People often talk about ways to improve physical health, like eating healthy foods and exercising, but no one wants to think about mental health until there is an issue. What if there were ways to give your mental health some attention before any problems arise? Or what if there were ways to learn better habits that were more conducive to great mental health? While the field of mental health continues to make new discoveries that are helping people every day, there are ways to benefit your mental health starting today. Here are some super simple ways to give your mental health some attention.
Eat a Healthy Diet
You can help your mental health by eating a healthy diet. Exercise and good nutrition are linked to lower levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Processed foods and sugary treats are great in the short term but can deprive the body of the essential nutrients that it needs to thrive. Focus on eating lean meats, beans, whole grains, organic fruits and veggies, and even nuts and seeds. All of these have essential nutrients that your brain needs to function optimally and stave off mental health problems.
Most people think about doing more Yoga or deep breathing to improve mental health, but did you know that certain nutrients can improve your mental health? This means that if you are deficient, you may experience symptoms like lethargy or depression. Supplements can be a great way to boost your nutrition and get everything you need, even if you have a healthy diet. Vitamin D3, vitamin B12, and even a vitamin B6 supplement can all help improve mental health conditions.
Vitamin B6 is especially important because it’s essential for producing neurotransmitters. If your body can’t produce them well, then you’re more likely to experience anxiety and depression. These vitamins are found naturally in chickpeas, salmon, beef, nuts, seeds, and potatoes, but for people with deficiencies, often food alone isn’t enough to help them. Instead, a quality supplement is beneficial as well.
Get Enough Sleep
You need sleep for all sorts of things. Sleep helps your body heal. It helps your muscles rest and regenerates when needed, and it helps regulate your hormones. Sleep is also important for mental health. People who sleep better at night experience fewer incidences of depression and anxiety and are better able to cope with stressors that come their way.
How much sleep you need depends on your age and stage of life. Start by setting a regular bedtime and stick to it to get more sleep. Go to bed at the same time each night, even on weekends. You’ll also want to try and get up at the same time each morning to ensure that your sleep schedule is consistent.
Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool for the best sleeping conditions. If you live near noisy neighbors or have trouble falling asleep because of bright lights coming through the windows, consider investing in blackout curtains or an eye mask.
Don’t drink caffeine after 2 p.m., as it can interfere with your body’s natural production of melatonin and stop you from having a restful slumber later in the day. You can also turn off TV or devices at least one hour before bed to help signal to your body that it’s almost time to sleep.
Be Physically Active
Exercise is a great way to improve your mental health. It can help reduce anxiety, depression, and sleep problems, as well as manage stress. Exercise also improves self-esteem by strengthening the body and boosting energy levels. Being active can be as simple as walking on your breaks daily, going for a hike on nearby trails, doing bodyweight exercises, and more.
Take Care of a Pet
People often see pets as a good way to ward off mental health struggles. Older people with pets, for instance, experience more joy than those who don’t have animals at home. Pets can be great companions. They can help you feel less alone and provide emotional support. Pets can also provide a sense of purpose, which is important, especially for people with depression. While they may not feel a need to care for themselves, they are less likely to neglect their animals and will often get up to care for them.
Get a Hobby
Want better mental health? Find something to do that you enjoy. Whether you find excitement in refinishing furniture or you love to play golf or go sailing, a hobby is excellent for your mental health. It helps you do something for yourself instead of just focusing on others. It gives your mind something exciting to learn. And it also helps you to connect with new people outside of your current sphere of friends and family. This can also improve your social connections, which is helpful for many people and their mental health.
Giving your time to a cause you are passionate about can help you feel a sense of gratitude. Set aside time regularly to volunteer for an organization you care about. Whether you want to help the homeless by delivering meals or you want to provide companionship to an elderly shut-in, or you prefer to go interact with the animals at a local shelter, there are plenty of ways to give of your time and talents. By helping others, you not only make your community a better place, but you also can improve your mental health.