Our mental health should always be a top priority, especially as we resume a new normal. Here are five ways to boost your mental health.
1. Get moving
Exercise is huge when it comes to your mental health. Movement releases endorphins that help improve your mood, ease anxiety, reduce stress, increase focus, and improve your sleep to name a few benefits. Regular exercise can also have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD. And, you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic, either. Find an activity that works for you whether that means hitting the tennis court, practicing yoga, or taking a walk around the neighborhood with a friend. It doesn’t have to be complicated or super strenuous for it to be beneficial.
2. Go outdoors
Don’t underestimate the value of some fresh air and sunshine! Most of us spend the majority of our time inside, whether we’re sitting at a computer or working in an office. Getting out in nature has myriad positive effects, including reducing anger, stress, and anxiety, and improving confidence and overall self-esteem. It can be as simple as taking a break to stop and smell the roses, literally. Go for a hike, swim, bike ride, or even just step outside in between calls for a few moments to take in your surroundings and breathe.
Speaking of breathing…It may sound simple, but taking a few deep breaths can do wonders for your mental health. When we’re stressed, we often take shorter breaths and probably don’t even notice when our breathing is cut off or choppy. Meditation and mindful breathing exercises have been shown to reduce anxiety, help with burnout, provide pain relief, and decrease negative thinking. 2 If you’re new to these practices, the overall principle is simple: just breathe.
4. Get some ZZZs
Sleep also plays a big role in your mental health. Each stage of sleep is related to brain health, which is directly related to better thinking, learning, and memory. Research has also shown that brain activity during sleep has profound effects on emotional and mental health. 3 Sufficient sleep, especially rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, facilitates the brain’s processing of emotional information. Similarly, lack of sleep or lack of quality sleep can have detrimental effects on your overall state of being. Not spending enough time in bed? Maybe it’s time to get some ZZZs.
5. Talk it out
Finally, talk to someone. We’re all in this together. Chances are, someone else you know may be experiencing a similar struggle. Whether you choose to talk to a therapist or a close friend or family member, surround yourself with people who are positive influences on your life who you trust to listen. Laugh, vent, or cry if you need to. Connecting with others can go a long way.