A major spotlight has been placed on mental health in recent years. In fact, people have focused so much on it that it's almost starting to feel like a catchy trend. That being said, there's nothing catchy or trendy about staying healthy mentally.
In previous lifetimes, if your stomach was upset you went to a doctor and did something about it. On the other hand, if you continuously felt anxious and nervous, you held it in and tried to figure it out on your own. It's not the best medical advice. We, of course, know better today than we did in the past. It's not good to bottle up one's emotions and try to "just deal with it."
However, that's not to say you can't be active about your mental health either. You don't have to sit back and wait for negative feelings to catch up with you. There are certain things you can do right now that will help you remain mentally healthy. Below are a list of tips and lifestyle changes you can make to ensure you're in tiptop shape mentally!
Stay Physically Active
It's always incredible to notice how one aspect of our body is connected to another. In this instance, our physical health can absolutely dictate our mental health. The more active you are the better you feel. That's because, according to experts, exercise releases chemicals in your brain known as endorphins that make you feel good. Not to mention, regular exercise can boost your self-esteem. It's hard to feel down on yourself when you know you're always working hard to improve the number of miles you can walk or the amount of weights you can lift. It's one of the reasons we encourage people to come take a walk in our cemeteries.
Just 30 minutes of light walking can do great things for your physical and mental health.
If you want to remain mentally strong you have to become physically strong. Not in the same vein as "World's Strongest Man," strong, but there's nothing wrong with picking up some walking shoes rather than a remote.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is another crucial aspect when it comes to improving your mental health. And, of course, it's aided by physical activity. There's nothing quite like a good night's rest after a fairly strenuous workout. When your body is tired your brain turns off quicker. This allows you to get to sleep quicker and have your brain reach the REM cycle of sleep. It's in this stage where your body recovers the most and lets you wake up feeling fully refreshed, which is important for staying in a good mood. How many of us have had a bad night's sleep and hear that alarm clock much too soon? You're immediately in a bad mood. That's going to happen from time to time. And that's okay! However, by exercising a little more, that will happen a little less frequently.
Of course, you don't have to lift weights every day or head to the track every night to get a good rest. Sometimes a healthy sleep schedule is enough to ensure eight hours of sleep every night. In order to accomplish this, you need to stick to a specific routine. Whatever you'd like! Just stick to it. The key aspect is that you're always in bed at the same time. This will help notify your brain that it's bedtime, and it will do the rest from there. Also, here's another important tip: No screens before bed. The blue light really wakes up your brain. So if you read emails before bed or just like to watch videos on your phone, you might have to remove this from your sleep routine. Try reading a book or writing in a journal instead.
Find Hobbies You Love
It has been tough the last year or so to accomplish this. Quarantine has severely hindered our ability to step outside (literally and metaphorically) and find something that we truly love to do. We've all had to find something that we can do inside our homes. This may include sewing, knitting, painting, drawing, writing and other activities along those lines. Now, we can't tell you what will leave you feeling fulfilled. That's up to you to decide. However, we can tell you that there are plenty of tutorials online that will help you learn a new instrument, make jewelry, and plenty of other enjoyable activities to try. So if you're feeling a little uninspired and simply cannot binge one more Netflix show, try exploring a new hobby. It will leave you feeling accomplished and exciting to be learning something new.
Connect With Others
We, as humans, are social creatures. So it's very important to have strong, healthy relationships with others. It's who we are down to our own DNA. Having good social support may help protect you against the harms of stress. Unfortunately, this has been something that has been incredibly difficult to accomplish during quarantine. Obviously over the last year, we've been instructed to remain at home away from our family and friends in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. That being said, there are still plenty of ways to connect with others during this pandemic. Zoom and other online video conferencing programs have grown to become all the rage. And while it would be nice to physically be present with our loved ones and give them a hug, conversing over video is still helpful when it comes to connecting. All you really need is a computer with a camera and a microphone. Programs like Zoom and Google Meet are free, you just need an email address to sign up. If you have those things, you're right on your way to conversing with your friends and family and protecting your mental health!