By: Angelie Karabatsos, LPC, NCC, MA, MBA
Pass by any fitness center or gym, on any given night, and you will find the place packed. Doctor’s offices are brimming with preventive care appointments. Knowledgeably nutritional store workers busily ring up the latest protein shakes or vitamin supplements.
We try to eat right, drink plenty of water, and exercise every day. Overall we do a great job of taking care of ourselves physically, but when was the last time you purposefully took care of your mental well-being?
I define mental well-being as: a state of being where an individual is aware of their anxieties, understands their thoughts, regulates their emotions, establishes healthy relationships, and adjusts their behaviors to cope with the demands of life. Chances are if you are not feeling sad, anxious, angry, or overwhelmed, you are not thinking about your mental health. Just like our physical being we need to take care of our mental being before those feelings emerge.
There are a number of preventive measures you can do to promote good mental health. Below you will find my top eight.
Eight Strategies for Taking Care of Your Mental Health
- Feed Your Mind: this can be a simple as turning off the television and reading a book. Becoming immersed in a good story or learning a foreign language stimulates brain activity, which keeps us vital and alert.
- Personal Self-Care: don’t skimp on your personal hygiene during your days off. How we dress influences how we feel about ourselves and our lives. Sometimes the sloppy t-shirt and torn jeans is just what we need. We are happiest when we like what we see in the mirror. Be purposeful with your appearance.
- Schedule Activities: playing around of golf, painting lovely seascapes, or going to the movies can improve our mood. Spending time doing things that brings us joy makes it easier to do unpleasant tasks.
- Engage Socially: seeing family and friends at least once a week combats feelings of loneliness or isolation. It also reduces the chance of depression.
- Listen To Music: listening to your favorite tunes while driving or when you first get home after a long day at work can calm you and help prepare you for your evening.
- Meditation exercises: five minutes of focused meditation, every day, can relieve stress, worry, or frustration. There are lots of quick and easy exercises that can be done anywhere. Perfect for busy professionals.
- Rest: getting a good night’s rest helps keep us focused and able to concentrate. Too much sleep can actually make you more tired, while too little makes it hard to make it through the day.
- Talk to a Counselor: talking to a neutral third party can help you look at your life differently, make career choices, or repair relationships. Whom better to talk to then someone trained to listen?
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