We know it’s important to take care of ourselves physically – we have to eat right, get some exercise and get a sufficient amount of rest each night in order to function properly the next day. But what do we do when it comes to our mental health? There are many factors that contribute to mental health and finding the right balance is different for everyone. The tips below are useful for improving your mental health overall and keeping a great mindset.
There’s no doubt that sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. During sleep, our body helps regulate the chemicals in our brain that transmit information. Ever wonder why you can’t remember some things when you’re a bit tired? The chemicals that do this are incredibly important in managing moods, emotions and our overall wellbeing. If we have bad sleeping patterns for long periods of time, it can start to make us feel negative emotions, and has the potential to bring depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses into our life.
Exercise is known to help reduce depression, stress, and anxiety, as well as improve moods. Keeping active directly affects the chemicals in the brain. It promotes the delivery of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, as well as neurohormones that support neuron signalling, growth and connectivity. Quite great, right? Exercise can be used as a self-help remedy for mild depression and anxiety or in a combination with other treatment methods too!
Learning how to manage stress is different for us all, as there are various scenarios which can cause it. Whether you’re stressed at work, home, or anywhere else, there are methods and techniques you can use to reduce your stress so it does not have a major impact on your mental health.
Learning what triggers stress in you is a great starting point. It may seem daunting tackling problems in your life, but it helps to write them down to come to the best possible solution for yourself. Because stress can have a major impact on sleep and disrupt our normal daily functions, it should be dealt with sooner rather than later. Fortunately, stress management techniques can greatly improve daily life.
We all need some Vitamin D. It’s an important vitamin to help keep our bones healthy, and most of us get it from the sun! If you didn’t already know, Vitamin D actually helps our brains to release chemicals that improve our mood. These are known as endorphins and serotonin. It’s recommended that 30 minutes up to 2 hours a day of sunlight is ideal, but when the seasons change and sunlight varies, it can bring about seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is a form of depression that usually hits in winter, when sunlight is reduced. Several remedies, including light boxes and special alarm clocks can help alleviate the symptoms of SAD.
A healthy balanced diet also contributes to our moods and energy levels. It’s important to not consume too much sugar. As our blood sugar drops we are left feeling tired, with a low mood. By consuming foods that release energy slowly, it will help keep sugar levels steady throughout the day.
Many of us skip breakfast, but it is and always will be the most important meal of the day. There are many on-the-go breakfast meals that you can now take with you, such as granola bars, yogurt, and instant oatmeal packs, if you’re not one to eat early in the morning. Fruits and vegetables should be on your list, as they include minerals, vitamins and fiber, which keep us physically and mentally healthy.
To learn more about healthy eating, this website from the UK provides some useful tips: Mind for Better Mental Health.
Avoid Smoking, Drugs & Alcohol
Smoking, drugs and alcohol are not great for us physically or mentally. In regards to alcohol, when we’ve had a few drinks it can leave us feeling anxious and not so good the next day. The same applies to drugs. Excessive drinking over a long period of time can cause thiamine deficiency – low levels of this can impair brain function, such as memory, and can cause coordination problems, confusion and even affect the eyes.
All these substances are bad for our health. They contribute massively to low moods, anxiety, depression and lots more mental health problems.
Knowing what you want to achieve in every aspect of life is wonderful and can be quite motivational. However, goals must be realistic. The reason being, if our goals are out of reach, it puts pressure and potential stress on our shoulders to complete them within a particular timeframe. Let’s look at stress in the workplace as an example: you have six reports to do, each of which takes 2 hours to complete. Scheduling them to be completed by midday is pretty much impossible, unless you were Superman… or The Flash.
By setting realistic and reachable goals, it will provide a great sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you progress. This reduces stress and increases confidence, so it’s a win-win for you.
We understand there is a stigma surrounding mental health and seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but strength. The tips in this article only act as a brief guide to improving your mental health.
Author Bio: Abbie Faulkner is a passionate writer, with a love for educating and storytelling. When not in front of a computer, she loves to test her skills in interior design and supporting local mental health charities.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.