Today’s theme for National Prevention Week focuses on promoting mental health and wellness. There are many ways to give your mental health and wellness a boost that you can work into your daily schedule. Below are some quick tips that you can start with today!
- Start your day by setting some goals and make a plan to accomplish them. Whether you write it down on a piece of paper or make a mental note, setting goals and planning your day is a great way to help get you motivated. However, make sure your goals are realistic. A great approach to making goals is the SMART method. Make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (include target dates). The next phase is planning out the steps to achieve those goals. What resources do you need to complete them? Who can help you achieve these goals?
- Exercise. It is recommended that you get 15 – 30 minutes of exercise a day. If that seems like too much for your schedule, even squeezing in a 5 – 10 minute walk during your workday or in the evening can still be beneficial. Exercise can help reduce stress and alleviate anxiety. It can also boost brain power and sharpen your memory by creating new brain cells. Exercise can also increase your self-esteem and improve your body image, and best of all, help you get a more restful night’s sleep! With summer around the corner, there are a lot of opportunities to participate in 5K run/walks. Bacon Street Youth and Family Services will be hosting our annual Run For The Bacon 5K and Family Fun Fest on June 2nd! For more info, click here.
- Go outside. Being outdoors can help reduce your stress levels. Green space also boosts your immunity. 10 – 15 minutes of exposure to sunshine will increase your Vitamin D levels, which has been shown to decrease depression, better regulate behavior, and increase cognitive performance. Find a new bike or hiking trail to visit, walk your neighborhood or a different part of your community. But don’t forget your sunscreen!
- Eat well. Eating a balanced diet is important for overall wellness and your mental health. You should never skip breakfast. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and unsaturated fats. People who follow this kind of diet are up to 30% less likely to develop depression than people who eat a lot of meat and dairy products. Vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals help nourish your brain. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
- Do a good deed. Volunteering, mentoring, and donating to others all help with your own personal mental health. It helps reduce stress levels and can boost your mood. If you are feeling isolated, volunteering is a great way to connect with others within your community. If you are feeling lost, it can give you a sense of purpose. Even simple acts of kindness, such as holding the door for someone, can give you a little mood boost.
- Laugh. It has always been said that laughter is the best medicine. It is a great way to reduce stress and help you relax. Whether you have a good laugh with a friend or giggle for hours watching videos on YouTube, never underestimate the effect that laughter can have on your mood and mental health!
- Try something new. Go outside of your comfort zone and try something new! Try new recipes, take a new exercise or cooking class, explore new places, etc. If it feels like you are stuck in the same old cycle, break up the monotony by trying a new activity.
- Or devote more time to the activities and hobbies you love. Perhaps there’s a hobby or activity you love but haven’t the opportunity to do in awhile. Make time to get back to the things you enjoy, and the things that make you, you!
- Be present. Sometimes, you just need to put down the electronics and be present in the moment. Whether you are sitting down for dinner with your family or meeting up with a friend for lunch, ditch your phone and don’t try to multitask by sending emails or thinking about all of the other things you need to accomplish next. Give them your full attention and be present.
- Find the good and positivity in situations. Maybe things just aren’t going your way today. Maybe you got stuck in traffic and it made you late to work. Maybe you burnt dinner. While all of those situations can be quite frustrating, once they happen, it is simply beyond our control to change it. Instead, find the positives! That traffic jam is giving you some quiet time to yourself, or it gives you a chance to listen to some good music. Maybe that burnt dinner will turn into an opportunity to grab a bite to eat at a new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try or revisit one of your favorites.
- Show love to others. Love helps produce positive emotions that helps fight stress. Work on building and strengthening your relationships with those you are closest with.
- Self-compassion. There are days where life can be incredibly hard and overwhelming. But be gentle with yourself. You are doing the best you can. Don’t beat yourself up, and avoid negative self-talk. Treat yourself like you would treat a friend. If this is something you are not good at yet, you can build self-compassion by showing compassion towards others.
- Learn to say no. Know your limits and don’t overextend yourself. Saying “yes” to please others will only cause you anxiety in the end. Your worth as a person is not determined by the things you do for others. Learn to set boundaries for yourself, listen to your own needs and wants, and don’t be afraid to say “no.”
- Sleep. Sleep requirements vary from person to person. An average adult should get between 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night. Poor sleep is linked to anxiety and depression, as well as a weakened immune system. Try to set a regular time to go to sleep, and avoid caffeine in the evening to help ensure a good night’s rest.
- Get help when you need it. Admitting you need help does not make weak. Instead, it makes you strong in that you are able to recognize that about yourself. Make sure to communicate your feelings with your friends, family, or other supportive people in your life. Don’t be afraid to seek out help.
There are many things you can do to give your mental health and overall wellness a boost. Start today by picking one thing off this list, and incorporate something new everyday! Check out the video below from samhsa.gov for today’s Dear Future Me video on mental health and wellness!