Boosting Our Mental Health
Is there a way to boost our mental health, and if so…HOW?
Did you know that about 1 in 5 of us will suffer from a mental health disorder? 1 IN 5!! We tend to ignore those pesky thoughts and they tend to linger in our minds.
Here are some things that may be helpful in boosting our mental health…
Social connection. Face to face connection is important. We are social creatures and we are not meant to survive or thrive in isolation. So even though, right now, whether the connections you have have to be through virtual meetings or at a distance, make time for those face-to-face conversations and interactions.
- Call a friend or loved one
- Don’t have anyone to call? Try acquaintances
- Get out from in front of the TV, computer or phone screen
- Be a joiner – networking, social or special interest groups…even if they all have to be online at the moment, it won’t be this way forever.
- Don’t be afraid to smile and say hello to strangers – whether it’s on a morning walk or from across the way in whatever store you’re at. A smile can change someone’s day!
Stay active. The mind and body are linked. Improve your physical health, and experience greater mental and emotional well-being too. We’re not talking about becoming a fitness buff. Especially if you’re someone like me, who doesn’t love to work out. Try an at-home yoga class or a walk around the block. Any movement is better than nothing. Aim for 30 minutes…we can do anything for 30 minutes…right?
Keep stress in check. Stress can most certainly take its toll. And while it can’t be avoided here are some strategies that might help.
- Talk to a friendly face – feeling frustrated, angry, upset, alone? Talk to a friend, a family member, someone who lifts you up.
- Engage your senses – Listen to your favorite, pump-you-up song, smell some lavender essential oil, squeeze a stress ball…whatever works best for you. Once you figure out how your nervous system reacts to these things, you’ll be able to calm down and de-stress quicker in the future.
Do something for you. It’s important to take time for yourself and do things you enjoy. Laugh, listen to music, read a book, do a facemask. Do something just because it’s fun, not because you have too!
Watch the sunrise or set. Write down, or at least pay attention to the things that are good. Ooh get our free small joys printable here
Relax. Take time to unwind. Yoga, mindfulness, journaling, deep breathing, reading…we have created a lot of that stuff for our friends, like you, to take advantage of. Find everything in one spot here.
Diet. We don’t mean go on a diet but try eating healthy foods that support your brain. (I know when I consume a bunch of sugar I feel like junk, tired, sluggish, moody.) Make sure to consult your doctor if you have concerns or health issues involving diet before changing anything drastically.
Here are some foods you may want to think about avoiding if possible:
- Trans fats, anything with partially hydrogenated oil
- Foods with lots of hormones or chemical preservatives, usually found in the “middle” isles of the grocery store.
- Sugar and sugary snacks…you know…the ones that ALWAYS taste the best
- Refined carbs like white flour
- Fried food
Here is some food you may want to think about including more of:
- Fish – salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna
- Nuts – walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts
- Leafy greens – spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts
- Fresh fruit – blueberries
Sleep. When it comes to mental health, getting enough sleep is super important. As adults, we should be aiming for 7 to 9 hours of good sleep per night. Take a break and let your brain unwind. The recommendation is no screens for 2 hours prior to bedtime…I don’t know about you but I find myself scrolling right before bed, and it’s definitely a hard habit to break.
Find purpose. What fuels the fire inside you? We would love to hear about the things you love to do. Let us know what you’re favorite thing to do is on our social media!
If you don’t know what types of things you enjoy, what “fills your cup” if you will…think about this…
- What type of work provides meaning and fuels your soul?
- What types of relationships fill your cup? Kids, grandkids, friends, etc.
- Do you have a pet? Or maybe you need a pet?
- Do you like to volunteer? What types of organizations are you passionate about?
- Caregiving? Do you enjoy caring for people? Neighbors, friends, family?
When to seek professional help. So, you’ve tried all the things and more, but nothing seems to work…it might be time to reach out for help. If you are having a hard time functioning at home, work, or in your relationships. This may be a sign it’s time to seek help. There are a ton of wonderful agencies, and people out there who care about your mental health, who aren’t scary (talking about mental health doesn’t have to be scary) and who are ready if you are. We are one of those agencies! Reach out…We’re here for you!
Post adapted from helpguide.org