Working on mental health may, at times, feel like an all or nothing endeavor. However, like all things in life, it is the small but consistent habits that shape the outcome. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, consider adopting one or more of these five daily habits to improve your overall mental health.
Five Daily Habits to Improve Your Mental Health
Perhaps nothing else could be as biochemically relevant to your happiness and overall well-being as sleep. While individual needs vary between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, universally all human beings require sleep to reset. From brain chemistry to metabolism to cellular regeneration to emotional resilience, sleep is the great refresh.
More to the point, sleep deprivation leads to a feeling of lack, low energy, and fear. It can cause us to reach for sugar more and be more defensive with those around us. In particular, sleep deprivation wears on preexisting anxiety and depression. That is why the best habit to work on is sleep.
If you find it hard to fall asleep, try creating a soothing bedroom environment. Think about reducing noise and extra light or maybe updating your bed sheet with a more modern take on the usual sheets, something stretchy, soft, and breathable.
2. Healthy Breakfast
Proper nutrition is key to ensuring long-lasting mental health. Moreover, the simple act of making a special breakfast for yourself cultivates intention and promotes self-care. To take some of the stress out, plan out what you would like the night before. It does not have to be an intricate five-star meal, but it can be. Choose a meal that is nourishing to you! While you should consider how much time you have in a hectic morning, consider, too, that you deserve to have a decent meal.
With its ability to release undue tension, activate positive endorphins, and improve our physical health, exercise is a daily go-to for mental health, as well. While there are several guidelines about the type, amount, and rigor needed to achieve measurable gains, the truth is that you should do something that makes you feel good. Don’t get too overwhelmed with how long it takes or if you work up a sweat. Just find an activity that gets you moving and that is outside of your typical environment. It could be that you find this by pumping iron at the gym. Also, you could go for a walk with a family member, do some yoga, or find a fun workout video from the ’80s.
Self-care of any form is a great daily habit to build in an effort to improve your mental health. Whether you choose to journal, video chat with a friend, paint, or something else, doing things simply because they feel good will boost your overall well-being. To your list of self-care, consider massage. With several benefits, massage is a well-known stress reliever. Among other things, it can ease the pressures of reoccurring headaches, depression, and anxiety.
Getting a massage does not have to mean going to a specialized massage therapist. While it is excellent to include weekly or monthly trips to a masseuse, similar benefits may be received at home. There are many massaging items on the market today. Try to find one that you feel most likely to use every day. Maybe opt for a water-based foot massager, a muscle-relaxing foam roller, or a soothing roll-on gel.
Mental health problems can sometimes trigger hurtful and debilitating internal chatter. Meditation offers a great way to quiet some of that monologuing. Like with everything else in this list, take this process slowly and customize it to your preferences. Try simply sitting comfortably for two minutes while listening to nature sounds. You might also try repeating a mantra out loud or practicing a breathing exercise. There are several options out there nowadays to cultivate your own meditation practice. The key is to keep trying things until you find what works for you, keeping in mind that that might change from day-to-day.
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