We all know the importance of taking care of our physical well being. It’s been drilled into us since we were kids and our parents made us eat our veggies. Our mental health, however, is just as, if not more, important than our physical well being. It influences how we think, feel, and cope with everyday stressors.
Thankfully, in recent years, the mental health conversation has become more and more mainstream and we’re here for it. So in honor of World Mental Health Day on October 10, we’ve rounded up five easy ways you can take care of your mental health on the regular.
Retrain your mind
Your thoughts have a huge impact on the way you feel. Whenever a negative or limiting thought pops up, make it a habit to flip the switch on it and look at it from a different perspective. For example, if you’re dreading going to work on Monday morning, you can flip that thought to something more positive such as: “I’m grateful I have a job that allows me to support myself and my family.” This is a much more powerful mental state to be in. The more you practice this, the more you train your mind to focus on the good.
Detox your social media feeds
Social media can also have a negative effect on your mental health. It’s important to be mindful of what content fills up your news feeds. Go through the list of people you follow and one by one ask yourself: Is this person’s content adding value to my life? If the answer is no or if they trigger any sort of negative emotion, it might be time to unfollow or mute them. Make your social media feeds a place where you go to get inspired, connect with people you find interesting, and maybe even learn something—not a place that makes you feel bad.
Take a mental health day
Even if your inbox is full of unread emails and your to-do list is a mile long, it’s okay to take a mental health day when you need it (say, for example, the first day of your period). Tune in and ask yourself what you feel like you most need and then do that. Maybe it’s an impromptu trip to Disneyland for some old fashion fun. Or maybe it’s staying at home all day, throwing on a skin-enhancing sheet mask, and taking a bubble bath. Think of it as preventative care.
Do unproductive things
As adults with tons of responsibilities, it seems like we’ve forgotten what it’s like to just have fun for the sake of having fun. Not every single minute of your day has to be super productive. Hit the pause button on life once in a while and use that time to read, mess around with watercolor paints, learn how to play an instrument, put together a puzzle, or do anything else that sounds fun just because.
Mental health issues are not something you have to deal with alone. Enlisting support from a primary care doctor, a therapist, a coach, or even close friends and family members can make a major difference. And there is no threshold for how bad things need to get before you ask for help. Sooner is better than later.