Healthy living involves more than physical health, it also includes emotional or mental health.
It is important to take care of yourself and make the most of your life. Below are 10 practical ways to care for your mental health. Simple changes to your lifestyle don’t require you to spend a fortune or spend a lot of time. Anyone can follow this advice. Would you like to start today?
What is Mental Health?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects the way we think, feel and behave when dealing with life. It also helps us decide how to deal with stress, interact with others, and make decisions. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood to adolescence, adulthood, and aging.
Tips for improving mental health:
- Get enough sleep daily; the CDC recommends the following by age group (naps inclusive); 12-18 hours from birth to 2 months, 14-15 hours from 3-11 months of age, 12-18 hours for 1-3 years of age, 11-13 hours for 3-5 years of age, 10-11 hours for 5-10 years of age, 8.5-9.5 hours for 10-17 years of age and those 18 and above need 7-9 hours of sleep. Elderly people need about 7-9 hours but do not sleep as deeply and may awaken at night or wake early, so naps (like kids need) allow them to accumulate a total of 7-9 hours of sleep.
- Take a walk and reflect on what you see and hear at least several times per week.
- Try something new and often (eat new food, try a different route to work, go to a new museum display).
- Do some mind exercises (read, do a puzzle occasionally during the week).
- Try to focus on a process intensely and complete a segment of it over 1 to several hours, then take a break and do something relaxing (walk, exercise, short nap).
- Plan to spend some time talking with other people about different subjects.
- Try to make some leisure time to do some things that interest you every week (hobby, sport).
- Learn ways to say “no” when something occurs that you do not want to do or be involved with.
- Have fun (go on a trip with someone you love, go shopping, go fishing; do not let vacation time slip away).
- Let yourself be pleased with your achievements, both big and small (develop contentment).
- Have a network of friends; those with strong social support systems lead healthier lives.
- Seek help and advice early if you feel depressed, have suicidal thoughts, or consider harming yourself or others.
- People taking medicine for mental health problems should not stop taking these medications, no matter how “well” they feel, until they have discussed their situation with their prescribing doctor(s).
It is also important to be aware of when you need help. Talk therapy and / or medication can treat mental illness. If you don’t know where to get treatment, contact your doctor first.