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Tips To Take Better Care of Your Mental Health
It is estimated that 1 in every 5 U.S. adults are currently living with a mental illness. Many people around the U.S. struggle with a variety of mental health challenges from anxiety to depression.1
However, mental health is important to care for because it influences our thoughts, actions, and feelings throughout the day. Yet it is estimated that 56% of adults haven’t received the proper care in the last year for their mental health.2 This could be due to a variety of factors, such as sidelining an appointment to a therapist for other obligations or neglecting to take care of oneself due to time constraints.
The CDC has found that mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety can lead to other health conditions such as type-2 diabetes, strokes, and heart disease. Some of the most common causes of mental health challenges are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, genes, trauma, loneliness, and alcohol, all of which can lead to mental health conditions and progress into other disorders.3
Taking the time to care for your mental health can make you happier and more productive, which will allow you to live life to the fullest. Here are 4 ways that you can start taking better care of your mental health today.
Make time for Family and Friends
Everyone is busy with work, school, or other obligations, but it’s important to always make time for family and friends. In a 2018 survey, 60% of U.S. adults said that they were too busy to enjoy life, and 12% of these participants said that they felt this way all the time.4
However, not making enough time for friends and family can make you feel lonely. Feelings of loneliness have been linked to reducing our willpower, which can make it harder to regulate oneself and can bring on certain negative habits, such as overeating. This can result in depression, lower levels of sleep, and a reduction in exercise, all of which impact our mental health.5
It’s important to make time for the people that you cherish in life and bond with them. Here are some ideas on how you can spend more time with your family this week:
- Plan a family movie night
- Have the family enjoy a picnic at the park
- Make dinner together
- Go for a neighborhood walk
- Spend time volunteering for a cause together
- Put up seasonal decorations together
- Invite relatives over for a barbeque
- Work on crafts together
- Solve a long puzzle
- Have a family karaoke night
- Go cheer on your favorite team at a game
Stay Active & Moving
One way to stay productive and keep your mind busy is to exercise. There have been many studies that show exercise can improve your mood and help you feel better during the day.
According to a review, aerobic exercises have been found to directly correlate with a decrease in anxiety and depression because exercise-induced blood flow circulation has been found to reduce stress. The blood flow circulation affects the brain’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is associated with several regions of the brain that controls mood, stress, and memory.6
Another way exercise has a positive influence on mental health is it releases endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that promote positive feelings of well-being. This change to the brain can help you feel less stressed and reduce your feelings of depression, which have an impact on your overall mood.7
You can add 30-60 minutes of exercise into your everyday routine to help improve your mental health. Some ideas for simple, moderate exercises to stay active include:
- Tai Chi
- Playing Tennis
Talk About Your Feelings
Oftentimes, people keep their feelings of depression and anxiety to themselves. One survey found that 40% of men won’t talk to anyone about their mental health, with some of the reasons being that they “don’t wish to burden anyone” and “there’s a negative stigma about it.”8
However, talking with someone about your troubles can be one way that you can improve your mental health. It can be the first step towards finding a sense of belonging and getting professional help if you need it.
Some of the benefits of sharing your mental health troubles include:
- A new perspective. By talking with someone close to you, they might be able to offer you a new perspective that you may not have thought of before on your problems. This can show you a new way of thinking and be the first step to finding the source of any stress you might have.
- The ability to feel like you’re not alone. You might feel like you’re alone when it comes to your problems, but sharing your story with someone can help you find a helpful ear. Another person might be able to relate and share their experiences, as well as offer support through your challenges.
- The first step towards receiving a proper diagnosis. Sometimes, you might not realize that you might need professional help until you speak with someone else about your mental health. It’s important to share your story and listen to any medical concerns your family member or friend might have.
Make Time For Hobbies
Our hobbies give us a way to utilize our passions and help add meaning to our day.
What’s more, research has found that hobbies are linked to lower levels of depression. That’s because anhedonia, which is losing joy and interest in the things you love, occurs when hobbies aren’t currently present as part of your routine.
When you engage in a hobbies, dopamine (a chemical in the brain) is released and you’re more likely to feel good about yourself, which motivates you to participate in the hobby again.9
Hobbies are also a great way to use your creativity and give you a break from your obligations. They can help you mentally recharge and give you the energy that you need to put forth your best effort the next day.
Some fun and engaging hobbies that you can add into your day include:
- Playing an instrument
- Rock climbing
Spread Awareness About Mental Health Today!
Now that you know the importance of mental health, take the time to spread awareness today on World Mental Health Day. Mental health is critical to care for so that way you can live a happy, fulfilling life.
Here at Saber Healthcare, we strive to care for our residents both physically and mentally. We believe that our residents should feel purpose in their lives as they work through their treatment. To learn more about our company and what we have to offer, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Mental Illness.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Accessed 8 October 2021. Link: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness
- “11 Facts About Mental Health.” dosomething.org. Accessed 8 October 2021. Link: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-mental-health
- “About Mental Health.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 28 June 2021. Accessed 8 October 2021. Link: https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm
- Kessel, Patrick Van. “How Americans feel about the satisfactions and stresses of modern life.” Pew Research Center. 5 February 2020. Accessed 8 October 2021. Link: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/02/05/how-americans-feel-about-the-satisfactions-and-stresses-of-modern-life/
- “The Lonely Society.” Mental Health Foundation. 2010. Accessed 8 October 2021. Link: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/the_lonely_society_report.pdf
- Sharma, Ashish et al. “Exercise for mental health.” Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry vol. 8,2 (2006): 106. doi:10.4088/pcc.v08n0208a. Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
- “The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise.” HelpGuide. Last Updated August 2021. Accessed 8 October 2021. Link: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm#
- “40% of men won't talk to anyone about their mental health.” The Priority Group. Accessed 8 October 2021. Link: https://www.priorygroup.com/blog/40-of-men-wont-talk-to-anyone-about-their-mental-health
- McCabe, Ciara. “The science behind why hobbies can improve our mental health.” The Conversation. 11 February 2021. Accessed 8 October 2021. Link: https://theconversation.com/the-science-behind-why-hobbies-can-improve-our-mental-health-153828