Managing your feelings and handling everyday challenges is an important part of maintaining your overall well-being, but sometimes this is easier said than done.
Keeping up with your mental health can sometimes mean seeking support from a mental health professional, but it can also mean taking the everyday steps needed to boost your mental and emotional wellness.
Here are seven things you can do every day to boost your mental health:
1. Start your day on a positive note
Having a morning routine is good, but making sure you’re starting your day on a positive note is important, too. Showing gratitude, whether it’s towards yourself, someone else or something else, can improve your mental health and emotional well-being.
It can be easy to fixate on questions like: What if? Why me? and What’s next?
But these questions can distract your mind from enjoying life and completing the tasks at hand. In fact, research shows that “a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.”
Rather than thinking about what isn’t even actually happening right now, focus on what is happening. Your coffee is hot. This new playlist sounds fun. Your dog looks extra fluffy today. This banana tastes perfectly ripened.
3.Make time for exercise
We all know that exercising regularly is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight, and you may also know that it benefits your heart. But exercise also benefits your brain — supporting cognitive function, improving mood, and reducing stress and anxiety. It’s why the CDC recommends regularly being physically active.
Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, which relieve stress. It also stimulates the release of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine — which help regulate your mood. For instance, the serotonin boost you get from exercise can help improve your sense of well-being. In addition, exercise helps balance adrenaline levels in your body, which can reduce stress.
Your brain is one of the busiest organs in your body — and it needs the right kind of fuel to keep it functioning at its very best.
Eating well-balanced meals full of foods rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can help improve your mood and promote cognitive function. A healthy diet includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. Take note that processed foods, which can be high in refined sugars and saturated fats, are not on this list.
Social distancing will remain important throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but social distancing doesn’t have to mean being socially isolated. From phone calls to video chat and other digital tools, there are plenty of ways to stay connected with friends and loved ones during the pandemic.
Socializing can mean opening up to someone about a problem or issue, but it can also mean just being kind to others more in general. Placing your trust in others, as well as receiving trust from others, can improve your emotional well-being and build self-worth. Being kind to people, regardless of whether you know them or not, boosts happiness and can build self-esteem.
6.Set goals for yourself
There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment. Whether it’s losing 10 pounds, saving up money for a down payment or getting that promotion you’ve been gunning for — achieving a goal can help boost your self-esteem and self-worth.
7.Take sleep seriously
Most nights, it’s probably pretty easy to choose that TV episode that’s currently being queued up for you over getting some shut-eye. But that voice in the back of your mind saying, “It’s time for bed,” is almost always right.
Lack of sleep, as well as low-quality sleep, can have a big impact on how you feel the next day. It can make you more irritable, as well as reduce your ability to concentrate on the tasks at hand.