Mental health is an integral part of our general wellness. However, many people fail to take care of it. Since the signs of mental health decline aren’t always apparent, they are easy to ignore. In a world filled with stress and pressure, here are seven ways to protect your mental health.
Stay away from drugs and alcohol
The effects of drugs and alcohol are not just physical. They can be mental too. After having some drinks, you are likely to feel anxious and confused the next day. It may not be easy to concentrate on your regular tasks. Excessive drinking for an extended period may cause thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is responsible for brain function, and its deficiency can trigger confusion, poor coordination, and severe memory problems.
If you smoke or consume other drugs, you may experience symptoms like paranoia, anxiety, low moods, and irritability.
Get enough sunshine
The sun is an excellent source of vitamin D. The important vitamin is beneficial for both the body and brain. It promotes the release of serotonin, endorphins, and other chemicals that boost your mood and foster a sense of well-being. Wear sunscreen and spend at least 30 minutes in the sun every day. When out in the sun, remember to keep your eyes and skin safe.
Medical experts report that some people may experience signs of depression during the winter. This type of depression is known as a seasonal affective disorder. Using a light-therapy lamp may help.
Exercise promotes good mental health by reducing the signs of depression and anxiety. It improves cognitive function, self-esteem, and good moods. According to the team at workouthq.org, the improvements in mood after exercise result from improved blood circulation to the brain. Influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis causes a physiologic reaction to stress.
Exercise can promote more explicit memories and thoughts. Since endorphins make you feel good, they can encourage fast brain cell growth and fight some signs of aging. Exercise can also help you sleep better at night, which is good for your mental and physical wellness.
Deal with stress in healthy ways
Find healthy ways to deal with stress and quiet your mind after a long day. Stress is a normal part of life, and it can be beneficial if handled well. Some of the best ways to manage stress include nature walks, yoga, journal writing, and playing with your pets. Do things that make you happy, and take a break when you need it.
Relaxation exercises can improve your outlook on life and state of mind. Studies suggest that meditation can promote the effects of therapy. It can promote a sense of wellness and general well-being.
Even though social media is great for socialisation and establishing connections, it can be a monster too. Spending too much time on social media can affect your emotional and mental health. If you spend too much time on social media sites, it may affect your ability to socialise in real life. You may fall victim to the pressures on social media platforms.
If you are struggling to limit your time on social media, consider deleting the apps from your phone. Set phone-free zones and be strict about them. They may include your bedroom and dining table. Where necessary, disable your accounts temporarily.
Get enough rest
Getting enough rest will improve your mental health. If you are already struggling with mental health issues, getting some rest can make them better. Irregular sleeping patterns may be an early indication of depressive disorders. Many people with depression and anxiety may also have hypersomnia or insomnia.
Studies suggest that 50–90% of adults with mental illnesses may also have sleep problems. If you have trouble falling asleep, consider reevaluating your routine. Avoid caffeinated drinks close to your bedtime, take warm baths and chamomile tea, and improve your sleep environment. Seek medical attention if necessary.
Ask for help
If you need help, don’t be afraid to seek it. There is no shame in needing mental health help. Instead of suffering in silence, seek help from your loved ones or mental health experts. It is impossible to navigate the journey on your own.
Set realistic expectations for your recovery and be patient with yourself. If you fall short of expectations, do not be too critical. Acknowledge what you have accomplished and prepare to do better in the future. Avoid comparing yourself with others, and celebrate accomplishments no matter how small they may be.
There are many ways to take care of your mental well-being. From exercise to getting enough sleep and managing stress, the options are endless. If you need help, get the opinion of a specialist.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg.
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