Physical health is super important to living a happy and healthy life, which I’ve mentioned before. Almost more important than physical health though is mental health. You should have a healthy balance of both, but I think we too often forget about taking care of ourselves mentally.
A friend shared something with me yesterday that really stood out to me. It was a list of things this girl (from social media or another blog) did in the last year to improve her own mental health. After reading through it, I was inspired to share some of her ideas and some of my own. Once again, I think mental health is too often swept under the rug. It’s a real thing and it’s real important.
As someone who struggles with anxiety on a daily basis, it can be difficult to take a step back and take time to recharge. Being anxious is mentally exhausting, your mind just goes and you can’t just snap your fingers to stop it. It picks apart every detail of every situation, it’s like an argument with myself in my own head, if that makes any sense.
Sharing these ways to improve mental health is not only important to me but it should be important to you too, even if you do not struggle with a mental illness. Being proactive and mentally sharp is always great.
Realize Your Worth
This one can be a tough one, and it should not be. It’s tough because we tend to be very self critical. It’s okay to learn from your mistakes and know where you can improve, but it should never diminish your self-worth. You must be confident and know what you are worth not only to others but to yourself.
This is also like having self-respect. Know what you deserve and know when it’s time to walk away from something. You are worth so much and you deserve to be treated that way. Be aware of yourself, improve and make changes but never say sorry for who you are. Practicing this and avoiding extreme self-criticism will be step number one towards improving your mental health.
Take Care of Yourself
I read something recently that said “self-love isn’t just face masks and bubble baths.” And I thought this was so true. Although those things can be part of your self-care routine, they are not necessarily “self-love”. Taking care of yourself means allowing time to do things you want, giving yourself grace when things don’t work out and exercising your mind in a positive way to combat stress and anxious feelings.
Self-love and self-care means becoming mentally strong, becoming aware of your flaws and accepting them and working on your strengths and weaknesses. Self-love is recognizing your worth, building your own confidence and putting yourself first when needed. All of this comes by taking proper care of yourself. It’s okay to stay in on Friday night, if you need to. It’s okay to take a day to yourself or not respond to texts. You don’t owe anyone anything, your overall health is most important.
Cut Out Any Negativity
It’s okay to cut negative relationships, groups, thoughts and whatever else out of your life. Think of your mind as a garden; do you want lots of weeds strangling and preventing beautiful flowers to grow or do you want a colorful, lively garden? The weeds in your mental garden are the negative things. Don’t be afraid to be your own gardener and nourish your garden.
We get scared to walk away from things because they are comfortable, but you should not allow something to stay in your life if it is not positively impacting you. Allow yourself to let go of negativity and move on.
Learn to Take a Step Back
It’s easy to react quickly to certain actions or situations, but know when to take a step back. If you are someone who battles with anxiety or a similar mental illness, it can be easy to jump to conclusions and react in an extreme way. Make it a habit to allow yourself time to step back, analyze the situation appropriately (not overthink) and return to the problem/situation with a clear perspective.
This is a tip anyone can use in stressful or overwhelming situations. Humans can react rashly in high stress or high emotional situations. Learning to take breath and approach problems with a clear head will most likely make life run smoother. I know, personally, that anxiety can make my whole body shake and sweat. I kind of clam up. Therefore, stepping back for me also means taking time to calm down and just breathe. I’m a busy student and some days my anxiety overcomes me, which makes me have to take a step back.
Listen to Your Body
You’ve heard this one before on my blog but it covers a lot of ground. First, you should listen to your body in the sense of diet. Feeding your body with nutrients and proper portions allows you to have maximum energy and brain function. Really fresh food is wonderful. Water is also highly important to a healthy, functioning body.
Beyond what you are putting in your body, listening to your body also means getting enough sleep and relaxing when needed. It can also mean taking a hot shower or bath. It can be exercising to relieve stress. Whatever it may be, always be aware of your body’s needs. This is one that I continue to work on everyday. It doesn’t happen over night but it is a process of learning how your body is currently reacting to your routine compared to when you make healthy changes.
Your body is really your machine; treat it with care and show it some love.
These five things really resonated with me and they are things I continue to work on myself. I wanted to curate a list of my own. You can do the same, take my list and reinvent it for yourself.
I’ll say it again: mental health should not be forgotten about, it should be understood and taken care of. Mental health is important for everyone, whether you struggle with an illness or not, being mentally resilient is key.
Thank you for reading PYM. I appreciate you making it part of your day, and I hope to see you again soon.