Many of us are feeling the toll that the pandemic has had on our mental health. It’s exhausting getting used to new health and safety rules, new working conditions and with the constant worry of sickness looming overhead. You may feel your stress and anxiety has reached its peak! Now is the best time to take important steps to prioritize your mental health in the New Year.
Ten Ways to Put Your Mental Health First
You may have heard the phrase “self-care” bouncing around these days. And for good reason! “Self-care” refers to all the kind things you can do to reach and maintain your best health. It includes small daily actions that help you live your best life, both inside and out. Follow these ten tips to take care of your mental health in 2022:
- Get enough sleep. This may seem easier said than done when you’re faced with stress and anxiety, which can keep you awake at night. Wind down an hour before bed, avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening, and keep your room cool, dark, and comfortable. This will help you enjoy much-needed sleep, which is good for your overall health.
- Eat well. Eating a healthy diet helps you feel better, making you better able to handle daily challenges. Stick to a diet full of fresh produce, lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Avoid processed and high-salt or high-sugar foods and drinks.
- Exercise. Physical activity is a natural stress reliever and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Experts recommend getting active on most days of the week for about 30 minutes, but any activity you can fit in will help. Of course, check with your doctor before you start any exercise plan.
- Spend time outside. The fresh air and natural surroundings are simple medicine for your mind and soul. When you’re feeling stress or anxiety, take a walk outside or just step outside for some deep breaths.
- Meditate. Deep breathing and mediation are proven ways to help you relax when you’re feeling worked up. If you’ve never meditated before, try an app to get started.
- Stay connected. Having a support network definitely helps when you need to get something off your chest, share your thoughts and concerns, or have a good cry. Keep in contact with friends, coworkers, family members, and other loved ones, and reach out when you need to talk.
- Find a professional. It also helps to talk to a professional if you’re struggling with your emotional health. Check with your health insurance company to see what options you may have or Google local providers in your area. You may be able to choose from phone, video, text or in-person consults depending on what is available to you.
- Stay away from tech. Social media, internet news stories, and keeping up with email and text messages can be exhausting. Give yourself a break from technology every day to unwind and clear your head.
- Avoid alcohol. You may think it will help ease your stress, but the exact opposite is true. Alcohol is a depressant that can make you feel worse, as well as disrupt your sleep and lead to dehydration and weight gain—none of which are good for your health.
- Be informed. Need ideas to help you blow off steam and calm down? Check with your support network and stay up to date on mental health topics for ways to support your best mental health.
It’s worth the effort to feel your best
It’s never over-indulgent to take good care of yourself. Remember that you’ll be able to give your best to others, like your spouse, friends, pets and children, when you’re feeling well and in good mental health.
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