So make sure to take stock of your mental well-being regularly and seek help if you need it. This could be as easy as seeking out your support system of friends, making a doctor appointment with your general practitioner, or seeing a therapist. Find out more here. There are a lot of options, and your mental health is worth it!
Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com
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