Tips to boost your mental health © Courtesy of News Canada
Alongside physical health, mental health is an essential part of our overall well-being. Being mentally healthy can help you enjoy life while coping with its challenges.
Many factors can affect it, and they aren’t all within our control. But we can take some actions to care for ourselves and help protect our mental health overall. Here are some ideas to help you boost your mental health on a day-to-day and longer-term basis.
Get some regular exercise: Whether it’s playing a team sport, going for a walk or doing yoga, and whether it lasts five minutes or 50 minutes, getting your body moving can have a positive impact on your mental health.
Reach out to others: Feeling lonely and socially isolated can harm anyone’s mental health. Connect with family and friends or join activities like recreational sports or a choir where you can meet new people. Even if it feels intimidating to reach out, positive social connections are a crucial part of well-being.
Find what’s meaningful to you: We all need something fulfilling in our life to help give it meaning. Experiment to see what activities or practices bring you joy or satisfaction and make them part of your routine. Re-evaluating your goals can be an important part of this process too.
Learn to recognize your patterns: Do you binge on junk food when you’re stressed and then feel guilty about it? Or forget to eat when you’re overwhelmed? Maybe you tend to get snappy when you’re feeling tired. Once you recognize common patterns in your own thoughts or behaviours you can try to plan ahead to prevent them, like stocking up on healthy meals ahead of a busy week at work or doing your best to get enough sleep.
Remember what you can and can’t control: Taking a few moments to be mindful, thinking about the big picture, and recognizing the things you can and cannot change can be valuable ways to shift perspective and get you thinking more positively.
Consider working with a professional: If you feel like you’re struggling with your mental health, there is help available. Seeking out extra support can help you get through whatever challenges you’re facing in the moment.
While we all struggle from time to time, if you find you’re experiencing long-lasting sadness, worry, loneliness or anger, or if these feelings are interfering with your daily routines, consider reaching out for help.
Practice self care: Taking care of your physical and mental health can help you handle difficult experiences, help you feel more confident in yourself and your abilities and improve your ability to regain some control after you’ve been through a tough time.
Of course, many things can affect mental well-being, and they aren’t all within our control. But having things to look forward to and putting aside time to prioritize yourself are important parts of everyone’s well-being. As many of us learn the hard way, you can’t do your best for anyone else if you’re not showing up for yourself.
If even the small things seem challenging or you’re finding that emotions like sadness, worry, loneliness or anger are long-lasting or interfering with your daily routines, it may be time to reach out for help. There are free and credible resources available online, including self-guided therapy, one-on-one counselling with qualified health professionals and moderated peer-to-peer support. There are also culturally safe mental health resources for Indigenous Peoples available.
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