We talk a lot about the importance of maintaining our physical health, but what about our mental health?
Just as important as exercise is to keep our bodies healthy, tending to our mental well-being is equally vital to our quality of life. However, sometimes the most basic self-care practices are easy to overlook, especially when it comes to mental health. Here is some important information on the crucial elements you don’t want to miss—and how you can easily incorporate them into your lifestyle.
Manage your stress levels
Everyone gets stressed now and then, but chronic stress can have far-reaching consequences on your health. Some studies show too much stress can change how you store fat, speed up the aging process, and increase your risk of cancer. Too much stress over a period of time even has the potential to damage critical parts of your brain. Rather than living with ongoing stress, it’s important to find and employ effective strategies for managing stress. For instance, you can learn some mindfulness techniques, such as breathing exercises, to help you relax. Simply taking time to slow down and focus on your breathing—inhaling and exhaling slowly and purposefully—can help you cope in tough situations.
Practicing mindfulness is especially handy because it can be used in nearly any situation. You can also practice the technique in a quiet space at home for deeper levels of relaxation. Mental Health America explains that deep relaxation offers important mental health benefits, including reducing the risk of depression, lowering anxiety, and helping to improve your mood and outlook. Getting enough sleep can also lower stress levels and help you better handle tense situations. Include some exercise and a nutritious diet in your lifestyle as well to improve and support your brain function, helping you relax, think clearly, and better maintain your moods.
Set firm boundaries
Setting and keeping personal boundaries is challenging to many people. Sometimes, you might put yourself last in an effort to please others, or because you’re afraid of the response you would receive if you asserted an opinion. Even if you set clear boundaries, enforcing them can be particularly difficult. It’s important to give yourself the same rights you give to others. Saying “no” and establishing space, figuratively and/or literally, means you are valuable, you respect your own needs, and you expect others to respect your needs as well. Boundaries are important in all relationships, with everyone from friends and family members to coworkers.
When someone crosses your boundaries, you will know because you will feel badly about the situation. You might experiences emotions of resent, hurt, or anger. When a problem arises, sort out your feelings and discuss the circumstances with the appropriate party—calmly and with the same respect, you wish to receive in return. Finding healthy methods for conflict resolution is difficult, but it’s better than living in an unbalanced relationship. If you have ongoing trouble maintaining boundaries, one recommendation is to engage support, whether from an organisation, coach, a close friend, or counselor or perhaps your faith.
Enjoy some downtime
Spending time relaxing or participating in recreational activities is often underrated and overlooked in our on-the-go world. You need to make time to simply enjoy life—laughing, relaxed, and at leisure. Partaking in a hobby is a great way to spend your downtime. Do some jigsaw puzzles, create art, write in a journal, or take up photography. Business Insider notes that time spent on hobbies in nature provide added mental health benefits. You can improve your short-term memory, feel more energized, think more clearly, and enhance your ability to concentrate. Consider hiking, walking with your dog, planting a garden, or just meditating in green space. Spending time in the great outdoors can be a boon to you physically as well as mentally, potentially helping to boost your immune system, improve your eyesight, and perhaps even lower your risk of cancer—all while helping you to live longer.
Living a full and healthy life is something most of us aspire to, but many times we overlook important wellness practices. Manage stress levels, set boundaries, and enjoy yourself. These basic elements are often overlooked but can mean a better overall quality of life.