Caring for your mental health

Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being and is essential to your overall health and quality of life. Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health.

Self-care is crucial to maintaining your mental health and helping to support your treatment and recovery if you have a mental illness. Self-care includes taking the time to do things that improve both your physical and mental health to help you live your best life. Engaging in self-care supports you in managing stress and lowering your risk of illness and has also been clinically proven to:

  • Increase happiness
  • Improve energy
  • Improve concentration
  • Reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression
  • Improve energy

Even engaging in small acts of self-care such as learning a new skill, doing an outdoor activity, or meditating regularly can have a big impact.

Self-care Activities for Mental Health

Make sleep a priority – getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Poor sleep is linked to mental health problems like stress and anxiety and physical problems like a weak immune system. Stick to a regular sleep routine.

Appreciate yourself – self-esteem can lead to better health and social behavior. Write down three things you appreciate about yourself and add to the list regularly to boost your self-esteem.

Set goals – prioritize and keep a list. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when you get things done and check items off your list. Learn to say “no” if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Eat regular healthy meals – eating healthy food will help you focus, keep you energized, and will reduce mood fluctuations.

Listen to uplifting music – when music enters your brain, it triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy.

Exercise regularly – walking for even thirty minutes a day will elevate your mood and help alleviate stress. Start slowly and work your way up — you’ll notice a big difference.

Practice gratitude – write down at least one thing you’re grateful for each day and be specific. Do this every night or every morning.

Stay hydrated – limiting caffeinated and high-sugar beverages while drinking plenty of water every day will increase your focus and energy.

Practice mindfulness – mindfulness practice helps you live in the moment and pay attention to the present moment without judgement. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing exercises, guided imagery, and other practices to relax your body and mind and help reduce anxiety, stress, insomnia, high blood pressure, and depression.

Avoid alcohol and drugs – they actually increase anxiety and depression.

Covid-19 and Mental Health

Turning to substances like alcohol or drugs to alleviate your symptoms can make you feel worse.

People with substance use disorders are likely to have worse outcomes if they get COVID-19. Addictions can weaken the immune system and cause chronic conditions such as lung or heart disease which increase the risk of serious complications from COVID-19.

It’s important to learn self-care strategies during this time and to reach out to a health care professional if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

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