Mental Health Awareness Month is to promote the importance of wellness and to celebrate those who have overcome challenges to lead healthier, fulfilling, and meaningful lives. Even if you are only looking for a few tips to alleviate the symptoms of stress, taking care of this aspect of your health benefits all areas of your life, and makes it more enjoyable!
Taking care of your mental health is important for your overall well-being. Here are a few suggestions to take care of yourself now and all year round: seek support when you need it, practice mindfulness and meditation, and exercise and eat nutritious foods. Let’s examine how these can help you feel better – and inspire others to do the same!
It’s Okay to Seek Support When You Need It
This might go against popular opinion, but we are saying it anyway! Seeking support and talking to others about your struggles isn’t weak – it is brave and can greatly improve your quality of life. However, take care to share these stories with select people that you feel close to and trust. These connections can be a support system during times of stress, adversity, or just during the ups and downs of life.
Healthy relationships raise your self-esteem because you are more likely to feel valued and loved. They also give you an increased sense of self-worth, which contributes to your happiness. Let’s be real – it always feels good to have people you care about in your corner. Whenever you need a cheerleader or someone to hype you up, they are there to remind you that everything will be okay – and give you a good laugh when you really need it!
Mental Health Awareness Month is a reminder that our overall well-being is dependent on how we take care of our inner worlds. Even when you are doing all the things to take care of yourself, sometimes life happens in other areas, too.
Use Mindfulness Techniques
Even if it sounds a little weird, one of the ways to help reduce symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety is with mindfulness practices. This happens because these techniques help you to stay in the present moment with awareness and non-judgment, which feels calming. Breathing exercises, meditating, writing your thoughts down in a journal, or practicing yoga are all excellent ways to integrate this into your routine.
When you use these on a regular basis, you receive several benefits. For example, your stress levels will be lowered because you are able to relax and calm your body’s stress signals, which is good for handling any part of your day. If you experience anxiety, they can help you to respond thoughtfully and with less reactivity, which improves your quality of life and your relationships. You have more control over your mood and can replace negative thought patterns with more positive ones. They even help you sleep better, which is a hot commodity in today’s face-paced world.
Prioritize Exercise and a Nutrient-Dense Diet
Exercise and a healthy diet affect more than your physical health. These lifestyle choices have a profound impact on your brain that can lead to a better quality of life. If you have been waiting for a good reason to get back on the wagon or start anew with these habits, this is the inspiration you have been looking for!
Let’s geek out for a second – exercise releases neurotransmitters like endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin from your brain and into your body. These are known as the “feel good” chemicals. What’s cool about this is that when these enter your bloodstream, symptoms of anxiety and depression are alleviated. Plus, in case you need another reason to get better sleep, exercise makes it easier to fall and stay asleep.
Nutrient-dense foods provide the essential vitamins and minerals that your brain needs to protect itself from stress. Examples of these are lean proteins, whole grain and legumes, vegetables, fruits, and dairy. Eating these helps balance blood sugar, which helps improve your mood and energy levels. Plus, these foods fight inflammation in the body and brain, which alleviates depression and anxiety (and a multitude of other preventable diseases).
Every Day is a Good Day to Care for Your Mind and Body
It is never too late to take care of yourself, but if you need a little inspiration, Mental Health Awareness Month is a good time to start. Taking care of the little things, like paying bills, cleaning the house and going out for a drive can be important first steps.
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When you take care of yourself, you never know how you will inspire someone to do the same – and possibly make a big difference in their life. Why not try one (or several) of these tips and watch yourself enter the “zen zone”!