Mental self-care and emotional well-being should be a key priority, especially with work and home environments causing extra pressure on everyone’s lives. Over the years, mental health issues have increased drastically, and since most companies don’t always encourage discussions around this topic, you’ll be shocked at how many people are dealing with depression, anxiety or stress on a daily basis. Having these internal challenges can influence your productivity and focus in every area of your life.
Even if you’re not currently facing anxiety or depression, it’s important to make time for yourself and look after your mental health. With the new year only a few months in, take the time to focus on YOU. Learning how to change things about yourself, from how you think and feel to how you handle and deal with stress, can really help to ease your moods. Sometimes chatting to a professional, meditating or taking a break can do wonders for your mindset. Here are some easy ways to improve your mental state this year:
- Talk to your doctor
Having a mental health condition can be expensive when you need to see a doctor or a professional every time you feel strange or need your medication to be adjusted. If this is the case, it’s important to consider the different medical plans that could help ease the financial pressure you’re under. The first step to doing this is understanding the difference between a hospital cover vs medical aid.
For people who are constantly in and out of the doctor, you’d benefit more from having a comprehensive medical plan that covers these visits. However, it’s just a one-off visit to chat with a doctor about your mental state, it’s not necessary to have more than hospital cover if you cannot afford it.
While a general practitioner will be able to speak to you and guide you with your feelings, they will advise you on the best possible clinician who is able to help you according to your specific needs. The great thing about having an opportunity to speak to someone is being able to open up about how you feel. Often this alone can make you feel better and take the weight off of your shoulders.
- Practice being thankful
Of course, having a mental illness will bring you down, but try and focus on the bright side of life. Many doctors suggest that if you express what you’re thankful for in life, it will encourage you to be happier about your circumstances. Try and be grateful on a regular basis and you’ll quickly see the change it will make in your behaviour and in your attitude.
- Try meditating
Meditation does not have to mean attending a yoga session on the beach, which is what many people perceive meditation to be. It’s about connecting with your inner self and learning how to focus. These mind exercises do wonders for your mental well-being as there are multiple ways that you can do it. From sitting in silence and focusing on your breathing to listening to meditation music and distracting your mind, everyone has a way that works best for them. Breathing plays a major role in becoming more relaxed, so try and set aside five minutes before you go to bed to unwind and relax.
- Write down your feelings
Many people suggest that you should write down the way you feel. If you don’t have someone to talk to about your feelings, just by writing these feelings down will make you feel ‘lighter’ about your mental state. Especially when something is keeping you up, writing may help to clear your mind and ease your stress. This goes hand-in-hand with educating yourself about the way you feel. Luckily, with the internet at our fingertips, there are countless articles to read which will advise you on what to do. These tips are a great help and can really help you put things into perspective when you’re feeling down, upset or inadequate.
Try and exercise a few times per week
Allowing your body to burn some calories and exercise is great for your brain. Getting outside and exercising in the fresh air is magical for your mindset as it releases endorphins. These ‘feel good’ chemicals give you an instant mood boost. Another reason to try and spend more time outside is that walking through nature helps to ease depressive symptoms and it makes you feel happier and at peace.
- Sleep earlier and more
One of the biggest things about mental illness is that you feel tired and emotionally drained all the time. But, if you’re not experiencing mental symptoms, try and sleep more to prevent yourself from burning out or hitting a low. Being tired, mentally, is extremely exhausting and poor sleep is the first sign of this. Try your best to create a sleep schedule where you get to bed earlier and use exercise, reading or meditation to help you drift off into la-la land without feeling anxious and worked up before bed time.
Take time out from social media
It is thoroughly advised that every now and then you do a social detox to escape a ‘materialistic’ world and to help you feel better about yourself and what you have. Many people feel that social media has pushed them to have a low self-esteem because of the things they do not have, which can easily cause you to feel depressed and unhappy. Make it your mission to cut out social media before you go to bed, and try not to read into each post too much as it’ll just make you feel upset unnecessarily.
- ‘No’ is not a swear word
Lastly, learn how to say no. Nowadays, people have become so comfortable with taking advantage of others that it can quickly lead to increased stress levels, anxiety and depression on your part if you don’t set boundaries. Before you accept something, think about the consequences for yourself. When you say yes to everything, you’re setting yourself up for failure and even burnout. This can leave you feeling overwhelmed and mentally ill. Make decisions that are best suited for you and your capacity.