Are you feeling like your mental health isn’t the best? You’re not alone. One in five Americans report suffering from mental illness each year. This doesn’t even include people going through general stress or situational mental strain.
You need to take care of yourself. Too many people spend so much time working and caring for others that they neglect their own mental health. Engaging in mental wellness activities is one way to alleviate some of that mental burden.
Your mental health impacts your physical health and overall quality of life, so you can’t neglect it. We’re here to give you some mental wellness tips so you can reach your peace. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Get Some Exercise
One of the best things that you can do to get yourself into a better headspace is also one of the hardest. Getting some exercise is sure to make you feel better, but it’s difficult to work up the motivation to do so when you aren’t feeling well.
Start small and don’t push yourself too hard if you aren’t ready. A quick jog on the treadmill, a slow bike ride, or even a walk is often enough to make you feel better.
This works because of endorphins. Endorphins are some of the “happy chemicals” that our brains are capable of releasing. We release them during exercise to aid in pain relief and energy.
When you’re done working out, you’ll naturally feel more cheerful and energized as a result.
Find a workout that you enjoy and can keep up with. Some people love running long distances, others enjoy weight lifting. You can even choose fun exercises like pole fitness or dancing.
Anything that gets you moving will help you release endorphins.
2. Do Yoga
Speaking of exercise, one of the best and least strenuous exercises that you can do for your mental health is yoga. If you need something low-impact and easy to do at home, this is a great choice.
While yoga is good for your core strength and flexibility, it’s also great for your mental health. Yoga requires you to engage in mindfulness. It isn’t all about how you move your body; it’s also about how you breathe. Mindful breathing helps you to calm yourself down.
Because it’s a physical activity, yoga can also cause your brain to release endorphins, doubling its effectiveness.
Meditation and yoga often go hand-in-hand, but they don’t have to. When you meditate, you clear your mind of all of the clutter of day-to-day life.
Meditation is difficult for some people, but with enough practice, anyone can learn.
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and sit in a comfortable position. Establish and maintain a steady breathing pattern and do your best to focus on nothing.
If your mind starts to wander, accept and acknowledge that, but reel it back in.
If you’re new to meditation or if you have trouble releasing intrusive thoughts, consider introducing an unobtrusive noise to your space. Something like quiet water sounds works well. Focus on the noise.
4. Get Outside
While you’re exercising, consider going outside if you’re able. Not everyone has a good place to work out outdoors, but getting outside can really help your mental health.
On a sunny day, going outside can lift your mood through the power of vitamin D. The warm sun on your skin is calming.
Going on a hike, taking a walk, going swimming, or even laying in your yard with a good book are all great options if you need to get some outdoor time. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing as long as you’re taking some time to interact with nature, get some sun, and breathe fresh air.
5. Socialize With Friends
When we’re not feeling well mentally it’s tempting to self-isolate. This is one of the most counterproductive things that you can do when it comes to your mental wellness.
Instead, try to engage with friends somehow.
If you’re able to, interact with friends in person. Do something fun and low-effort to get your mind off of whatever is causing your distress. You can also talk to your friends about your stress, though be careful not to overwhelm them.
Sometimes talking out your problems is the best way to get through them.
If you’re not able to see your friends in person, video or voice chatting is a good alternative. It’s still social and you can do it from home, so you don’t have to go through the additional effort of leaving the house.
6. Try Journaling
Many people think that journaling is immature or only for teenagers and children, but this isn’t true. Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts onto paper so they aren’t taking up so much space in your mind.
Your journal can look however you want it to. Some people like a classic journal where they mark the dates and write down what they’ve done, what they plan to do, and their feelings for the day. That’s not the only option though.
If you prefer creative writing, use your journal for that. Journals are private so there’s no pressure to create anything “good” or complete. Write whatever comes to mind and if you choose to use it later, that’s great. If not, it’s still an important part of your journal.
Some people use art and design in their journals. You can draw or use collage techniques to make the journal your own.
Finally, some people use gratitude journals or manifestation journals. In these journals, you write the things that you’re grateful for and your goals and dreams for the future. This positivity can influence the rest of your day.
7. Engage In Hobbies and Passions
When was the last time you took time out for the things that you enjoy doing? Do you need something new to try out?
Devote some time each week to either try out new hobbies or immerse yourself in old ones. Often, focusing on something that we like can clear our minds and leave us in a better mood.
Whether you enjoy gardening, painting miniatures, doing puzzles, or anything else that isn’t part of your normal schedule, leave space for it. You may find yourself reigniting an old passion and refining old skills.
8. Do Something Nice for Others
Sometimes doing something good for other people makes us feel better as well. While you may think that this is counterintuitive as far as altruism goes, there’s nothing wrong with helping yourself while you help others. The end result is the same.
There are plenty of ways that you can give back to your community, and there’s something for every interest and available time commitment.
If you feel like giving back to local people, consider looking into mutual aid networks in your area, or going to a local shelter or soup kitchen to see what they need.
If you want to work on improving the local environment, get outside and pick up trash around your neighborhood. A little bit of trash collecting goes a long way.
If you enjoy working with animals, why not visit your local humane society or shelter? Animal shelters and rescue groups often need someone to help out by socializing with animals, cleaning cages, and taking dogs for walks.
Doing these small acts of service may be the ticket to improving your mood.
9. Consider Seeing a Counselor or Therapist
When you’ve been feeling down for a long period of time and nothing else seems to be working, it’s time to consider seeking out professional help. Therapy isn’t only for people who are experiencing severe illness.
A therapist is there to help you organize your thoughts, re-route intrusive thoughts, and help you however you need.
There are different kinds of therapy. The most common is talk therapy where you and your therapist have no specific plan in mind and you’re able to talk to an unbiased third party about whatever is stressing you out. You can also consider another approach, consisting of hiring a life coach. The aim is to work with deep and meaningful questions to help you identify what you really want in life.
If you need something more structured or intensive, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another popular option. There are plenty of therapy styles and your therapist can make suggestions based on what they think is right for you.
You could also try group therapy if you’re lacking in socialization. Group therapy is effective which is why almost every rehab center uses it to help heal patients.
Have You Tried Any of These Mental Wellness Activities?
Taking care of your mental health is important if you want to maintain an emotionally stable and physically healthy lifestyle. Don’t neglect your mental health because of a busy schedule. Take time to engage in self-care.
Whether you want to pursue a hobby, start a fitness routine, spend more time with friends, or start a journal, all of these mental wellness activities are great ways to ease your mind. Which will you choose?
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