Today’s fast-paced lifestyle can take a toll on you both physically and mentally. But just as you keep your body fit, you should also care for yourself emotionally. Making a few small changes in your lifestyle can do wonders for your mental health.
Schedule Alone Time
If you’re like most people, your daily schedule is packed with work and home obligations. But in between, you should also schedule time for yourself. Make an appointment with yourself each day and stick to it. It only takes a few minutes to restore and refresh yourself.
Alone time is going to look different for each person. Some will prefer to withdraw to a quiet place, take a long bath, or read a book. Others will want to use their alone time to take a walk, work on special projects, or work in the garden. The important thing is to allow time for self-reflection and reduce stress.
Start a Fitness Routine
Working out has proven benefits for mental health. Exercise oxygenates your blood, stimulates the nerves in your brain, and releases feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. These physical reactions have a direct effect in addressing the symptoms of depression.
Physical action also serves as an outlet to express mental stress, anxiety, and nervous energy. Focusing on your body and fitness goals can give you a sense of accomplishment and raise your self-esteem. As you progress in your fitness routine, you’ll find yourself looking forward to your workout as a way to recharge.
Your daily diet can impact your mood and mental stamina. To function well, your brain needs a variety of powerful nutrients sometimes referred to as Brain Essential Nutrients. These include omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and B vitamins, as well as vitamins C and D. These nutrients are linked to reduced mood swings and a decreased incidence of depression. Long-term, they may play a role in preventing dementia.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds. You can increase your intake by sprinkling flaxseed in your cereal or yogurt. Nuts and seeds are also a great source of magnesium, as are beans and whole grains.
Create More Space to Relax
Try to carve out a little space in your home as a private retreat, where you can get away and relax. This may be a corner of your bedroom or living room or a finished area of your basement. Going to this place will send a signal to your mind that it’s time to slow down and detach from the world, if only for a few minutes.
If you have a patio or deck, you may be able to utilize an outdoor area. Furnish it with a comfortable chair and side table for a beverage or book. Be sure to add some shade to protect yourself and your furnishings, especially if they’re made of wood. You can prevent damage by keeping wood furniture out of the sun.
Take Time to Socialize
As much as you need time alone, you also need the benefits of positive social contact. Studies have shown that loneliness can have devastating effects on your physical and mental health. Yet, it’s often difficult for adults to find time to socialize or make new friends.
Keep in mind you don’t need deep, intimate friendships to reap the benefits of socialization. Casual acquaintances can be fun and occasionally can blossom into deeper friendships. Try taking a class, joining a book club, or reaching out to someone you’ve drifted apart from.
Start a New Hobby
Sometimes it’s the dreary repetitiveness of life that can get you down. Taking up a new hobby can stimulate your mind and give you something to look forward to. People who engage regularly in fun activities experience less stress, better moods, and lower risk of depression.
You can choose something to do on your own, such as painting, jewelry-making, or puzzles. Or, if you prefer to learn with other people, join a bowling league or a pickleball team, or take an adult education class at your local community college.
Get a Pet
Hugging or petting a dog or cat has been proven to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and stimulate your brain to release mood-enhancing endorphins. That’s why pets are so often used as therapy dogs. Pets keep you active both physically and mentally. There are many animals in shelters that need homes.
If you don’t have the space or time for a larger pet, there are also benefits to owning smaller animals. Even a hamster or bird makes a good companion. An aquarium of fish has an especially peaceful and calming effect.
Taking care of your mental health is just as important as staying physically well. The body, the mind, and your lifestyle have an unbreakable connection. Making positive changes to your life can improve your overall well-being.
Check out this article for 5 ways to unwind and recharge during the holidays!