May is here, which means that it’s officially Mental Health Awareness Month! Data suggests that over a quarter of US adults suffer from mental illness every year, and that’s why it’s incredibly important to know how to protect, understand, and take care of our mental health.
The process of taking care of our mental health isn’t quite as simple as, let’s say, the car restoration process. However, it’s completely doable. We’re here to help by offering a list of 4 effective ways to take care of your mental health.
Let’s get right into it.
Get Quality Sleep
Quality sleep is essential for our mental health. In fact, research shows that people who don’t receive quality sleep each night are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, and they’re also at a higher risk of suicide when compared to people who get adequate sleep each night. That’s why the first line of defense in taking care of your mental health is to ensure you’re getting at least 7 to 8 hours of quality shut eye each night.
Mindfulness is when your focus and attention are on the present moment. This could include being aware of what your senses are picking up, the thoughts in your mind, and the emotions you’re feeling. Practicing mindfulness is an effective way to take care of your mental health, as it helps to develop a greater sense of self, regulate and manage emotions, and foster self-love and self-compassion. If you’re not sure where to start with practicing mindfulness, there are plenty of resources available online to help you get started like this mindfulness overview from Mind.org.
Don’t Invalidate Your Feelings
It’s incredibly common for people who struggle with mental illness to judge or wish their feelings away. While the goal is to help alleviate negative and unwanted feelings and emotions, it’s crucial that you validate them first. Without validating your emotions, you’re not able to ever work through them. Every emotion has a purpose, and it’s important that you view your emotions in a non-judgmental and compassionate way. Once you learn to sit with your feelings, you’re more likely to be able to regulate, understand, and care for them.
Avoid Toxic People
There are many people who struggle with mental illness as a result of turbulent or toxic relationships. What others say and how they treat us have the power to disrupt how we view and think of ourselves. This is why it’s paramount that you avoid toxic people and cut off relationships that you know are damaging to your mental health. If you struggle to end toxic relationships, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, there are plenty of professionals who can help you to navigate and leave a toxic relationship, and it’s best that you consult with them – then try and go at it alone.