No matter your age or stage in life, it’s important to tend to mental health. Learning how to form healthy, lifelong habits can not only help you to prioritize your well-being (a critical life skill), but it can help to increase productivity from work to school and beyond.
If you struggle to prioritize your mental health, try these tips, and remember that the best way to support the well-being of others is first taking care of yourself.
1| Negative thoughts no more.
The biggest bully most of us face is ourselves. Take note when you are beating up on yourself, interrupt the thought, just with a simple “no” or “stop,” and then take a moment to tell yourself something nice. With some time, the kinder voice within will have more power. It’s okay if it doesn’t happen immediately – at least you’re trying.
2| Saying ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no.’
Say it with me: Your time is your time. Your time is a valuable and limited resource that not everyone needs to have. If you try to please everyone, you not only are on the road to burnout and resentment, but you also deny yourself the pleasure of spending time with yourself and the growth of focusing on what you value overall. Be intentional with your time because it is your time.
3| Move your body.
To quote Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Exercise doesn’t just keep your body healthy, but it helps to clear your mind. Physical activity jolts the brain into a “feel-good” state of being. Being outside is associated with a much better mood, and studies show that being out in nature can improve concentration, allowing you to address feelings of stress and anxiety.
4| Try writing it down.
Most of the time, it’s hard to say how we feel. Many people avoid dealing with their feelings by brushing them aside and pretending nothing is wrong. Try expressing and facing your feelings head-on by writing them down. This will help to access how things make you feel and to understand stressors.
5| Cleaning your space.
Washing dishes, mopping floors, and ironing...oh my! Clutter can make it difficult to relax and may lead to feelings of guilt and embarrassment for some. Cleaning your space can be calming, especially when done mindfully. Cleaning helps you gain a sense of control over your environment and provides you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction once the task is completed.
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