We live in a stressful and demanding world. Between careers, kids, bills, and other responsibilities, it’s not always easy to find time for ourselves. However, ignoring mental health for too long can have a negative impact on one’s quality of life and can even affect the well-being of others. All too often, mental health problems take control of our lives, making it difficult to achieve our full potential. Luckily, there are many simple and effective ways to reduce stress and overcome mental health obstacles. I put together a few options to dig into and choose from for a better 2023. Read on to learn more about 20 tips for better mental health in 2023 and beyond for better work life balance.
Take a Hiatus From Social Media
It’s common knowledge that social media can be harmful to mental health. In a recent study, Facebook use increased both severe depression and anxiety among college students surveyed. In this way, visiting social media websites during times of mental and emotional distress may only worsen symptoms. Instead of jumping online, focus on productive self-improvement activities or spending time with loved ones in person.
Take a Relaxing Vacation
The constant bustle of modern daily life can be taxing, especially when we’re feeling down or depressed. Consider taking some time off of work to recoup or plan a weekend getaway to escape the commotion. While on vacation, put the cell phone and laptop away so there are no work-related distractions or other worries waiting at home. Instead, pick up a new book to read or start listening to a new podcast that can relieve stress. A brief getaway from our busy lives is sometimes all we need to overcome mental health struggles.
Work on Improving Time Management
Without an organized schedule, the stress of life becomes more difficult to manage. Try to spend a few moments each morning to plan out the day ahead so there’s no confusion about what needs to be done. Determine the amount of time required to complete each task and be sure to prioritize activities that promote mental well-being. For some, this could be a 30-minute jog around the neighborhood before work or simply eating a healthy breakfast each morning. The most important thing is to be consistent and remain committed to an itinerary.
Don’t Neglect to Exercise
Mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand. Make it a point to take a walk each day through the neighborhood or start a membership at a local gym to stay active. Other ideas include joining a community softball team or a local cycling group. Individuals who are currently uncomfortable with being social can buy a treadmill or a few dumbbells to use at home. Keeping the body in good shape can profoundly impact our attitude and outlook, especially when work or home life gets a little hectic.
Explore Vitamins and Supplements to Improve Mental Clarity
Another helpful way to improve mental health is to ensure the mind has the right vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to perform at a high level. There are a variety of supplements on the market that may help, many of which contain key ingredients like fish oil, vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and B-12. In many cases, taking a single multivitamin capsule every day can provide the brain with what it needs for optimal functionality. Those who are pregnant or currently on medication should first discuss supplements with their primary care physician.
Spend Time With Friends and Family
Devoting a few hours each week to social interaction with friends or family can do wonders for mental well-being. When feelings of anxiety or depression arise, meet with a trusted colleague or family member to discuss things in a safe setting. While it can be easy to feel isolated from others, remember that everyone has struggled with mental health challenges at one time or another. The next time mental health problems arise, call or meet with a trusted loved one for support.
Reach Out to a Mental Health Professional for Support
Stigma still surrounds mental health which can cause many people to avoid seeking the support they need. However, meeting with a counselor or psychologist can be a big help in putting mental illness into perspective. These professionals have knowledge and resources that can help with issues like anxiety, the loss of a loved one, or feelings of unhappiness. Sometimes medication is used to address symptoms while others may benefit from simply talking things through.
Meditating is a simple and easy way to ease stress. Best of all, meditation can be done in the safety and comfort of home. To get started, find a private place in the house to sit undisturbed for 5 to 10 minutes per day. Some people meditate by closely examining each thought as it pops up while others focus on taking deep, measured breaths. In the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, mantras are used during meditation to keep the mind sharply focused on a single object. Meditation can also be combined with yoga exercises to help align the mind, body, and spirit into a cohesive unit. No matter how it’s done, meditation can help to stop the negative feelings and thought patterns responsible for many mental health issues.
Get Plenty of Sleep
One of the most important mental health tips is to get adequate sleep every night. Most experts recommend at least 7 hours of sleep to wake up fully rested the next day. Symptoms of sleep deprivation may include irritability, sensitivity to light or sound, mood swings, and difficulty thinking. Losing sleep not only affects mental wellness but can also produce a number of physical health problems. With that said, it’s often best to avoid taking medications meant to help with sleep unless it’s absolutely necessary. Speak with a healthcare professional if sleep quality worsens, especially if it’s beginning to impact work or home life.
Start a Daily Journal
Another easy way to achieve good mental health is to write down thoughts and feelings in a personal journal. Go into detail describing hopes, fears, dreams, and regrets, or simply recount memories from the week before. Writing things down helps to add clarity to our lives that can provide insights about ourselves that we may otherwise overlook. When mental health improves later on, this journal will provide an accurate record of the past and how issues like depression or anxiety were overcome.
Take a Walk Through Nature
The responsibilities of daily life can make it easy to become trapped in our own headspace. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget to appreciate the beauty of the natural landscape around us. Taking a stroll through a nearby park or going hiking can help improve mental well-being by reducing stressful feelings like depression and anxiety. For best results, try going on nature walks once or twice a week for a calming distraction from the busy world we live in.
Avoid Dwelling on the Past or Future
In many cases, mental illnesses and disorders may stem from ruminating over past events. Instead of worrying about what’s already happened, try to make an effort to keep the mind focused on the present. Likewise, it can help our mental health to avoid thinking about all the possibilities the future can bring. Remember that the only thing we can control is how we feel and think today. Living in the now isn’t always easy, but with a little practice, it will become just another healthy habit.
Buy a Pet
Taking care of another creature can be very beneficial to one’s mental health. Dogs or cats are the obvious choices, but there’s evidence to suggest that aquarium fish can reduce blood pressure and alleviate feelings of loneliness. Owning a pet may seem like a chore to some, but caring for animals is a rewarding activity that can have a lasting positive impact on our lives. For those who don’t have extra money to spend at a pet store, consider adopting a pet at a local animal shelter.
Create a Garden at Home
Starting a home garden is another productive way to promote mental well-being and reduce stress levels. While gardening can take years to master, it’s relatively easy to learn the basics over the course of a few weeks. Start with plants that are easy to grow, like the pothos vine, and gradually work up to more sensitive plants that produce fruits or vegetables. Best of all, a front or backyard isn’t required to get started. Many plants can thrive indoors with the right lighting.
Find a New Hobby
One of the best ways to overcome mental health struggles is to get involved in a new hobby. Activities like bookbinding, calligraphy, martial arts, or cooking are all excellent choices for keeping the mind and body occupied. To connect with others, think about joining a chess club or book club as well. It’s also easy to meet like-minded people online who share the same passion through message boards, social media, and other digital communities.
For many people, pleasant aromas have a positive effect on overall mental health. Aromatherapy uses essential oils like lavender, tea tree oil, or eucalyptus to reduce stress and boost mental clarity. These oils may either be topically applied to the skin or activated by using an electronic device called a diffuser. Adding a few drops of essential oils to a bath can also have a calming and uplifting effect.
Get a Massage
Professional massage therapists know how to release tension in the body caused by daily stressors. Scheduling monthly or weekly massage sessions can provide relief to the muscles while calming the mind. Spa treatments may even combine therapies like acupuncture or aromatherapy to create an even more relaxing experience.
Devote Some Time to Helping Others
In some cases, a lack of direction or purpose in life can lead to problems like depression or anxiety. When this happens, it may be worth exploring ways to contribute to the communities around us. Look into volunteering for an outreach program that helps to feed and shelter the homeless or start a canned food drive at a local church. Other ideas include collecting trash around the neighborhood or donating clothing to a local charity. Even opening the door for a stranger can improve mental well-being, so take advantage of opportunities to improve the lives of others.
Learn to Recognize Negative Thought Patterns
Sometimes the mental health struggles we experience are the result of negative thinking over months or years. Eventually, these negative thoughts become habitual and can be difficult to shake. The next time depressing or anxious thoughts crop up, take the time to examine where they’re coming from and why. Next, try to replace those feelings and thoughts with positive emotions like hope, compassion, or forgiveness. With practice, thinking about life positively will become second nature and mental wellness will begin to improve.
Connect With a Support Group in the Area
Many mental health challenges stem from painful experiences in the past like the loss of a loved one or a bad breakup. Other times, alcoholism or substance abuse are to blame. Remember that people around the world struggle with these issues every day. There are also support groups available for overcoming difficult memories. Search for meetings nearby where individuals with similar experiences connect in a non-judgmental environment. Talking with others going through similar circumstances can provide us with the strength and courage needed to deal with mental health obstacles as they arise.
By following these tips, it’s possible to prevail against almost any mental health issue. The most important thing is to find a regimen that works and stick with it until greater mental wellness is achieved. Given time and patience, problems with depression, grief, or anxiety will begin to diminish as positive thoughts and emotions take their place.