It is more than okay to not be okay sometimes, but we all want to be mentally well and happy. Mental wellness is integral for living a fulfilling life but maintaining it can come with its challenges. And yet, we often neglect our own mental health in favor of other priorities like work, family, relationships, obligations, or friends. Thankfully, there are many options for those seeking to improve their mental wellbeing and their lives.
For many people, their mood can be heavily impacted by their stresses in life. Focusing on self-care and choosing healthy coping mechanisms for challenging life situations can help you build your mental strength and actually improve your mood. There are many options for those who wish to prioritize their mental health:
1) Keep moving
Every little bit of exercise can help elevate your mood. It improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood, and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed and staying active helps those who are depressed recover. You do not have to be a fitness fanatic to receive the mental health benefits of exercise. Even a simple 30-minute walk outdoors can drastically improve your wellness.
2) Eat healthy
What we put in our bodies to give us energy plays a huge factor in how our brain functions. The brain and the gastrointestinal system are intimately connected to one another. Your gut health can be a cause or a product of poor mental health. One way to help lower anxiety, depression, or stress is by being mindful of the things you eat. It is best to avoid highly processed and sugary foods, and instead opt for a healthier diet. Leafy greens, fruits, and leaner meats like salmon are all better options for those seeking to eat healthier. There are also many foods that directly improve your gut health- these include yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso, kimchi, olive oil, peas, bananas, garlic, and ginger.
3) Make time for yourself
Self-care routines can look different for everyone. It is important to take time for yourself and participate in hobbies or activities that are meaningful to you and that can lessen stress or anxiety. This could be anything from reading, journaling, watching your favorite movie, or treating yourself to a relaxing night in. Taking time to explore your favorite hobbies, or even try new ones, can help relax your mind and lower stress levels. Always remember it is okay to set boundaries with work and friendships to take the time to improve your own mental wellbeing.
4) Connect with others
Building your own support system is also a great way to lessen stress, anxiety, trauma, and depression. It may feel difficult to open up to others about how you are feeling, but connecting with others can help our mental health improve and elevate our mood. Your support system can be family, friends, or even professionals like a therapist who can help guide you through the more challenging times in your life.
5) Be kind to yourself
The journey to better mental health will not happen overnight. There may be days where there is still a struggle to stay motivated, but it is important to remember that healing and growth are not linear. It may take time, but a commitment to these different lifestyle changes can lead to long-term improvements in your mental wellbeing.
6) Check out your prescription options
If all of these lifestyle changes still do not help your mental health improve, or if you are finding it difficult to get started on these things without extra help, then there are many prescription options that can help you. There is no shame in seeking medical help to address your mental wellbeing. If you want to turn to medications to help you manage your mental health, then it is important to always be honest with your healthcare provider.
There are many strategies for how you can take control and overcome mental illnesses. Coping with stress, anxiety or depression may seem challenging but there is hope! Always remember you are not alone, and there is always a new option to try that can help. If all of these self-help strategies do not help, then please seek additional help from a medical professional.