It’s normal for people to experience challenges with mental health, and incorporating small changes into your lifestyle can make a big difference in how you cope with these struggles. Here are three simple ways for you to start improving your mental health and wellbeing.
1. Practice Self Care
Self-care is essential to mental health, helping you to relax, re-energize and stay connected to yourself. It’s important to take time out of your day to relax, such as engaging in activities you enjoy or taking a comfortable bath. Additionally, setting healthy boundaries and communicating your needs can help you stay grounded. Here’s a list of more self-care activities you can try:
- Yoga and meditation
- Spending time outdoors
- Talking to a trusted friend or therapist
- Writing and journaling
- Playing enjoyable music
2. Incorporate Healthy Habits
Part of managing your emotional wellbeing is helping your body to stay healthy too. Eating a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly can help you to stay balanced and better manage stress. Here are some tips for incorporating healthy habits:
- Start a sleep routine and aim for seven to nine hours per night
- Make time for meals each day, focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables
- Fit in short workouts throughout the week, such as jogging or stretching
- Limit the amount of caffeine, alcohol and excess sugar you intake
- Reduce digital stimulation in the evenings by turning off electronics two hours before bed
3. Create a Support Network
Offering and accepting support from your social network is a huge part of maintaining good mental health. Isolating yourself is not healthy and talking to others can help you to feel better and express yourself freely. Connecting with supportive and positive people can help you to stay mindful and cope with life’s challenges. Here are some ways to build a healthy support network:
- Reach out to old friends or family members who have a positive influence
- Volunteer in the community to connect with others
- Explore online forums, meetup groups and support organizations
- Ask for help when you are struggling and be open to being supported by others
- Share your unique gifts, talents and experiences with others to build meaningful connections
Caring for your mental health is a lifelong journey and the support of others can make a huge difference in how you cope with life’s struggles. Give yourself the time and energy to practice self-care, incorporate healthy habits and create a support network. Doing this will help you to feel better about yourself and manage your wellbeing.
What activities can I do to improve my mental health and wellbeing?
1. Get plenty of sleep: Make sure you get adequate sleep each night; this allows your brain and body to rest and recover from the day.
2. Exercise: Exercise regularly or try new activities, such as walking, running, swimming, and yoga. Exercise helps to reduce stress and boost mood.
3. Eat a healthy diet: A balanced diet helps keep your energy levels up and provides essential nourishment for your body and brain.
4. Practice relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, and mindfulness can help reduce stress and calm your mind.
5. Connect with family and friends: Reach out to loved ones, either in person or over the phone. Being social can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
6. Take time out: Make time to engage in activities that bring joy, such as listening to music, reading, art, and gardening.
7. Write down your thoughts: Writing can help you work through feelings and make sense of worries.
8. Seek professional help: If your mental health is severely affecting your day-to-day life, seek help from a mental health professional.
What types of exercise can help improve my mental health and wellbeing?
1. Cardio: Cardio, or aerobic exercise, gets your heart rate up and is great for decreasing stress and improving mood. Examples include walking, running, swimming, biking, and boxing.
2. Strength Training: Strength training builds muscle and helps reduce muscle tension. It also releases endorphins, which can reduce stress and boost your overall mood.
3. Yoga: Yoga is a type of exercise that combines physical, mental and spiritual components. It can help with improving your physical and mental health by increasing flexibility and focus, and reducing stress.
4. Stretching: Stretching increases circulation and helps relax the body and mind. It can improve your range of motion and flexibility.
5. Meditation: Meditating helps clear your mind and helps reduce stress and improve focus.
6. Tai Chi: Tai chi is a form of exercise that combines slow, graceful moves with deep breathing. It can help balance your mind and body, and improve mental clarity.
“How much exercise should I do for mental health and wellbeing?”
The amount of exercise you should do for mental health and wellbeing depends on factors such as your age, physical abilities, and existing exercise habits. Some experts recommend that adults should aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week to boost mental health and wellbeing. Different types of exercise can be beneficial in different ways — for example aerobic exercise, such as running or dancing, may help to improve mood and reduce stress, while strength training and stretching exercises can help to improve body image and self-esteem. Other activities that can help with mental health and wellbeing include yoga and mindfulness. Ultimately, what matters most is doing activities that you enjoy and will stick with — and finding the right balance for you.