Seven Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health
There’s a cliché that goes “you can’t give what you don’t have.” This is also why you have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of others, including the people you love. And when we say take care of yourself, we mean your overall health, including your mental health, which entails your psychological, emotional and social welfare. It affects how you feel, think, behave, make decisions and connect with others.
Why Take Care of Your Mental Health?
Being intentional in taking care of your mental health can help you:
- Prevent the onset of mental illnesses
- Become physically healthy (because too much stress and other mental health concerns can contribute to various types of diseases)
- Keep healthy relationships
- Learn how to deal with the stresses of life in a healthy way
- Realize your highest potential
- Make a positive impact on the people around you
How to Take Care of Your Mental Health
There are countless ways to maintain good mental health. What matters most is what works for you, so we encourage you to explore various ways to keep your mind healthy such as the following:
Think of good things that happen to you on a daily basis. They don’t have to be grand all the time. You can be grateful for simple things like the good weather, meeting an old friend or finishing a task. You can also write them down so you can easily look back on them when you’re not feeling your best.
Acknowledge what you feel.
Do not beat yourself up when you don’t feel like what you think you’re supposed to feel. You’re human so it’s okay to feel things. Also, avoid bottling up your emotions. Speak with someone you trust or a professional if you think you can no longer handle your emotions.
Get enough sleep.
Sleep can make a great impact on your mood. When you don’t get quality sleep, you may get annoyed faster than usual. Continuous lack of sleep can also increase your risk for depression and other mental health conditions. As much as possible, stick with a sleep schedule and avoid things that can make it harder for you to fall asleep such as blue light exposure from gadgets.
Stay physically active.
Exercising is a great way to release tension and negative emotions, even if it means walking for just a few minutes a day. It can also help improve your mood, focus and decision making.
Eat nutritious food.
Not getting certain nutrients (i.e., vitamin B12) may contribute to mental conditions such as depression, so eat healthy. It can also help decrease stress and anxiety and improve your mood.
This can help you stay mentally focused and improve your energy levels the whole day. Try to limit your caffeine intake though as high doses of caffeine may keep you tense as well as aggravate anxiety or nervousness.
Find time to relax.
If you’re not yet sure which healthy relaxation strategies would work for you, you can try yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, journaling or listening to music. You can also switch them up from time to time, whatever works for you.
When to Seek Professional Help
Just like physical health, seeking care early can help you prevent various types of mental health conditions. Please see a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms for an extended period of time (two weeks or more):
- Sleeping difficulties
- Changes in appetite that result in significant weight gain or weight loss
- Not wanting to get out of bed
- Extreme mood swings
- Significant changes in behavior (i.e., angry outbursts)
- Concentrating difficulties
- Neglect of hygiene or grooming
- Loss of interest in doing the things you used to enjoy
- Inability to perform day to day tasks or responsibilities
Meanwhile, if you or someone you know have thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please call 911 immediately. Your life matters.
National Institute of Mental Health
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Center for Biotechnology Information