Taking care of your own mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. We all know how important the latter is for a productive, longer life, and it is the same with the former. However, although we will at least understand the basics of keeping physically fit and healthy, it is harder to understand how to protect our mental health. This is possibly because it can’t be seen, only felt, and because there is still such a stigma over being able to admit when we are mentally unwell.
Because it is such an important aspect of our lives, it is crucial that we are able to look after our mental health in the best way possible. Here are some tips on how to do it naturally and healthily.
Exercise has a huge number of advantages, not least of which is the fact that it increases our fitness levels and helps us to lose weight more easily. It also increases our energy levels, making us more productive, and being more productive is something that really can have a good effect on our mental health. If we are unable to work or get much done around the house, it can make us feel down, perhaps even useless or unworthy. Although this is not the case, the mental health aspect of life can make us feel as though it is. Exercising regularly means that we feel more productive, get more done, and feel better in general.
Exercise also boosts the mood through the promotion of hormones within the body. These hormones such as serotonin make us feel happy and good about everything around us; they are like a natural high, and perfectly good for us. They also reduce the amount of the stress making hormone, cortisol, which can keep our mental health in a more positive state too.
A balanced diet is also, perhaps surprisingly, something that can help keep us more healthy mentally. One of the reasons is that, once again, a good diet keeps our hormones regulated meaning we don’t fall into down periods as often, if at all. Another aspect of eating a balanced diet is that it links to self-esteem. If we are not confident in the way that our body looks because we are over or underweight, then our mental health can suffer dramatically. If our weight can be kept at healthy levels, we will feel better about ourselves in general, and this means that our mental health is kept more stable.
Doing too much and trying to cram everything into only a few hours, or saying yes to every task that comes your way is not a good idea. This particularly applies if you aren’t sure you can get every task done, as trying to do everything will eat into your relaxation time. Everyone is so busy these days, and it can be tempting to try to keep up with others, and you might even feel guilty or selfish for taking time to yourself to simply do nothing, but doing this is important for the sake of your mental health.
Taking time out from being busy and relaxing means that you can finally allow your body and mind to rest and slow down. Even if this is only for a short amount of time, it is a good idea because it helps you to ‘reset’ and be ready for the next round of tasks that need to be completed.
What you do in terms of relaxation isn’t important; you can do whatever it is that makes you feel calm and happy and stops you from worrying about all the things you need to do. You might read a book, watch a movie, take a walk, have a nap, bake a cake, go fishing, or do anything else that you enjoy. Make sure you always leave time for these things because otherwise you will burn out and become seriously unwell.
Talk To Others
Understanding that there are other people who are feeling the same way as you is important – you are not alone. Being able to talk through your issues with others is a good way of maintaining your mental health and a good balance when it comes to your physical health too. Finding those other people to talk to can be done in a number of different ways including online discussions and forums, group therapy, or simply finding a friend who has had a similar background or feels the same way as you.
These therapies can have other advantages too. You might be rewarded with a challenge coin, for example, and this will boost your confidence and show you that it is perfectly acceptable – even encouraged – to talk through problems that you thought were taboo. You can read more here about challenge coins and how they can help you and others.
Get Enough Sleep
People with mental health issues can find it difficult to get enough sleep, but the problem here is that not getting enough sleep can cause mental health issues to become worse. When we sleep, our bodies and minds can become re-energized and repair anything that is wrong. You will heal faster, and your memory will be better amongst other things. You will also generally feel happier, and your mood will be better. In order to get as much sleep as possible, it is a good idea to avoid any stimulants such as coffee or alcohol close to bedtime and to remove as much light as you can from your bedroom.
Another way to protect your mental health is to set goals for yourself. They need to be realistic and achievable, and they shouldn’t be too big either. Of course, you can aim for big results, but breaking these larger goals down into smaller ones is the best way to do it to prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed which will harm your mental health and not help it. Having goals to work towards means there is always something to look forward to, and some reward for your hard work and this will keep your mental health on a more even setting.