Like your spiritual and physical health, mental health also plays an essential role in your daily life. However, a lot may affect your mental state, which may vary from one person to another. To help keep your mental health in good condition, it’s essential to understand what good mental health is and why it matters.
An Overview Of Mental Health
Your mental health significantly influences how you feel, behave, and think in daily life. It may also affect how you overcome challenges, cope with stress, recover from life’s hardships and setbacks, and build relationships.
Generally, good mental health is described as a person’s ability to fulfill some key activities and functions, including expressing, feeling, learning, and managing various negative and positive emotions. It also helps you maintain and form good relationships with others and cope with or manage uncertainties and changes in life.
With that in mind, taking care of your mental health is crucial. Fortunately, there are ways to maintain good mental health. If you’re struggling and don’t know where to start, you can seek professional help from treatment centers similar to Jackson House La Mesa. These treatment centers have services designed to improve your quality of life and teach you how to resolve your mental health needs.
Whether you’re searching for ways to cope with a mental health issue, feel more energetic, and handle your emotions better, here are the dos and don’ts of caring for your mental health:
Do Seek Professional Help
If you experience difficulty coping with stress, never hesitate to seek professional help. Mental health is important to your overall health condition. So, get in touch with your doctor or counselor, or call the mental health helpline in your area.
Remember that you’re not alone, and there are various things you can do to achieve good mental health. Even if you think some people won’t understand you, believe that professionals can do whatever it takes to help improve your mental health.
Don’t Forget About Eating Well
Food is your body’s fuel. It provides essential nutrients that help your body function optimally every day. That is why the better you eat, the better your body and brain work. So, if you want to care for your mental health, be sure to eat healthy foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, to get the nutrients your body needs.
To eat well, follow these tips:
- Eat Regularly – Doing so will give your body enough fuel to function all day. On the other hand, skipping meals can make you feel irritable or tired.
- Watch Your Sugar Intake – Eating excessive sugar will give your body a quick burst of energy. However, once it’s gone, you’ll feel more tired. It may even make you feel irritable and lower your mood.
- Watch Out For Excessive Caffeine – Black tea and coffee are rich in caffeine, which may help keep you energetic. However, it may also add to feelings of anxiety and disrupt your sleep.
Do Exercise Regularly
Exercise is one way to maintain a healthy body. But it may also have a positive impact on your mental health. There are many ways exercise can benefit your mental health, and these include the following:
- It lowers anxiety.
- It helps you cope with stress
- It lifts your mood.
- It helps you sleep well.
- It helps you feel good about yourself.
- It boosts your energy.
With so many benefits of regular exercise to your mental health, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t include it in your daily routine. You don’t need to spend hours exercising. It doesn’t matter what type of activity you do, as long as you spend at least 30 minutes a day doing the workout you prefer.
Below are some of the tips to boost the mental health effects of regular exercise:
- Have an exercise buddy. It won’t only help you enjoy the perks of exercise, but you’ll also have the chance to connect with somebody else, which is good for your mental health. You can also keep up with your workout or exercise if you have a fitness buddy.
- Choose something you enjoy. Know that you can do various activities that get you moving. If you enjoy the activity, you’re more likely to do it.
- Try walking. It’s an easy and fast way to feel better about everything in your life, especially if you’re feeling stressed, worried, or sad.
Don’t Spend More Time On Social Media
If you’re struggling with your mental health, one of the things you shouldn’t do is spend more time on social media. In today’s modern world, most people rely on various social media platforms to find people and connect. While each has its advantages, it’s crucial to note that social media can never replace real-world human connection.
Everyone requires in-person contact with other people to trigger the hormones that make you feel happy and alleviate stress. On the contrary, spending more time engaging with others on social media can make you feel more isolated and lonely, resulting in mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.
Suppose you always spend your time on social media, and feelings of dissatisfaction, sadness, and frustration negatively affect your life. You may also tend to compare your life to others and pity yourself for why you don’t have what others have. So, in that case, it’s time to find a healthier balance and re-evaluate your social media habits. To preserve your mental health, you can apply these guidelines:
- Make Rules – When you’re aware of various triggers, set some boundaries to keep your mind in tip-top condition. Remember, you control your social media use, so create your rules and follow them diligently.
- Pay Attention – When using social media, pay close attention to which social media interactions and posts bring bad feelings to you. Knowing such triggers may help you decide how to act and avoid being reactive.
- Love One Another – Social media friendships are undoubtedly meaningful, but accounts that may test your triggers might not be worth it. It doesn’t mean that you should block anybody from your life. However, making conscious choices about the people and posts you allow on your feed may be handy.
Unplugging from social media may help boost your focus and clarity. Knowing how to use social media responsibly can make a difference when caring for your mental health.
Do Get Enough Sleep
Sleep has an essential role in your mental health. For example, when you get a good night’s sleep, it’s much easier for you to handle problems, remember things, think positively, and deal with stress.
The amount of sleep you need depends on your body. You’ll often know you’re getting enough sleep if you don’t feel sleepy during the day. While you may think that you can get more things done if you cut back on your sleep, you’ll only find it hard to get things done when you don’t get enough sleep.
If you usually don’t sleep for some reason, here are the things you should try:
- Don’t take sleeping pills. They may help you fall asleep faster, but they won’t give you restful and quality sleep.
- Avoid long naps during the day.
- Follow a bedtime routine. Go to bed at the same time every day and wake up at the same time, even on weekends.
- Do quiet activities like reading.
- Make your room comfortable. Some people sleep well when their room is cool, quiet, and dark.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and big meals before bedtime.
- Avoid exercising before bedtime and do yoga and other relaxing activities instead.
Following the above tips will help you sleep better. But if you’re experiencing sleep problems frequently, it’s best to consult your doctor immediately.
Don’t Use Harmful Substances
Never use harmful substances, such as tobacco cigarettes, drugs, or alcoholic beverages, to cope with the stress you’re feeling. Although these may make you feel better temporarily, their side effects are worse. Such substances can put you at risk of injuries or illnesses.
Moreover, harmful substances may only worsen your mental health issues. Chronic use of various drugs and alcohol may result in both long-and short-term changes in your brain, leading to mental health problems, such as hallucinations, aggression, anxiety, depression, and paranoia.
Do Learn How To Deal With Stress
No one can avoid stress, but there are ways to deal with it effectively. You can beat stress and improve your mental health by practicing good coping skills and other stress-relieving strategies like yoga.
Aside from exercising and exploring nature, you can clear your headspace by practicing gratitude and counting your blessings. Instead of focusing on negative things, concentrate on the positive ones in your life. A blessing is still a blessing, be it small or big.
Gratitude is the type of emotion that grounds you and is an excellent way to improve your mindset. Once you practice gratitude, the brain releases hormones known as serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for making you feel happier and lighter inside. Therefore, if you want to take care of your mental health and deal with stress, practice gratitude always.
Don’t Forget To Relax
Everyone needs to relax and take time to slow down. It’s a critical part of enjoying your life and managing stress. When you don’t take time to slow down, your stress will only add up until you feel too overwhelmed to do something.
Once you relax, it’s easier to see solutions and problems. It’s also much easier to deal with dark feelings and helps you see the bright side. Moreover, you can focus on what’s happening at the moment instead of worrying about your future or past actions.
How you relax may depend on your preferences. Some mental health practices that can help you relax include breathing exercises, tai chi, meditation, and yoga. Others find reading, exercising, and exploring nature as ways to relax.
If you think you can’t relax on your own, you can join community groups or enroll in classes at community centers. You may also browse online during your free time.
Do Make Social Connection A Priority
Regardless of how much time you devote to caring for your mental health, you’ll still need the company of other people to function and feel your best. You must remember that humans are social creatures that have positive connections and relationships. Besides, nobody is meant to let alone thrive and survive in isolation. So, prioritize making social connections, particularly face-to-face.
Nothing beats the mood-boosting and stress-busting power of face-to-face connection with others. The key is interacting with good listeners and people you can talk to in person. Good listeners won’t criticize, interrupt, or judge you. Instead, they’ll listen to your feelings.
Reaching out doesn’t mean you’re weak and don’t feel that you’re only a burden to others. Some people are flattered when you trust them to confide in them. But if you don’t have anyone to talk to, there are some ways to improve your support network and build new friendships.
Some of the tips when connecting with others are as follows:
- Reach Out To Acquaintances – If you don’t feel you have anybody to call, you can always reach out to your acquaintances. Some people are also not comfortable making new friends as you do. Therefore, take a step and try to break the ice between you and your acquaintances. For example, invite your co-worker to eat lunch together and reconnect with your old friends.
- Call And Meet Up With Your Loved One – If you have a busy life, spend at least a few minutes calling a loved one and scheduling a meet-up during your free time. If possible, make it a regular activity.
- Never Be Afraid To Say Hello And Smile – Do this to any stranger you meet. Even if it feels weird, you never know where a simple greeting can lead you both.
- Be A Joiner – Join social, special interest, and networking groups that meet regularly. Such groups provide fantastic opportunities to meet others with common interests.
Your mental health is vital to your well-being and quality of life. While various things may affect your mental health, knowing the dos and don’ts of caring for your mental health can promote better wellness and help you enjoy your life to the fullest.
Just remember to take one step at a time and monitor your progress. If you’re still struggling with mental health issues, it might be best to seek professional help for the right treatment suitable for your needs.