The last two years have taken a toll on people’s mental health. COVID-19 has drastically increased the stress and depression levels in society and has led to mental health deterioration.
Mental health encompasses emotional, social as well as psychological health. It is a holistic approach to how you feel, think, act, and even make choices.
Our mental health is much more than just an absence of mental disease. It signifies the quality of our life and can help us maintain a healthy lifestyle. Hence, it is extremely important that you actively invest in making your mental health better.
Self-care and self-awareness play a key role in ensuring that your mental health is well taken care of.
Here are a few ways in which you can make your mental health better:
1. Seek Professional Help
Mental health problems like anxiety and stress, PTSD, OCD, etc., can affect our functionality. If you suffer from mental health problems like these, your best bet is to seek professional help.
Healthcare professionals put you on the path to recovery and recommend complementary ways to help you improve. If symptoms like insomnia, loss of appetite, energy loss, and lack of productivity persist over two weeks, you should seek a healthcare professional.
You can ask around your peer group and family for recommendations or look for people who are actively engaged in social work in mental health. They can help you deal with mental health problems from substance abuse and addiction to insomnia and behavioral disorders.
You need to keep an open mind and let them help you. If you show rigidity, you won’t be going anywhere. Professional healthcare providers will give you a treatment plan and organize regular visits to help you make great headway if you are willing to cooperate with them.
2. Put Yourself Before Anything Else
We emphasize the importance of self-care. Self-care is defined as the things that you do to improve your physical as well as mental health. It helps manage stress and anxiety, increases your energy levels, and lowers the risk of mental health problems. When you combine self-care with guidance from a healthcare provider, then you’ll achieve wonders.
There is no universal guide to self-care; whatever works for you is the best course of action. For starters, try incorporating some form of physical exertion into your routine. Physical exertion helps our body release feel-good hormones and decreases anxiety levels.
Other than this, try eating regular and balanced meals to ensure that your body has the right energy to overcome mental stress. Have a healthy sleep cycle and ensure you get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
Try setting goals and priorities for yourself. See what needs to be done immediately and what can wait. Do not overwork or overexert yourself. See what you can do and what you can’t. Say ‘no’ where you need to and work to achieve the goals that you strive for. When you achieve them, you’ll feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
3. Avoid Harmful Substances
Substances like non-prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco should be avoided at all costs. Do not resort to them when you are feeling low or are struggling with overwhelming emotions. They might make you feel better for the time being, but they will make you feel worse in the long run.
They are addictive and can make you dependent on them. Most of them act as catalysts for depression and other mental health problems.
4. Surround Yourself With Positive People
The people that we surround ourselves with have a great impact on our lifestyle. When we surround ourselves with positive and lively people, we experience positive energy flowing through us; hence, stress and other negative emotions are reduced. However, when we surround ourselves with negative people, we feel their negativity as a catalyst for our negative and dark emotions.
Hence, build a positive support network around yourself. Those with family and friends to fall back on have a greater chance of recovery. Moreover, try meeting new people. Go to clubs and support groups and try connecting with them.
5. Go Off The Grid
Cliché though it may seem, going off the grid is a great way to detox mentally. Take a day off and do not touch your phone the entire time. Do not open your social media and stop checking your emails.
Instead, look for something fun to do—something like reading a good book or playing board games with your family and friends. Spending ample time with loved ones has a way of uplifting your mood and making your mental health better.
We are asking you to go off the grid because social media induces stress and anxiety. This is especially true for young people. It sets unrealistic standards for everything from how you should look to relationship dynamics.
6. Learn A New Skill
As human beings, we have unlimited capacity to learn and grow. Studies show that learning new skills is a great way of improving your mental health. When you practice and learn new skills, your cognitive skills are developed.
In other words, learning new skills helps thicken your prefrontal cortex. In turn, it helps boost self-confidence and raises self-esteem.
Even if you are busy, incorporate learning a new skill into your routine. You could try learning to cook a new dish, make something from scratch, learn a new course at a summer program or even look for new hobbies. However, make sure you enjoy whatever skill you are planning on learning.
Maintaining mental health can be difficult. Some days are just harder than others, and it is fine if you feel like you need a break from all the stress factors around you.
Make sure that you ask for professional help if you need it and prioritize self-care. Try learning a new skill whenever you can. Moreover, surround yourself with positive energy and avoid harmful substances at all costs.