May has been known as Mental Health Month for 70 years! Awareness is important for understanding what mental health is and how to assess resources available. Often, people focus on their diet or exercise to take care of their health and forget about practices to take care of their mental health. Try these tips and exercises below to practice self-care.
- Start a gratitude and achievement journal. At the end of every day write down three things you’re grateful for and three things that you’re proud you achieved that day. If you have children, include them in this activity as well and talk with them each night before bed about three things they’re grateful for or proud of.
- Treat yourself. Have a couple pieces of dark chocolate every few days to boost alertness and mental skills. The flavonoids, caffeine, and theobromine work together to enhance this. It’s science…plus a great excuse to treat yourself!
- Go off the grid. Leave your cell phone at home and disconnect from the constant alerts, messages, and phone calls. Try setting restrictions on your phone for certain hours where you’re unable to access apps for some quiet time.
- Spend some time with man’s best friend. Studies prove that hanging out with your favorite furry friend can lower the stress hormone and boost feelings of happiness by releasing cortisol and oxytocin. If you don’t have a pet of your own, head to your local animal shelter to take a dog for a walk or pet the cats available for adoption!
- Go to bed on time. It is not revolutionary information that getting a good night’s sleep improves your mental clarity. Try limiting caffeinated beverages later in the day and evening and shut down screen time at least an hour before bed. Also, studies show the optimal temperature for sleeping is 60-67 degrees so drop the thermostat to get some good shut eye.
- Check on those around you. Share the practices that you do to take care of yourself emotionally. Those conversations may enlighten you to some fresh ideas to implement and may help you to discover a friend or family member needing help with their mental health.
You have the power to boost your mental health and not shy away from the stigma that often surrounds it. Pick some activities to put in place and add them to your routine slowly to set a pattern and remember to take care of yourself in ALL aspects of life.
What will you start today?