It’s easy to forget your mental health in these demanding times. But there are so many ways you can take care of yourself daily, from journaling to meditating to reading up on the latest research.
Here are 19 ways you can honor your mental health and feel better!
Writing about what happened is a great way to process emotions and thoughts that may be bothering you. Plus, it’s therapeutic because when we write about our feelings, we release endorphins which make us happier! And if writing doesn’t work for you (or maybe it does at some point), try drawing or painting instead. You don’t need any supplies other than paper and a pencil or paintbrush – just something to get whatever’s in there out.
Going to therapy is a great way to honor your mental health, especially if you have a mental illness or struggle with anxiety or depression. Therapy can help you work through anything that’s bothering you and give you coping skills for the future. Another option? Try an online therapy platform like TalkSpace.
Learn Something New
Research shows that learning something new is a great way to feel happier, so sign up for a course or take on a new project. Even if you think you’ve mastered it all, you’ll see yourself improve with each passing week and work toward something bigger! Find something that fits your interests and challenge yourself.
Get More Exercise
We all know that exercise is good for us, but it’s also good for our mental health! The time you spend at the gym or on a run can be an escape from whatever’s worrying you (or even help manage stress), plus physical activity boosts feel-good endorphins. Even if you don’t exercise every day, try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity (or anything that gets your heart rate up) 5-6 days per week.
Drink More Water
Staying hydrated is important for our overall health and wellness, but drinking more water can also help improve our moods. When we’re dehydrated, our brains don’t function as well and we can feel tired, grumpy, and stressed. Make it a goal to drink at least 8 cups of water per day and see if you notice a difference in your mood!
Connect with Friends and Family
Spending time with friends and family is great for your mental health, especially if you’re having a tough time. If they live nearby, call them up or invite them over to spend some quality time together. Or send that person who makes you smile an encouraging message on social media! It’s not always about quantity , but quality when it comes to hanging out with your loved ones.
Watch a Comedy Show or Movie
Sometimes we just need a mental break and there’s nothing better than watching some standup, sitcom reruns, or hilarious YouTube videos . It doesn’t matter if it’s for 10 minutes in between classes or an hour on the couch – watching comedy is a great way to take your mind off whatever’s bothering you.
Make Your Bed (or Donate Something)
Making your bed (or doing another small cleaning task ) has been shown to make us happier, more productive people! It doesn’t have to be perfect, but creating order out of chaos can make us feel calmer and more in control. And if making your bed isn’t your thing, donate some clothes or toys to a local charity – it feels great to help others and get rid of clutter at the same time!
Declutter Your Space
Just like making your bed, decluttering your space can also make you feel calmer and happier. It’s a great way to express gratitude for what you have or let go of things that bother you or bring back bad memories. Set a timer and spend a few minutes cleaning one spot in your room – maybe it’s going through papers on your desk, getting rid of broken/outdated items, or organizing your bookshelf.
Meditation is a great way to manage stress and make ourselves more present, but some of us are intimidated by the process of how it’s done. It doesn’t have to be complicated – try taking 5 deep breaths before you get out of bed in the morning, or spend a few minutes focusing on your breath when you’re feeling overwhelmed. There are plenty of guided meditations out there, or you can find an app like Headspace that can help walk you through it.
Spend Time in Nature
Spending time outside in nature has been linked with improved mental health, reduced stress levels, and even creativity ! Whether you take a walk in the park, go for a hike, or sit by the water, getting outside is a great way to de-stress and center yourself.
Get a Massage
Massages are not only relaxing, but they’re also great for our mental health! Receiving regular massages has been linked with decreased anxiety and depression , lower cortisol levels, and an overall better mood. Some insurance plans cover massage therapy sessions if they’re medically necessary (if you have back pain or migraines, for example), but most health clubs offer massages that are far more affordable than professional ones.
Food is fuel for our bodies, but it’s also fuel for our brains! Eating well can help improve mental clarity, focus , and energy levels. And even though it might seem more convenient to grab something quick on the way to work or school, what you eat is just as important as how much time you spend studying or practicing your instrument. If you’re having a hard time getting in the habit of eating healthy foods, you can always try meal prepping or consulting with a dietician.
Take a break from Technology
We’re all guilty of spending too much time on our phones or laptops, but taking a break can be really beneficial for our mental health. Try setting a rule for yourself – like no screens for an hour after dinner, or switching off your phone for an hour before bed. You might be surprised at how refreshing it is to take a break from technology and just relax without any distractions.
Try Something New
Creativity has countless mental health benefits , and you can boost your creativity by trying something new. Whether it’s cooking a new recipe, learning how to hula hoop, or putting on pants with the opposite leg first, putting yourself out there is one of the best ways to increase confidence levels and reduce stress at the same time.
Laughter is truly the best medicine, and it’s also great for our mental health! Laughter releases endorphins, which make us feel good, and it also helps to break up negative thoughts or stressors. Watch a funny movie, read a comic book, or tell jokes with your friends – anything that gets you laughing will help you feel happier and more relaxed.
Reach Out to Someone You Trust
Reaching out to someone when we’re feeling overwhelmed is one of the best ways to take care of ourselves, but it can be difficult for some of us to do. If you have a hard time talking about your feelings, try texting a friend or family member instead – they can be there to support you without any pressure.
Planning ahead is great for preventing stress , and it can also help prevent us from feeling overwhelmed! Things like setting reminders on your phone, making to-do lists , and using calendars will all help you stay organized and take care of yourself. If you know that certain things trigger feelings of anxiety or panic, try planning ahead for those specific things to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Get Some Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for our physical and mental health, but many of us have a hard time getting in the habit of going to bed early enough. If you’re having a hard time falling asleep at night, try a guided meditation or a warm bath before bed. And if you find yourself constantly waking up in the middle of the night, try establishing a regular bedtime and wake-up time to help your body get into a routine.
When we’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be easy to forget about our mental health. But taking care of ourselves is just as important as taking care of our bodies, and there are so many ways to feel happier, healthier, and more fulfilled. Try using these 19 tips as inspiration for your own self-care routine – you deserve it!