Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health. When your mental health is at its optimal level, it can help you cope with stress in a healthy manner, make meaningful relationships, be more productive at work, realize your full potential, make better decisions and choice, and be physically healthier. Yet, most people don’t pay their mental health the attention it deserves.
The good news is that taking care of your mental health is a lot easier than you think. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or starve yourself to boost your mental health. Instead, incorporating some of these small activities into your daily life can be very beneficial.
Start Your Day with Coffee
Coffee may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of mental health, but its consumption is actually linked to lower rates of depression. It is important to remember that too much coffee can have an adverse effect and actually increase your anxiety levels. However, two to three cups of coffee throughout the day can be beneficial for your mental health. If the caffeine is too much for you, you can also opt for other good-for-you drinks, such as green tea, chamomile tea, or matcha tea.
As discussed earlier, you don’t have to spend hours at the gym to improve your mental health. However, staying active can certainly prove to be immensely beneficial. Exercise has shown to release endorphins – the feel good hormone.
Exercise can boost your self-esteem, help you concentrate, regulate your sleep cycle, and make you feel better overall. Staying active doesn’t just mean hitting the gym 6 times a day. The following activities also work very well in releasing endorphins if working out isn’t your thing.
- Walking in the park.
- Cleaning the house
- Walking a pet
Basically, anything that gets you moving can work. Try to incorporate 30 to 45 minutes of activity in your day at least 5 times a week.
Pay Attention to Your Diet
Food has a much bigger effect on your mental health than you may believe. In order to stay healthy and function well, your brain needs a mix of nutrients. Different foods take different times to react. For instance, sugar and caffeine are an immediate effect, whereas fibre and probiotics may take longer to digest.
A balanced diet isn’t just great for your physical health but can also boost your mental health. This means you should include different types of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, oily fish, lean protein, nuts, and seeds in your diet for optimal results. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water with it.
Take a Break
Sometimes, all you need is a change of pace to calm your mind. It could be a 15-minute break from your household chores, a one-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend where you explore a new place. You can also take a more extended vacation if you feel the need or just want to do it. A few minutes where you allow yourself to just be can be enough to de-stress you.
Taking a break may mean different things for different people. Some may want to take a run in the park. Whiles others would just want to lay in their bed. You may want to enjoy a nice, warm meal, or unwind with a book. Do whatever makes you feel calm and relaxed so that you can just let your thought flow. There are no wrong answers here.
Learn a New Activity
Learning a new activity – no matter what it is – is always fun and can be very beneficial for your mental health. It’s time to take out that guitar you bought in the sophomore year that had been collecting dust ever since or brushing up your drawing skills.
You can also participate in a new sport, take up a new craft, or even knit. You don’t even have to be that good at the activity. Just trying something new can give your brain the boost it needs. Over time, if you are able to develop a new skill, that would be another plus.
This may seem a little vague and pretentious, but having a positive outlook on life can be very powerful. It is vital to remember that staying positive doesn’t mean that you will never have negative thoughts or emotions. You will. It is impossible never to feel emotions such as anger or sadness.
However, you don’t want these negative emotions to take over your mind. If you keep dwelling on these thoughts, you may find yourself drowning in the negativity. Therefore, it is essential to find a healthy balance between your positive and negative emotions. When you have positive emotions, try to hold on to them a little longer.
And when you inevitably have negative emotions, try to sit your way through them calmly, instead of lashing out at others or yourself. If required, take a break from negative information such as news and try to avoid unnecessary arguments when you can. Making these small changes can help you go a long way.
As you can see, none of these activities requires you to go out of your way or spend humungous amounts of money. All you need to do is make tiny, doable changes to your life, and you’ll start to feel better.