Mental health “problems” are more prevalent than we think. The fact that they can be labelled as “problems” and stigmatized makes it challenging for people to be actively mindful of ways to improve their own mental health for fear of judgement. Make no mistake there will be times when one’s mental health needs the attention of a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist. A myriad of medications may be the only way to keep some mental health disorders under wraps but there are times that a simple readjustment on your outlook of life can do the trick. We have picked 5 ways that we think are beneficial to mental health improvement. There are lots more out there and keeping ourselves open to learning more will help everyone move towards a more positive outlook on their own mental health.
Sometimes you need to “Get away”: It doesn’t have to be an extravagant trip to Europe or a trip that involves leaving the country or even the city. It can be a day trip to a part of your city that you have never explored. A change of scenery and new mental stimulation can help put your life in perspective. Gives your brain a break from your daily routine and allows you to be more open to what you are feeling. Somewhere peaceful and quiet works for some so that they can be alone with their thoughts and for others, the loud hustle and bustle of a busy location helps to distract them enough so that they can relax and let go of any tension. A change of focus can help rejuvenate you and boost feel good hormones in your brain.
Quiet time for your mind: Some refer to it as prayer and meditation, others may call it a state of mindfulness. Whichever name you want to give it, quietening the mind is a powerful skill to have. Being able to quieten your mind helps to enhance a state of calm and improve your outlook on what is going on in your life. There are a lot of books on mindfulness and apps you can find to walk you through mindfulness episodes. One that I use is called head-space and it is a free app available for free in the apple store and play store for androids.
TLC: Not the girl group but some actual Tender Love and Care for yourself! Make time for the things that bring you joy! Make time for a spa date or that mani/pedi. Invest in making yourself FEEL good! Try something new! Take that dance class or cooking class you have been thinking about. Take a language course or learn to play an instrument. Do something FOR YOU! Give yourself an experiential gift! There are tonnes of discounted items on groupon so if you don’t like it no harm no foul! Just get out there and explore all that the world has to offer. Don’t just exist! Live a little!
Get your rest: Sometimes I think sleep is undervalued. It is the time when your body can decompress from a stressful day, heal after a grueling workout, reach homeostasis from a roller coaster of a schedule. Not getting the rest your body and brain needs can have a negative compounding effect on your well-being. Avoid artificial light an hour before bed, disconnect from social media and spend some time allowing yourself to truly wind down. No TV, no devices in the bedroom. If you do have a TV, plug it out before bed or take the batteries out of the remote. Do not give yourself any easy ways out. Drink some chamomile tea. Chamomile tea increases glycerin levels which help to relax your muscles and can act as a mild sedative. Do some breathing exercises - check out the “4-7-8 breathing technique”, it can act as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.
Gratitude Journaling: We have talked about writing down your feelings and things that you are grateful for in previous posts but being in a state of gratitude has a positive effect on your well-being and mental health. It can put into perspective what you are feeling and teaches you not to sweat the small stuff. What you are grateful for can be as small as there being enough sugar in the jar to sweeten your coffee/tea or as big as having enough food to feed your family.
Above all keep your head up! We have all been in a state of decreased mental health and we need to rally together to make sure that we all understand it is nothing to be ashamed of but something that we as a community can support each other in improving.
What do you do to maintain your mental wellness?
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Team Make It Fun NYC