Over the last year, living through COVID, quarantines, and social distancing, the importance of mental health has really struck a chord in many of us. Mental health is arguably just as important, if not more so, as physical health. You know what they say: mind over matter. Because our mind dictates our thoughts. Our thoughts influence our behaviors. And, our behaviors shape our lives.
Essentially, our mental health influences every aspect of our lives. So, what if we make 2021 the year of mental health? Better yet, lets commit to prioritizing our mental health more than ever before. What do you say?
10 Ways to Improve Mental Health
Making our mental health a priority doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or confusing. All it really takes is a little intentionality and simple self-care. Below are 10 easy ways to get started focusing on our mental health this year!
Move Your Body
Ironically, physical activity is one of the best supporters of a healthy mind. It naturally releases “happy” hormones and decreases stress levels, allowing you to be in the best headspace possible.
During sleep, the body is able to renew and restore, physically and mentally. Deep REM sleep is essential for optimal brain function and efficiency, but also for the production and regulation of the hormones that influence mood, good and bad.
Eat Healthy Meals
It’s no surprise that the foods we eat can hinder or promote health as a whole. Mental health is no exception. Balanced meals, which include protein, carbs, and fat, encourage stable mood and mental energy.
Set Achievable Goals
Goals keep us productive and accountable. However, setting achievable goals is the key. S.M.A.R.T. goals, those that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely, are a fail-proof way to set us up for success.
Studies show that multitasking is less productive, and often much more overwhelming, than focusing on a single task. Let’s do our brains a favor and skip the multitasking this year. Instead, tackle one task at a time.
Mediation is a great option for calming the mind and finding inner peace. In a world that is fast-paced, never-stopping, and overly stressful, we can all benefit from daily meditation.
Set a Schedule
Set a schedule and stick to it. Scheduling a time for everything- from workouts and meal prep to work meetings and appointments- frees up valuable mental space.
Have a Morning and Evening Routine
Morning routines set the tone for the day, while evening routines set the tone for sleep. Although they serve different purposes, they are equally important. Pick a morning routine that energizes and motivates you for the day, while focusing on a calming, restful routine before bed.
Sun exposure is arguably the best medicine for mental health. It naturally boosts vitamin D levels, which encouraging positive mood. Whenever you’re in a funk, go for a 20 minute walk outside.
Limit Social Media
Social media sure is a double-edged sword. It can be a great educational resource, as well as a place of valuable community. But with the benefits, also come downfalls, like negative effects of comparison and distraction. Limiting social media time is a great way to refocus on what matters most in our lives.
If nothing else, the last year taught us just how valuable our health is, mental and physical. This year, let’s vow to recognize, discuss, and appreciate the importance of our mental health. With these 10 tips in mind, we can all improve our mental health and make our world a better place.