There exists a powerful link between our mental health and our general wellness. When we are struggling mentally, be it with anxiety, depression, hopelessness, grief or any other mental health issue, it affects not only our state of mind but also our health and overall wellbeing. How can we safeguard our mental wellbeing during difficult times?
Start with the basics.
What is mental health?
Mental health refers to how well our brain is functioning in regards to processing and comprehending information, cognitive thinking and memory function. Our emotional and psychological wellness depends on maintaining a healthy state of mind.
A mental health disorder is a condition that adversely impacts daily functioning. Approximately one out of every four Americans struggles with a mental health disorder each year, with a significant number of these individuals having a co-occurring substance use disorder that further compounds the issue. Some examples of mental health disorders include anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder.
How can you take care of your mental health?
So, what are some ways we can upkeep our mental health? Here are 10 actionable steps we can incorporate into our routines that will help us maintain our mental wellness and live our best lives:
- Learn to relax: Find a relaxation technique that works for you and practice it regularly. These might include yoga, guided meditation, deep breathing or mindfulness.
- Increase your physical activity: Regular exercise is great for your mental health. Exercise can involve anything you enjoy doing that gets your heart pumping, such as swimming, bike riding, hiking, dancing, walking or cross-fit training.
- Get enough sleep: Adults need a minimum of seven hours of quality sleep per night to stay healthy. Stick to a regular sleep schedule and limit your use of electronics before bedtime.
- Spend time outdoors: Fresh air and sunshine can help improve your mood. Sunshine provides us with the vitamin D we need to keep our immune system strong while also protecting us from depression.
- Visit a day spa: Mental wellness gets a big boost when you indulge in a little self-pampering. Enjoy a guilt-free day at a local day spa. Reboot your spirit with a massage, sauna, Jacuzzi and facial.
- Change your diet: Nutrition has the power to impact our mental health. Consume more foods with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, walnuts, brussels sprouts and avocado.
- Nurture your relationships: Spending time with people you care about is extremely beneficial to mental health. Make it a point to reach out to the people who matter in your life on a regular basis.
- Volunteer: Shifting our attention away from ourselves and towards others helps lift our spirits. Seek out some volunteer work in your local community to make an impact in someone’s life.
- Rediscover your passions: We often neglect the activities or hobbies that we are passionate about. Make time in your day to rekindle those interests.
- Seek help if needed: This tip might be the hardest one to do, but it is ultimately the most important one. If you believe that you are in a mental health crisis and need professional support, do not hesitate to seek it out.
Take control of your mental health. Recognize when you need to prioritize mental health and treat yourself to some much-deserved self-care.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Our programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call 866-313-6307.