Your mental health should be your no.1 priority. Putting yourself first and taking care of yourself can elevate your self-esteem, self-worth, and happiness.
No doubt 2020 was an emotional rollercoaster for everyone. Everyone’s mental health in lockdown was put to the test. As the months progressed, things only got worse, and with the pandemic evolving, it continues to strain people’s physical and mental health. Whether you are affected by the virus, lost a loved one, or feel overwhelming anxiety, we can all benefit from better mental health. Mental health struggles are real, no matter how big or small. Whether you are spiraling down with depression or in dire need of a quick cry, your feelings are valid.
Habits to Improve Mental Health
Mental health can affect anyone, regardless of age, weight, ethnicity, gender, or religion. Here is a list of seven practical tips you can try right now to improve your mental health.
Maintain a Mental Health Journal
This simple exercise can be incredibly cathartic. It can help you work through feelings, relieve stress, and organize your thoughts. Penning down emotions can also help you get things off your chest and make seemingly huge problems appear manageable. Moreover, journaling also helps you gain perspective and keeps depression at bay.
This exercise can help you get out of your head and analyze things logically. Some of us may not have close friends or family members who have the time to listen to us, keeping a journal helps with this. It serves as a way to recollect thoughts and gives you a safe space to pour your heart out. The best part is, you can use journaling to organize your goals, elevate your life and use it express gratitude. Depending on the time you have at your hands, you can get a bullet journal or a diary to write proper sentences or full paragraphs. You can journal anywhere, any time of the day, such as before heading to bed, after waking up, or even on your way to and from work.
Consider Taking a Break
Having a routine is monumental for ensuring you get things done. However, sometimes we tend to overdo things and stuff too many activities in one day. Keep realistic schedules that are easy to achieve and every now and then take a break to relieve stress. Whether you can spare 5 minutes or 1 hour, take time to either listen to a relaxing podcast, for a quick stroll around the block, or have your lunch outside the office building at the nearest park.
Sometimes the best thing to do is get some shut-eye. If you are feeling tired during the day, grab your pillow, get comfy, and take a quick nap. A nap can refresh your mind, improve your mood, reduce fatigue and serve as the perfect break to continue taking on the day. You can also take a 5-minute break to play with your pet and rub their belly. This, in itself, helps relax the mind and elevates serotonin.
Avoid Toxic Relationships
Before diagnosing yourself with depression, make sure you are not surrounded by individuals who put you down. Often those closest to you, such as unhealthy relationships, toxic friends, and family members, can trigger, bring you down and lower your self-esteem. Out of obligation, you may want to stay in touch and meet them often; however, if their self-diminishing talk strains your mental health, it is best to maintain a safe distance from such individuals.
Minimize engaging with people who do not serve you, bring you joy, or help you grow. However, before you go ahead with this, it is best to confront them. Confrontation will give them a heads up to mend their ways and help you communicate boundaries for preserving your mental health.
Try Powerful Affirmations
Ever heard of the famous saying, fake it till you make it? The reason why this saying works so well is that you can reprogram your mind. Your internal negative and positive dialogue can have a lasting impact on your brain by deeply rooting into the unconscious mind. Therefore, you can benefit from affirmations. Positive self-affirmations need to be repeated often for your mind to believe and accept them.
You can write down affirmations on sticky notes such as I am enough, I am loveable, or anything you please and place it everywhere. You can put it on the mirror, your office cubicle, coffee table, car, or even set it as the background wallpaper on your phone. Repeating self-affirmations often will not only validate your mind but will also slowly but surely work to strengthen your self-esteem and mental health.
Practise Prioritising Self-Care
If you want to feel loved, the first person to love you, has to be you and the best way to do it is with lots and lots of self-care. Self-care can take many forms, from treating yourself to a freshly brewed cup of coffee to eating healthy, applying a hair mask, or taking a relaxing warm bubble bath with extra bubbles, scented candles, and the works. These little treats make you feel special, loved, and cherished.
Taking care of yourself can significantly elevate your quality of life as it serves as a means of rewarding yourself for doing things that bring you joy. Some great ways to take care of yourself include going for hikes, doing yoga, or listening to audiobooks.
Mental Health and Social Media
Excess social media consumption can elevate your stress levels, give you unwanted anxiety, cause depression, and even make you feel ungrateful for the relationships you have. Scrolling mindlessly through your newsfeed and comparing your life with other people’s highlights can take a toll on even the best of us. Similar to a break, digital detoxing can last anytime between a few minutes, hours, or a few days. Just keep your phone, laptop, or computer aside and focus on living in the moment.
This pause helps you relax your mind, focus on what you have, and appreciate it more. If going back to social media escalates your anxiety, try unfollowing accounts that make you feel bad about yourself or make you feel inferior. Only follow accounts that make you feel positive and bring you joy.
Managing mental health without therapy can be challenging. Therapy can be extremely powerful and a lifetime investment. A professional can help you navigate your feelings better than any close confidant. Therapists can lend you nonjudgmental ears for hours throughout the year and during lockdown can also be accessed online from the comfort of your home.
Being vulnerable in front of a professional sworn not to let out a peep about your discussions and learning tools along the way to better navigate through overwhelming emotions, childhood trauma, or deep-seated issues can liberate you and help you tackle everyday challenges. Moreover, they can also prescribe anti-depressants that can help improve your condition.
We hope our tips help you turn a new leaf of positivity in 2021. When you feel overwhelmed with negative thoughts, remember to trust the process. After all, nothing changes overnight, but small changes made daily can have a massive impact.