Frequently, a lot of emphases is put on people’s physical health and the importance of eating well, exercising often and getting enough sleep to prevent our bodies from falling into disrepair. Up until rather recently, it seemed like mental health wasn’t ever at the center of conversation – it was often taken for granted, misunderstood or just plain ignored.
The reality is mental health is just as important as physical health. After all, if someone is struggling with depression, it might be very challenging for them to pursue healthy habits like daily exercise. Individuals battling anxiety or struggling with intense grief might not be able to sleep for as long as their body needs, through no fault of their own.
While it’s vital to keep up with the physical needs of our bodies, it could be arguably more important to meet the needs of our mental health. If our mental health is stable, we’ll be in a better frame of mind to pursue those healthy habits for good physical wellness.
But where to start? What are some basic ways to begin prioritizing mental health?
Mental health tips
Looking after your mental health is self-care, but it’s more than just treating yourself to your favorite cold brew. While self-care is an important part of mental wellness, it’s not just what is stereotypically considered #selfcare. It’s much more focused on being tuned in to the needs of your body and mind and making sure those needs are met in a healthy, productive way.
Pray, meditate or reflect
Praying, meditating or reflecting has more benefits than can be mentioned here, no matter which method you prefer. Praying and meditating allows you to connect with a higher power, helping you to realize that there are some things over which you have no control. This can bring an immense sense of peace knowing you don’t have to stress over things completely out of your hands.
You can pray, meditate or reflect anywhere you feel relaxed and peaceful, be it the beach, a mountain top or your own front porch. You can journal about your successes, what you learned from your failures; you can write down three things you’re grateful for every day; you can consider goals you want to achieve, changes you want to make, and the steps you want to take to get there. No matter what or how you choose to reflect, taking the time to do so will remove you from the busyness of life for a few moments and allow you to just be in peace and silence.
Move through a yoga flow
If you’ve never practiced yoga, that’s completely fine. If you’re a seasoned yogi, you get it. Yoga is good for your mind and your body all at once. A yoga flow is simply a practice of linked poses and breathing exercises designed to work your body and calm your mind.
There are dozens of yoga apps online designed for at-home yoga practices, so you can stay in your comfy place and comfy clothes if you prefer. If studio yoga with an instructor is better for your accountability, search for yoga studios near you. Even a class once a week can put you into a better frame of mind.
Go for a walk
It doesn’t even have to be a power walk. Just strolling down the sidewalk without a real destination in mind can be rejuvenating. If there’s a bike trail or park nearby, consider utilizing the walking trails. Maybe you have a favorite outdoor shopping district nearby? Even just wandering from window to window can be a relaxing way to get out of the house and recenter yourself.
Ditch your device
Feeling attached to your phone 24/7 isn’t healthy. Consider doing a detox day, or even just a few detox hours, where you abandon your phone in another room and do something without it. It will help you focus on the task at hand without distractions, allow you to work faster, and give you peace of mind knowing you don’t have to be available to the beck and call of every blinking notification.
Do something artistic
Art therapy is a real thing for various reasons. It’s relaxing, it allows you to exercise control over the medium and it provides a safe space where you can work through emotions, feelings and thoughts entirely uninhibited. Whether you prefer drawing, painting, crafting, dancing, singing or playing an instrument, consider carving time into your schedule to work on some form of art at least a few times a week.
Take control over your mental health
Mental health looks different for everyone based on your own personal needs, likes and dislikes. If reading a book is more stressful than relaxing, that’s ok! Reading isn’t the only way to rest. If you prefer to do your self-care/mental healthcare routine in the morning versus the evening, that’s equally good. Whether you decide to start the day, close the day or break up the day with a little meditation, yoga or art therapy is completely up to you. So long as you take the time to tend to your mental health and partake in activities that will truly help reach this goal, you’re off to a great start.
For further assistance in managing your mental health, or for counseling services, reach out to Silvermist Recovery to talk with a mental health professional today at 724-268-4858.