Everyone should be concerned with their mental health. Even if you do not have a diagnosis such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder, it is important to take care of yourself psychologically. You want to be able to feel good about yourself and others, handle day-to-day difficulties, and manage your feelings in healthy ways.
You could, of course, talk to those closest to you or even seek professional help. But sometimes, it is important to take steps to improve your emotional health on your own. Here are simple ways you can be proactive with your mental health and start feeling better today.
1. Make better dietary choices
They say you are what you eat. What you consume on a daily basis can definitely have an impact on your mental health. Sugary, fatty foods often contain empty calories and lack the nutritional value that you need to feel energised.
Instead of reaching for these unhealthy options, make a conscious effort to eat more fruits and vegetables. Also, be sure to incorporate things like whole grains, fish, nuts and unsaturated fats into your diet. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. Never skip meals, as this will lead to grogginess, fatigue and ‘brain fog’.
2. Consider taking supplements
Maybe you aren’t getting all the nutrients you need from your regular diet. Those suffering from depression, for instance, often lack sufficient levels of vitamin D, folic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Superfoods are known for providing plentiful nutrients that improve your overall well-being. You could also take supplements such as haritaki. The herb is derived from the tree Terminalia Chebula and packed with nutrients such as vitamin C and iron. Haritaki is even said to have anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, and anti-diabetic properties.
3. Incorporate exercise into your routine
The last thing you feel like doing after a long day is hitting the gym. It might be hard to initially get out the door, but once you start moving, your body and mind will be thanking you.
When you work out, your body releases mood-boosting endorphins that are especially effective at relieving stress. You should try to set aside at least half an hour a day for exercise. Exercising outside is even better, as exposure to sunlight allows you to soak up extra vitamin D.
If you are finding it difficult to work out every day, try incorporating exercise into your routine in small ways. At work, take the stairs instead of the lift, or park further away from the entrance to get those extra steps in.
4. Get enough sleep
The general consensus is that the amount of sleep you get can directly affect your mood. Most adults need around 8 hours of sleep each night.
It is also important not to get too much sleep. Plan to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. By having a regular sleep schedule, you’ll likely find yourself feeling more rested. Practise good habits to fall asleep easier. Avoid electronics at least an hour before bed, and save caffeinated drinks for the next day.
5. Take a break
Life can be overwhelming sometimes. It is perfectly fine for you to take a step back and allow yourself to relax. Practise breathing exercises, as they are a great way to relieve stress quickly. Find someone in your life that you can talk to and let them know how you are doing. Most importantly, never be afraid to ask for help.
By following these simple tips, you can be proactive and start improving your mental health one day at a time.
Wendy Whitehead worked as a teaching assistant at two special needs schools in London before embarking on a different career as a marketing consultant. Her passion for special education still remains with her, however. She is passionate about mental health and well-being and she write articles in these areas. Wendy did her undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Leicester. She later on did a short course in counselling from the University of Hertfordshire.
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