Our mental health influences so much in our lives. How we feel, how we behave, what we think about, what we do, our relationships, how we recover from setbacks, how we cope with things, and so much more. Our mental health is SO important. And that’s why taking care of our mental health should be a big priority in our lives – especially if we struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems.
I’m someone who has struggled with a mixture of anxiety and depression for about 11 years now. In that time, I’ve done tons of research, reading, and learning about mental health. I’m honestly at a point where I can (thankfully) say that it’s not as big of a deal as it used to be for me.
While it’s probably not possible to cure all mental illnesses by ourselves, I believe that there are ways that we can make it easier to manage. Today, I wanted to share 11 important ways to take care of your mental health that I’ve learned in 11 years. These things are important whether you have a mental illness or not!
1- Take care of your physical health.
Our physical health plays a role in our mental health. Being physically healthy keeps our brains healthy. Make sure you’re not eating an all junk food diet, get regular exercise, and get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. I also recommend taking vitamins and supplements, but ask your doctor before you start taking new ones! I say that because I’ve started taking vitamins without asking my doctor about them first and ended up feeling crappier!
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2- Keep on top of your household chores.
When we’re feeling down, it can be easy to let our homes and ourselves go. This doesn’t help our mental health, though. So if you notice you’re letting dirty dishes pile up or your home is a mess, clean everything up. Physical clutter has been shown to make our minds feel like a mess. Tidy up your home every day and keep things clean. Even if you don’t believe it, this will make you feel so much more at peace in your mind.
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3- Give yourself a timeout.
Having way too much going on in your life at once and getting overwhelmed isn’t good for our mental health. It can leave you feeling stressed out, grumpy, tired, and anxious. So if you’re overwhelming yourself, it’s time for a break. It’s okay to take mental health days if you need to recharge. I wrote a whole post about how to handle burnout and overwhelm (with a free workbook) that you can read right here if you don’t know how to deal with it.
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4- Find a hobby (or make time for yours).
I honestly don’t know what I would do without my hobbies because they help with my anxiety SO much! When you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, anger, or other negative emotions, having a hobby is a great way to let off steam, distract yourself, and do something that makes you happy. So if you aren’t making time for your hobbies or you don’t have a hobby, I recommend changing that. There are tons of hobbies out there to try out. If you’re stumped, here’s a big list of 150+ hobby ideas!
5- Practice gratitude regularly.
I will never stop talking about how important a gratitude practice is. It can help you see the beauty in your life, it can help you find happiness when you’re unhappy, it can help you be more mindful and stop taking things for granted. In short, it’s a great instant mood booster and it’s helped me so much. If you want to find out how I practice daily gratitude and get a free printable for your own gratitude practice, click here.
6- Volunteer or give back in some way.
Investing your time and energy into helping people in need is a great way to feel happy. It can help you build your confidence, it can help you feel more grateful, it can help you meet new people, and it’s just great for your attitude and mental health. It can honestly enrich your life. There are so many ways that you can give back and if you need some ideas, here are 65 volunteer ideas!
7- Spend time outside regularly.
Being inside is great when it’s super cold or rainy. But spending time outside is so good for our mental health! I find that my mental health tends to be worse during winter and better during summer and I can see why! Sunshine and fresh air can do wonders four our mental health. Spending at least half an hour a day outside can make you feel so much better. You can give your brain a chance to relax and get some much-needed Vitamin D.
8- Keep a journal.
Journaling is great for many reasons from staying organized to reaching goals and most importantly, for our mental health. It can help you process your emotions, work through your problems, get to know yourself better, reduce your stress levels, and more. Just ten minutes a day can help you improve your mental health and your moods. If you’re curious about how to start a journal or want 50 ideas of what to write about, check out this post here!
9- Have at least one person to turn to.
When you’re struggling with problems, it’s a good idea to talk about them. Journaling about your problems is great but when you’re in a negative thought spiral and you start to feel really bad, it’s great to have someone you can call or text and have a meaningful conversation with. This could be your husband, your best friend, your mom, a local group, or all of the above! It’s also a good idea to cut ties with toxic people who aren’t good for your mental health.
10- Set goals (and try to achieve them).
Not feeling like you have a direction or purpose in life can seriously mess with your mental health. That’s how I felt before I started setting goals and working on my self-improvement. Ever since I actively tried to improve myself, I’ve felt better about myself and I’ve been better able to manage my mental health. Figure out a goal (or a few) that you want to achieve and go after them. These can be anything from a simple goal of learning a new skill to a major goal like starting a new career or losing 100 pounds.
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11- Seek professional help if you need it.
There’s no shame in getting help from a professional if you think you need it. If you’ve consistently tried to improve your mental health and you still can’t function well in your life, it’s probably time to seek help from a professional. They can help you work through your problems and find the best ways to help you. If your mental health problems are getting out of your control, this is the best thing you can do for yourself and there’s absolutely no shame in that!
What’s the biggest way you take care of your mental health?