2020 has been a year of difficult challenges, so now it is more important than ever to look after your mental health and wellness. A bout of nagging doubts, depression, and anxiety can lead to deleterious effects. To get the most from life, you need to take care of yourself and make a plan to adjust your good daily habits. It does not necessarily mean spending loads of time and a fortune to achieve this goal, as even making simple changes to how you live can make the difference. Here are some key areas and useful advice to keep in mind if you want to take care of your mental health.
How to look after your mental health
1. Maintain a balanced diet
Mental health and wellness crucially depend on the food you eat. Finding ways to better fuel your body through food and making a healthy meal will probably have a positive long-lasting effect on both your body and mind. To achieve proper balance in your diet and feel yourself a lot better, you need to set your goals and identify what works for you. For example, if coffee, sugar, and sweeteners make you feel pretty tired and sluggish because of a sugar crash, you should limit the amount of high-caffeine or sugary drinks you have per day. Consume a mix of nutrients to help your brain and other organs in your body stay healthy and function well. Wholegrain cereals or bread, different types of fruits and vegetables, dairy products, nuts and seeds, oily fish, and plenty of water should also be included in your diet.
Please note: if you are a diabetic, kidney patient, or have some other health issues, consult your doctor or dietician for specific dietary advice.
2. Keep active
It is no secret that our physical activity has strong links with our mental health, as chemicals in our body affect our mood. According to experts, about 30 minutes of gentle exercise at least five days a week can be enough to release ‘happy hormones’ that aid sleep, increase concentration, and help us feel and look better. Keeping active will also help you regain your center of focus and take care of yourself both mentally and emotionally. Treat it as a physical or tangible reminder of thinking of the needs of your body. Remember that exercising does not necessarily mean going to a gym or doing sports. Housework, gardening, or going for a walk in the park can also keep you fit and active. Do your best to make exercising an entertaining and relaxing part of your day.
3. Sleep well
Loss of sleep can cause a lot of stress, and, vice versa, stress can lead to insomnia. Sleep is an essential tool that not only speeds muscle recovery but also stimulates hormonal resets and brain cleansing. In other words, when we sleep, our bodies and mind have well-deserved rest and heal. What is more, if the mind is well-rested, it is easier to drift off. Unfortunately, such a critical component of mental and physical health as sound sleep is often overlooked and underappreciated. Find out if you can improve any of your sleep patterns. Apart from a proper night’s sleep, do not hesitate to take some short naps during the day if you feel tired.
4. Avoid or limit alcohol
One of the common misconceptions is that turning to alcohol may help you cope with symptoms of mental health challenges and relieve stress. An alcohol cocktail can change your mood only temporarily, and you will probably feel worse when the drink wears off. The truth is that alcohol cannot help with your fear, loneliness, or difficult feelings. Moreover, the misuse of alcohol causes relationship, employment, and health challenges. What is more, you would require more and more alcohol each time to satisfy your needs. Thereby, try to assess your relationship with alcohol and decide if you need assistance. The recommended alcohol limits are 14 units a week for both women and men, so do your best to stay within.
Besides alcohol, it is worth avoiding nicotine and drugs. Remember that they cannot solve problems, but they usually create a lot.
5. Turn to religion
Religion is a system of beliefs and practices, which helps people stay connected and provides them with a sense of structure. Not only does religiosity have a large positive impact on mental health, but it also reduces alcoholism, drug use, and suicide rates. Besides, it offers safe social engagement that creates a sense of belonging to a group. Plus, religious rituals help people deal with difficult life situations, such as the loss of a loved one. It is also worth noting that hanging up some religious paintings or icons in your home may create a special intimate and relaxing atmosphere. According to russianicon.com, sacred art is something that can easily promote recovery and improve your mental health.
6. Meditate and breathe
Doing breathing exercises and meditating are great ways to identify where you are at, address challenges you are facing, and connect with yourself. There is a myriad of guided meditation programs and free subscriptions you can use to address your diverse mental health needs.
7. Stay connected
A sense of belonging to a greater community can improve your health, happiness, and motivation. Supportive friends and strong family ties can give you all the comfort you need at difficult times. Surround yourself with positive people, as they can help you overcome the stresses of life and provide you with views different from those inside your own head. Friends and relatives can keep you grounded and active. All you need to do is to share your emotions and ask for advice when needed. In case giving a call is not possible, you can drop a note or chat online instead.
8. Be kind to yourself
Do not allow your critical voice to tell you negative things about yourself. It may affect your behavior and make you feel anxious or depressed.
Everyone can follow these tips to improve their mental health. So why not start today?