submitted by Sun Life Health
While we often associate taking care of ourselves with eating healthy and working out, we forget that it also means keeping our mind healthy.
Here are 10 things we can do for our mental health.
1. Value yourself: Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your interests, hobbies and favorite projects.
2. Take care of your body:
- Eat nutritious meals
- Drink plenty of water
- Exercise, which helps decrease depression, anxiety and improve moods
- Get enough sleep
3. Surround yourself with good people: People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network. Make plans with supportive family members and friends, or seek out activities where you can meet new people, such as a club, class or support group.
4. Give yourself: Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else.
5. Learn how to deal with stress: Practice good coping skills — exercise, take a nature walk, play with your pet or try journal writing. Remember to smile and see the humor in life.
6. Quiet your mind: Meditating, relaxation exercises and prayer can soothe. Research shows that meditation may help you feel calm and enhance the effects of therapy.
7. Set realistic goals: Decide what you want to achieve academically, professionally and personally, and write down the steps you need to realize your goals. Aim high, but be realistic and don’t over-schedule.
8. Break up the monotony: A little change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule. Alter your jogging route, plan a road trip, take a walk in a different park, hang some new pictures or try a new restaurant.
9. Avoid alcohol: Keep alcohol use to a minimum; it can only aggravate problems.
10. Get help when you need it: Seeking help is a sign of strength. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and addiction and lead full, rewarding lives.
It can take as little as a minute to help improve both mental and physical health by using simple strategies. Too often our minds are traveling at the speed of light bouncing from thought to thought, many of which are stressful.
Taking a full deep breath or focused breath can help relieve tension and lead to physical relaxation. All we have to do is start.