Mental health is as important as physical health and possibly even more so. Taking care of your mental health is vital in living a long and successful life. However, taking care of your mental health can be difficult in the easiest of times, and let’s face it, times are not easy. Societal issues, political issues, and a global pandemic placed on top of the usual life stressors make this a challenging time for many of us. Which is why focusing on mental health is paramount.
During our lives, it can be easy to neglect our own mental health, even if we understand how valuable it is and how much we need to focus on it. We live in a microwave, quick fix, respond immediately, need it now society. We need to take every phone call, answer every email, and text back immediately. We have high stress jobs, bills to pay, and family members and loved ones to care for. We have smart phones, computers, iPads and tablets, cable television, streaming services, video games, and virtual reality. We have meetings, responsibilities, playdates, family obligations, and social events. Life is busy, and in the midst of what often can seem like navigating a tornado, we often let our mental health take a back seat and ultimately suffer because of it.
However, we know we must take care of our mental health and take steps to manage it and improve it, or else often suffer the consequences of not doing so. So how can we do that? In our fast-paced daily lives, what are some helpful suggestions that may allow us to focus on and improve our mental health?
Quick and easy tips that will help you improve your mental health:
- Move your body. Exercise. Workout. Go for a walk. Go for a run. Participate in a yoga class. Jump on your Peloton. Whatever you can do to move your body and not be still or stagnate will undoubtedly be beneficial for your mental health.
- Spend less time on technology. This can be difficult considering how connected we are with our technology and gadgets, so give yourself an achievable goal. Maybe 10% or 15% less time spent on your cell phone, tablet, or computer. Assign a specific time each day to unplug, if only for 30 minutes or an hour. Maybe choose one day per week to be off your technology? Whatever works for you but find something that does work for you.
- Eat well but eat right. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Choose foods that are good for your brain health and physical wellbeing. Find healthy foods that you enjoy. Snack less and be more purposeful with your meals.
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Drinking enough water each day is crucial for a number of reasons that help to manage health issues and improve body and brain functionality. It also helps decrease anxiety.
- Disengage from social media and unfollow people or things that cause issues for your mental health. Social media is wonderful to connect with people but can also be a cesspool of negativity and a dangerous place for your mental health. If there are people, topics, or issues that cause you stress or are negative for your mental health, click the unfollow or unsubscribe button.
- Find a new hobby and be purposeful in making time to engage in it. Things that bring us joy are good for our mental health. Many of us want to try new things or do things we enjoy that we don’t think we have time to do. So, it is on us to make time. Be mindful and purposeful in choosing to engage in things that you like that will improve your outlook, emotional state, and overall mental health, and then be mindful and purposeful in making time to enjoy doing those things regularly.
- Find positive support through healthy connections with friends and family. In recovery from addiction, we know just how valuable connection and community are, and that is true for anyone. Connection and community are built through creating healthy, supportive relationships with people that offer positivity to your life. Take a look around. Are the people in your life positive and healthy supports? If so, spend more time with them. If not, it’s time to create new, healthy, positive relationships.
- Define self-care for yourself and then make time for it. There are many definitions of self-care. What is self-care for one person may not be for another. For some, it’s a spa day or a bike ride, while for another it may be simply a day alone or out in nature. Maybe it’s a massage? Maybe it’s taking a class? Maybe it’s talking to a therapist? Whatever works for you, it’s important to define what your self-care looks like, and then once again, be mindful and purposeful in making the necessary time to engage in that self-care.
- Engage in positive affirmations in the morning. It’s the old Saturday Night Live skit, “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and God darn it, people like you!” While this may sound ridiculous, there is much research into how positive affirmations impact our mood, emotional state, and mental health. So, each morning, whatever type of positive affirmations work for you, be sure to take the necessary time to engage in that behavior each morning.
- Before bed each night, go through the positive things that happened during the day and find gratitude where you can. We can easily slip into negative thinking, so creating positive habits daily helps to guard against that as well as support improved mental health. Each night before bed, take a couple minutes to go through your day, and find the positive things that occurred, the things that brought you happiness and joy, and the things you did that brought happiness and joy to others. This will help you find gratitude, and there is scientific evidence that shows a regular attitude of gratitude is great for good mental health.
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.