10 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health

What does it mean to be healthy? The JingSlingers believe that it’s about both your physical and mental health – and we agree 100%. To be a true superhero, you need to be at the top of your game. That means being happy and mentally healthy. Unfortunately, that can be easier said than done. That’s why we’ve come up with these 10 ways to take care of your mental health.

1. Take care of your body.

When your body is at superhero status, it keeps your brain healthy and makes you more able to deal with life’s daily stressors. So sleep 7-9 hours a night. Exercise regularly, especially when you’re feeling out of sorts because doing so will naturally improve your mood. Eat regular healthy meals and make sure you get enough omega-3s, which help reduce your risk of mood swings. And watch your intake of sugar, caffeine and alcohol – all of which can mess with your mood.

2. Build a support network.

Have you ever noticed that you feel worst on the days you don’t talk to anybody? Regular social interactions are essential to both our emotional and physical health. In fact, chronic loneliness ups your chances of an early death by 14%! So make sure you build a strong support network. That might mean joining a group in a new city to make friends, or it could mean calling your mom every week. Once you have a strong network of people to support you, rely on them for help! Reach out regularly and stay social to reduce your chances of feeling lonely. You should have at least one meaningful conversation (talking, not texting) each day. While it’s better if it’s with a friend, chatting with a waiter is OK on some days too. And remember, not all relationships are healthy – get out of anything that’s toxic.

3. Seek out fun.

Doing things we like is great for our mental and physical health! But contrary to popular belief, fun things don’t always just happen. If you’re out of college and your friends are all working, you have to actively seek out fun. Maybe it means planning a vacation with your best friends. Maybe it just means taking time out to read every day if it’s important to you. If you wait for fun to happen to you, you might not get what you want. Plan it out instead. You might be surprised at the cool events you find.

4. Accept your pain.

Everybody has days they don’t feel so hot mentally. While it’s probably not the best idea to cry for hours on end, neither is it a good idea to force yourself to smile at everyone. Far too many people hate the idea that they’re unhappy all the time. They don’t think it’s OK that they don’t feel OK – but we’re here to tell you that it is. You don’t need to feel guilty about having bad days. It’s perfectly natural. You should certainly try to improve them in any way you can, but if you need a few hours to feel? That’s fine too.

5. Ask for help.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. Sometimes, that means asking a co-worker to cover a project you didn’t realize you couldn’t handle. Other times, it might mean finding a therapist. You might need both of these actions at different times, and you shouldn’t be afraid to take either. A therapist can help you when you feel like you can’t get out of bed in the morning – but they’re also just as helpful if you need someone to talk to and want a few strategies to feel just a little better. Another way to ask for help? Ask your parents about your family’s mental health history. You might learn some strategies or things about yourself you didn’t know before. For example, maybe your grandfather will tell you to stop drinking alcohol because it makes people in the family especially angry.

6. Help others.

One of the quickest and simplest ways to feel happier is to help others. Try volunteering in your community – you’ll feel more connected to your home and make some friends with similar interests nearby. Not ready for that commitment? What about a random act of kindness for a friend or stranger?

7. Build a habit of gratitude.

When you’re not feeling well mentally, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling sorry for yourself. But all of us are blessed in countless ways! That’s why it’s important to maintain an attitude of gratitude. The next time you start to list all the reasons your life is terrible, stop and find reasons to be grateful instead. It’s OK if the only one you can think of is “I’m alive.” You should also consider listing a few things you’re grateful for each day, either out loud or in a journal. Having trouble? When something good happens to you, write it down and put it in a jar on your nightstand. Pull it out each morning to start your day with a smile on your face.

8. Be present.

People who struggle with their mental health often ruminate on their negative thoughts, a process which distracts them from all the wonderful things going on around them. Strive to be present instead by practicing mindfulness. For a few moments each day, take in your surrounding environment and focus on being in the moment. Notice your breath. Focus on how the wind feels across your face. Practicing being in the present helps you gain a little perspective and realize that maybe your problems aren’t so bad.

9. Give yourself a break.

Giving yourself a break means taking a real vacation from work each year. But it also means relaxing for a few moments on even your most stressful days. It means treating yourself to a bubble bath. It means recognizing that perhaps you’re not ready to make a major life change and giving yourself permission to postpone it until you feel more ready. Giving yourself a break is about getting rid of the “shoulds,” and acting in a way that takes care of you.

10. Set goals.

Not having a clear direction in life is one of the fastest ways to mess with your mental health. When you feel purposeless, your mind wanders and you get stressed out about the future. While you don’t have to know what you want to do with your life, strive to set a few long-term personal and professional goals so you have something to look forward to. Does that seem too scary now? Why not start learning a new skill? Improving the skill will give you a goal for the future that doesn’t seem overwhelming and doesn’t have to define your life now.

Liked this? Check out How to Help Someone with Depression!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

What does it mean to be healthy? The JingSlingers believe that it’s about both your physical and mental health – and we agree 100%. To be a true superhero, you need to be at the top of your game. That means being happy and mentally healthy. Unfortunately, that can be easier said than done. That’s why we’ve come up with these 10 ways to take care of your mental health.

1. Take care of your body.

When your body is at superhero status, it keeps your brain healthy and makes you more able to deal with life’s daily stressors. So sleep 7-9 hours a night. Exercise regularly, especially when you’re feeling out of sorts because doing so will naturally improve your mood. Eat regular healthy meals and make sure you get enough omega-3s, which help reduce your risk of mood swings. And watch your intake of sugar, caffeine and alcohol – all of which can mess with your mood.

2. Build a support network.

Have you ever noticed that you feel worst on the days you don’t talk to anybody? Regular social interactions are essential to both our emotional and physical health. In fact, chronic loneliness ups your chances of an early death by 14%! So make sure you build a strong support network. That might mean joining a group in a new city to make friends, or it could mean calling your mom every week. Once you have a strong network of people to support you, rely on them for help! Reach out regularly and stay social to reduce your chances of feeling lonely. You should have at least one meaningful conversation (talking, not texting) each day. While it’s better if it’s with a friend, chatting with a waiter is OK on some days too. And remember, not all relationships are healthy – get out of anything that’s toxic.

3. Seek out fun.

Doing things we like is great for our mental and physical health! But contrary to popular belief, fun things don’t always just happen. If you’re out of college and your friends are all working, you have to actively seek out fun. Maybe it means planning a vacation with your best friends. Maybe it just means taking time out to read every day if it’s important to you. If you wait for fun to happen to you, you might not get what you want. Plan it out instead. You might be surprised at the cool events you find.

4. Accept your pain.

Everybody has days they don’t feel so hot mentally. While it’s probably not the best idea to cry for hours on end, neither is it a good idea to force yourself to smile at everyone. Far too many people hate the idea that they’re unhappy all the time. They don’t think it’s OK that they don’t feel OK – but we’re here to tell you that it is. You don’t need to feel guilty about having bad days. It’s perfectly natural. You should certainly try to improve them in any way you can, but if you need a few hours to feel? That’s fine too.

5. Ask for help.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. Sometimes, that means asking a co-worker to cover a project you didn’t realize you couldn’t handle. Other times, it might mean finding a therapist. You might need both of these actions at different times, and you shouldn’t be afraid to take either. A therapist can help you when you feel like you can’t get out of bed in the morning – but they’re also just as helpful if you need someone to talk to and want a few strategies to feel just a little better. Another way to ask for help? Ask your parents about your family’s mental health history. You might learn some strategies or things about yourself you didn’t know before. For example, maybe your grandfather will tell you to stop drinking alcohol because it makes people in the family especially angry.

6. Help others.

One of the quickest and simplest ways to feel happier is to help others. Try volunteering in your community – you’ll feel more connected to your home and make some friends with similar interests nearby. Not ready for that commitment? What about a random act of kindness for a friend or stranger?

7. Build a habit of gratitude.

When you’re not feeling well mentally, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling sorry for yourself. But all of us are blessed in countless ways! That’s why it’s important to maintain an attitude of gratitude. The next time you start to list all the reasons your life is terrible, stop and find reasons to be grateful instead. It’s OK if the only one you can think of is “I’m alive.” You should also consider listing a few things you’re grateful for each day, either out loud or in a journal. Having trouble? When something good happens to you, write it down and put it in a jar on your nightstand. Pull it out each morning to start your day with a smile on your face.

8. Be present.

People who struggle with their mental health often ruminate on their negative thoughts, a process which distracts them from all the wonderful things going on around them. Strive to be present instead by practicing mindfulness. For a few moments each day, take in your surrounding environment and focus on being in the moment. Notice your breath. Focus on how the wind feels across your face. Practicing being in the present helps you gain a little perspective and realize that maybe your problems aren’t so bad.

9. Give yourself a break.

Giving yourself a break means taking a real vacation from work each year. But it also means relaxing for a few moments on even your most stressful days. It means treating yourself to a bubble bath. It means recognizing that perhaps you’re not ready to make a major life change and giving yourself permission to postpone it until you feel more ready. Giving yourself a break is about getting rid of the “shoulds,” and acting in a way that takes care of you.

10. Set goals.

Not having a clear direction in life is one of the fastest ways to mess with your mental health. When you feel purposeless, your mind wanders and you get stressed out about the future. While you don’t have to know what you want to do with your life, strive to set a few long-term personal and professional goals so you have something to look forward to. Does that seem too scary now? Why not start learning a new skill? Improving the skill will give you a goal for the future that doesn’t seem overwhelming and doesn’t have to define your life now.

Liked this? Check out How to Help Someone with Depression!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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