In this article on ideas for prioritizing mental health, we cover the following:
- Introduction: Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health
- Prioritizing Mental Health:7 Highly Effective Ideas
- Summary: Prioritizing mental health is easy
Introduction: Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health
Neglecting your mental health can have disastrous consequences over time. Your relationships, your work, even your sense of self-worth — they all take a severe beating. Even so, people simply don’t make their mental health a priority. Indeed, many even sense the importance of prioritizing mental health but are clueless about what to do.
Do you wish to prioritize your mental health but do not know where to start? In this short guide, we’ve included some straightforward yet effective advice that will go long way in restoring and maintaining your mental health. Pick those that feel right and include them in your daily self-care routine and in no time you will begin to feel better.
Prioritizing Mental Health: 7 Highly Effective Ideas
1. Take time off
Do not underestimate the power of downtime. Society is fast-paced, and multi-tasking has become quite common. However, working around the clock without regular breaks can lead to burnout, especially in a work environment.
Taking time off to rest and relax is important for coping with all that life has to offer. Your body and mind, both need rest not only to manage stress but also avoid becoming indifferent to the things you need and love. If you are unable to recharge from time to time, you will find it harder to fulfill all of your obligations.
Paid time off exists for a reason, so make the best use of it. Take regular vacations away from work to break the monotony of weekdays. A change of scenery can be an enjoyable experience and gives you the opportunity to bond with family and friends. Researchers have found that taking a break leads to measurable improvements in cognitive performance.
Self-care isn’t optional. Besides, if you’re not at your best, it’s hard to help others be their best.
Also read » The urgent importance of leisure
Meditation began in ancient times and is still one of the top ways to maintain mental and spiritual health. Together with mindfulness, being fully aware of the present moment, meditation helps us keep stress and anxiety at bay.
A common cause of mental distress is worry about past and future events. You might play a negative experience over and over in your head or about which you feel anxiety. With meditation, which is a learned skill, you can stop the incessant mind chatter that keeps you from living to your true potential. If you are new to meditation, start by reading this article: How to ease into a daily routine of meditation. There are many free resources out there to help you begin.
Here are some of the staples of meditation:
A calm space
While you can technically meditate anywhere, it helps to be in a place without distraction. You can meditate in your bedroom, a closet or create a small meditation garden in your home.
The right position
You can technically meditate in any position, but sitting up straight with your legs crossed or sitting with your legs hanging down helps your body relax and focus on the meditation.
Meditation focuses on relaxing the mind through deep breathing. Slow, controlled breaths help relax the body and get into the right mindset.
Journaling — writing down your thoughts and feelings regularly — is a wonderfully effective way to unwind and let go of pent up emotions. There are many approaches to journaling. Here are a few:
This is one of the easiest forms of journaling as there are no rules. Write down your thoughts and feelings about the day, without a filter. You can look back on these entries to identify positive and negative patterns.
Gratitude journaling is a great way to retrain your mindset on everyday life. Each day, write down a few things you are grateful for that happened that day. Over time, you can boost your mood through the day by remembering the good things in your life.
This is an excellent method if you struggle with what to write. You can find many prompts online or in books that guide you through the journaling process. Answer the question posed and you might learn about yourself along the way.
Related » Healing power of journaling
4. Focus on physical health
Your mental and physical health are deeply connected and caring for your body can help fuel your mind. For examples, studies done on the effect of food on mental health have found that eating a healthy diet with whole foods can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress and release feel-good hormones like dopamine that help you stay in a better mood.
Being healthier doesn’t have to be boring. Playing with your children or pets has anxiety-reducing effects for both of you.
Related » Your ultimate guide to exercising
5. Spend time in nature
Nature has a healing effect on the body and mind, and spending time with it can benefit your mental health. Go for a nature walk, noticing the sights, sounds, smells and textures around you. Sit by the waves and enjoy a sunset. Even just spending time caring for your house plants can bring a sense of calm in your mind and body.
With a world so focused on technology and urban development, don’t forget about the wonderful things the world naturally offers. Being around fresh air and living materials can produce endorphins which stabilize your mood and help you feel better.
Related » Discover yourself in Mother Nature
6. Get more natural light
Just as being outside in nature is good for your mental health, so is getting natural sun light, both outdoors and inside.
Relying less on artificial lighting and sitting by windows or stepping outside more can reduce your stress, help you be more productive and make you feel happier throughout the day. It also helps you sleep better, which is vital for good mental health.
Note: When you do spend a lot of time in the sun, ensure you wear sunscreen or protective clothing so you don’t get a sunburn.
Also read » Daytime strategies to help you sleep better
7. Talk to someone
Sometimes, you just feel like talking to someone who offers a patient ear and a non-judgmental shoulder on which you can cry. You could speak to a trusted friend or colleague or even your sibling.
If your situation demands, you might want to consult a mental health professional. Just as you have a physical check-up, having a mental health “check-in” with a counselor or therapist can help you stay at your best.
If you are struggling to remain happy or just feel OK, reach out to someone about a treatment plan. There is no shame in caring for your mental health. Just like you go to the doctor when you’re physically unwell, you ought to go to a reputable therapist or psychiatrist when you feel your mental health requires attention. And you wouldn’t be alone. One in 25 Americans live with mental illness, but the right treatment or therapy can get you feeling better and living life to the fullest.
Related » How emotions make us sick and how counseling can help
Summary: Prioritizing Mental Health is Easy
Prioritizing mental health isn’t difficult to do. All it needs is doing little things for yourself: Take regular breaks from routine, write your thoughts in a journal, eat well, exercise, meditate, spend time in nature, and get adequate sunlight. If needed, talk to someone about your feelings or seek guidance of a professional therapist.
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