5 things to do every day for a healthier mind
I am totally not a therapist and I'm no where near an expert when it comes to mental health, BUT I have had multiple years of therapy, I've struggled and worked through a lot of anxiety and panic attacks, and probably talk about mental health more than your average friend ;)
So while I'm not an expert, I have gathered some tips from research, from professionals, and from others' and my personal experience when it comes to mental health.
As one therapist told me, mental health practices can be used in two ways: either as needed in the moment to take away symptoms immediately, and/or consistently over a longer period of time, to improve symptoms in the long run. These tips I've put together for your everyday life are the second kind. Even if you are not always struggling, practicing these strategies consistently will help you feel more grounded and in general feel better with time!
1. Get enough sleep.
Of course there are times when this just isn't practical (with a newborn baby, last minute work or school deadlines to hit, when traveling, etc.) but in general, work to get the amount of sleep you need to feel your best.
2. Get outside.
This doesn't have to be for hours at a time, but just go for a short walk or sit in the sunshine on your lunch break - anything to get some fresh air and Vitamin D and take in some greenery every day.
3. Drink water.
Honestly I have no idea how this works but I have been told time and time again to stay hydrated for a long list of both physical and mental health reasons. Just drink some water! Keep your favorite water bottle with you at your desk or in your car to make it easier to remember.
4. Meditate/do deep breathing.
This may be more intimidating than the other tips if you've never meditated before. I used to think meditation was anti-prayer or only for reeeeeally weird people, but I've found that it has a place in my life and can be SO helpful!
If you're looking for somewhere to start, I'd recommend downloading the Calm app and going through 7 Days of Calm. It's a good introduction to breathing techniques and helping you focus your mind.
5. Pay attention to when you feel best and go with it.
Do you crave alone time? Coffee dates with friends? Making art or playing an instrument? Reading? Exercising? Researching interesting topics?
Everyone is different in what makes them feel most themselves, so pay attention to when you feel your best. And don't feel guilty for scheduling this into your day! Your mental health is important.
Making time for these things will help you be the best spouse, friend, parent, or employee you can be and it is not selfish to prioritize yourself. Good luck and happy mental healthing!