When life gets busy and stressful, whether that’s school, your job, or conflicts with family and friends, our mental health often gets neglected. But that’s when we need to take care of our mental health the most. Being mentally healthy is much more than the absence of a mental illness and lack of stress and anxiety.
Here are 5 easy things you can do on your own to boost your mood and take care of your mental health:
Take a Day Off and Do Nothing
Mental health days are important to reduce stress and prevent burnout, it gives your body and mind time to recover. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, can’t concentrate, or dread waking up the next morning for work/school, it’s probably time to take a day off. There’s no shame in taking a mental health day, mental health is just like physical health: you take a day off when you are injured or feel unwell, simple as that.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleeping is how our body recovers from, well, everything. We all know that there are correlations between lack of sleep and depression, as well as other psychiatric conditions. But getting enough sleep is easier said than done, it’s not like we can just fall asleep whenever and wherever we want, but there are some things that you can do to facilitate it to some extent:
- Establish a consistent sleep schedule (waking up early is a good way to get started)
- Avoid caffeine and blue light before bedtime
It’s also important to have an outlet for expression. When we fail to express our emotions and bottle things up, we tend to lose perspective and let the problem get the better of us. Which manifests in forms of frustration, anxiety, or stress. So scream into a pillow if you’re angry or stressed, wail and cry like a baby if you’re sad. Here are some other ways you can express yourself on your own:
- Write a diary
- Listen to music that fits your mood
- Dance or exercise
Who knew that dehydration can affect your mental health, multiple studies have shown a correlation between lower risks of depression, anxiety as well as mood improvements from people with increased water intake. There is also some speculation that hydration can lead to a higher quality of sleep. The recommended daily water intake is 2 liters or about 8 to 10 glasses, that’s quite a bit of water. It is estimated that around 70% of the population suffers from chronic dehydration, and I bet you’re dehydrated right now! So go get that drink.
Try New Things
According to Harvard Health, cognitive and social engagement alleviates the sense of social isolation and depression. Trying new things is a great confidence boost, it provides an opportunity to get to know ourselves better. Sure, trying skydiving or bungee jumping for the first time would definitely spice things up, but you don’t need to do something that drastic. Here are some simple, not so adrenaline-inducing things everyone can try at home by themselves, especially in a pandemic:
- Try a new recipe
- Listen to (or sing) a new genre of music
- Adopt a (or another) plant
- Make (or invent) your own drink