Maintaining good mental health is just as important as staying in good physical shape. Certain things like financial strain, marital issues, job stress and disruptive children are sometimes inevitable. Aside from finding new work, going to couple’s therapy and seeking out a child psychiatrist, here are 10 ways you can improve your mental health when times get tough:
1. Do more of what makes you happy. It may seem impossible, but schedule some time each day to do something that brings you joy. Simple things like taking 30 minutes every day to read a book or meeting a friend for coffee once a week will lower your stress levels and make the work you do seem worth it.
2. Set some goals for yourself. We are happiest when we are striving to better ourselves. If you don’t have any long-term plans, make some.
3. Volunteer. Volunteering your time can boost your self-esteem, and contributing to your community will make you feel good as well as genuinely help others.
4. Seek out support. Look into behavioral health services in your area. If life seems too stressful or you’re struggling with depression, group therapy sessions with those who understand what you’re going through can really help.
5. Slow down! Make an effort not to rush through life. Several times throughout your day, remind yourself to stop and enjoy the moment. If you’re stuck in traffic, turn on the radio. If you have pets, play with them.
6. Watch what you eat. While it’s true that a piece of cake or an ice cream cone might seem to improve your mood, having an overall healthy diet will do much better things for your mental health. Indulge now and then, but steer clear of too much processed food and sodium. Load up on the fruits and vegetables.
7. Keep only positive people in your life. Associating with the right people can do wonders for your mental health. Overly negative people are toxic, while happy, positive people will inspire you to be happy yourself. Everyone has their bad days, but if certain people in your life only complains and brings you down, cut them loose or see them less.
8. Quit smoking, binge drinking or doing drugs if you’re guilty of any of those habits. Any stress relief you feel will be temporary, and when the “high” wears off you’ll feel worse than before. You’ll achieve a much better frame of mind and live longer by changing your ways.
9. Get plenty of rest. Sleep is essential for your physical and mental well-being.
10. Ask for help, and not just professional help. If you’re overwhelmed, set up a chore schedule and have your family pitch in—or hire a cleaning service. If you take on too much at work, see if you can delegate some tasks to others. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it.