Do you ever feel like there’s too much to do, which in turn makes you want to do nothing at all? Or do you feel constantly run down, struggling with confidence or purpose? There’s no better time than Mental Health Awareness Month to look at ways to improve your overall well-being.
Students, young adults, and tenured parents alike, all have their own unique physical or mental health struggles. What’s more, is that the two are actually connected. According to the CDC, there is a direct relationship between one’s mental wellness and certain physical health conditions.
So, let’s take a look at a few everyday routine changes that can improve both your physical and mental well-being.
I’m sure one of the first things that come to mind when discussing physical health is exercise. Getting active is not only beneficial to you physically but mentally as well. This doesn’t mean you have to get out and run a 5k every day, but there are some diverse exercise opportunities to get yourself moving and feeling good.
If you’re in the market for a well-rounded workout, consider joining a local gym. Between treadmills, ellipticals, and machines for every muscle group, you are sure to have a full-body workout at your fingertips!
For a more cardio-based option, try squeezing a brief walk or run into your daily routine. If the weather permits, this is a great opportunity to get some fresh air while promoting a healthy cardiovascular system. A short walk is a great option no matter where you’re located.
A great exercise that really promotes mindfulness and physical well-being is yoga. As a more low-impact workout, it focuses on breathing, flexibility, and core strength. This is a great way to center your mind and body while getting out and being active.
However, if you choose to do it, taking a few minutes out of your day to exercise and get your heart rate up will benefit both your physical and mental health!
Aside from a few minutes of daily exercise, making small changes to your diet can also present improvements to your physical and mental health. A balanced diet not only contributes to multiple physical improvements but is directly related to your mood as well.
A great way to start incorporating more nutrient-dense foods into your diet is by planning out your grocery list ahead of time. Having a predetermined list while shopping can help eliminate impulsive purchases you pick up while you wander around. This can contribute to less mindless eating and a more wholesome diet at home.
Another great way to stay on top of a balanced diet is by cooking at home. Eating out is a very convenient option; however, it is likely a lower dietary quality alternative to preparing your own food. Getting into the habit of cooking your meals leads to an overall more balanced relationship with food.
In the end, nutrient-dense foods help to support gut health and digestion, and they also influence your mental well-being. By choosing balanced meals, you can fuel your body and mind to keep you happy and healthy all day.
I know you’ve heard it before, but focusing on yourself is truly one of the best ways to improve your mental health. A lot of times this can be intimidating, as we’re afraid it will come across as selfish; in reality, taking care of yourself is the first step in managing all other relationships in life.
Simply start or end your day with a self-care routine. This can include anything from making your bed, whitening your teeth, or creating a nighttime skincare regimen. Invest in things that make you feel like the best version of yourself.
For example, grab a few exfoliating face masks, or stock up on your favorite tea to drink while you get ready in the morning. Even something as simple as swapping your glasses out for comfortable contact lenses can provide added convenience and confidence throughout your day. Whatever it may be, focus your energy on the small things that make you feel your best.
While everyone could benefit from therapy or counseling, many are still afraid to seek help because of the stigma surrounding mental health. To the stigma, I say good riddance. Therapy is a vital tool in self-expression, coping, and stress management. Let’s continue to work at ending the stigma, improving our mental health, and acknowledging the incredibly positive impact therapy can have on our day-to-day life.
For those of you more interested in getting your thoughts down on paper, journaling is a great way to do just that. Starting a wellness journal is great for self-reflection, as you can go back and read through your thoughts from a different time. Fill your journal with what makes you happy, sad, and grateful. Finding something to be thankful for in every situation allows you to remain positive, even in difficult times.
Take a few minutes each day and do something that makes you feel good. Take a bath, read a book, or meditate. Whatever it is, make sure you take the time to recharge and focus on yourself.
Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, relationships with others are essential to your overall well-being. Maintaining these relationships is a sure way to keep you feeling supported and involved.
Start by keeping in touch with your friends and family. Between going out and seeing them in person and having virtual face-to-face conversations, it’s important to have social interaction. Challenge yourself to have relationships outside of social media, as these virtual platforms can actually be harmful to your mental health.
Another important aspect of maintaining relationships is having a healthy work-life balance. Make sure you set boundaries between your career and your personal life to ensure you are not burning the candle at both ends. By having a healthy boundary, you can excel at your job and not strain your relationships with your loved ones.
Whether it’s going out with coworkers for happy hour, joining a recreational kickball league, or just spending a lowkey night with friends, make sure to put an emphasis on your relationships. Humans are not wired to be alone, and spending time with others is a great way to feel good and maintain your support system.
There is no time like the present to make your well-being a priority. If you find yourself struggling, know you are not alone; there are resources available to get you back to feeling like yourself.
Clinically approved by: Tara Javidan, LCPC, CADC
At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in therapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic at (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.