Habits & Routines to Improve Your Mental Health
Nurturing your mental health begins with your daily habits and routines. Here are some things to consider, both with the types of habits you want to minimize or avoid as well as new healthy routines that improve your mental health.
Mental Health Habits to Avoid
While there are some amazing daily habits and rituals that can help improve your mental health, there are also some that might be more damaging than you realize. Many of these are subtle, but can make a difference in the long run.
Lack of Exercise and Proper Diet – Let’s get this one out of the way since it’s both really important to keep in mind and, often, the one you don’t want to accept. Yes, your daily exercise and eating habits can make a difference in how you feel emotionally and mentally. I’m in no way saying you need to have a rigid workout routine or stick to a restrictive diet, but you do want to take good care of your body.
Healthy, nutrient-dense foods help you feel better and give you more energy. Plus, some eating habits can actually make anxiety worse, including consuming a lot of caffeine or sugar. Exercise is a wonderful way to reduce your anxiety, help with stress, and clear your mind.
Perfectionism and Taking Yourself Too Seriously – Many people joke about how they are perfectionists and everything needs to be perfect and done exactly how they want. But when the laughing stops, you might find that it is actually severely impacting your life, and not in a good way.
Now is the time to stop expecting perfection and feeling like a failure just because you didn’t do everything on your list or you didn’t do it exactly 100 percent perfect. No human being is perfect, so this is completely unreasonable.
We don’t live in a black or white world – we live in a gray world. Find what is in the middle. A comfortable place where you know you work hard and have responsibilities, but you also let yourself have some fun and are open-minded about the results.
Hiding From Your Anxiety or Depression with Stimulants – It’s not uncommon to “deal” with mental health issues by avoiding them entirely. Far too many people do this and don’t even realize the ramifications. But if you are relying on stimulants to deal with your emotions or mental state, like smoking, drinking heavily, or relying on caffeine for energy, you are actually hurting yourself in the long run. Alcohol is actually a depressant, so it might be fun while drinking, but once you sober up, your depression and anxiety can feel much worse.
Overuse of Social Media – While using social media definitely has its merits, it can also be a negative habit that is actually hurting your mental health. If you are someone that just checks in every once in a while or when you get notifications, it’s probably not a negative influence for you, but if you’re one of many people who check social media constantly and whose notifications stress them out, it’s definitely worth considering reducing it in your daily life.
Why You Need a Mental Health Routine
A daily mental health routine is one where you are able to focus on yourself, practice some self-care, and reduce stress while also working on that work-life balance. It might sound like a lot, and it can be, but if you stick to a routine it will turn into daily healthy habits you don’t even have to think twice about.
Here are some of the top reasons you should consider creating a mental health routine.
It Helps Keep Your Anxiety Low – If you have an anxiety disorder, your routine is not going to cure it, but it can definitely help with those feelings of anxiety that pop up from your own daily habits. The routine you have each day can either help or hurt you, but often it does both. You might think that jumping on social media first thing in the morning is helping you get it out of the way before work, but there’s a good chance it’s actually increasing your anxiety and stress.
With a mental health routine, you can create a healthier morning routine that gives your mind a break and lets you wake up slowly without all that social media noise.
Manage Your Daily Stress – In addition to helping with anxiety, having a mental health routine can also reduce your stress. Just think of how much stress you add to your day simply by not getting everything done, not being aware of what you need to do, or having a poor work-life balance. This is even more important if you work from home, but any profession needs some structure.
With your daily routine, it is not just about your morning routine, but the different habits you have throughout the day. From choosing to eat lunch outside instead of in your office to fitting in some exercise, you can sprinkle in these little habits that are good for your mental health and reduce stress at the same time.
Build Strong, Healthy Habits – Having a mental health routine you commit to every day includes healthy habits that aren’t just good for your mind, but are good for your body as well. It’s not uncommon to add in healthy habits and discover they are amazing for your overall wellness. For example, adding yoga or morning stretching to your wakeup routine reduces stress and anxiety, helps you get a healthy start to the day without too much intensity, and also helps improve your physical health as well.
How Changing Your Mindset Can Help With Your Mental Health
If you are currently dealing with mental health issues, whether you have diagnosed anxiety or depression, anxious thoughts, or have a lot of emotional stress in your life, working on your mindset can do wonders. This is not a quick fix or meant to replace professional help, but it does help a lot with managing your mental state on a daily basis.
How and Why Mindset Matters When it Comes to Mental Health – What is your mindset? Simply put, it’s the pattern and way you think about everything in life, and the world at large. It can be as simple as what your thought process is on a fun night out with friends, and as deep as how you process severe loss and trauma. Everyone has a different pattern of thoughts and emotions tied into their mindset.
It’s also possible to change your mindset, which can ultimately improve your mental health. When it comes to mental health, it helps tremendously to work on your fixed vs growth mindset, which allows you to change how you think about progress and what can be improved in your own life.
You Have the Power Over Your Mindset – Yes, you can absolutely change your own mindset! But don’t let this be confused with taking blame for your mental health or mental illnesses. It doesn’t mean you are the reason you have stress or anxiety or depression, but it does mean that you have some control over how you handle it. It’s also not going to be a cure or get rid of your anxiety completely.
With mental health, there is a middle ground between understanding it and accepting that you have this mental illness, and looking for ways to deal with it in order to treat it and manage it. This is a big part of nurturing your mental health.
Understanding Fixed Vs. Growth Mindsets – While there are many ways to change your mindset in order to improve your mental health, the fixed vs growth mindset is a great place to start. Many people develop a fixed mindset without realizing it. This means most of your beliefs can’t be changed – or not yet. You have certain beliefs and think that what you know and understand and experience is just what you were born with.
A growth mindset is nearly the opposite. You understand that with the right therapy, education, and open-mindedness, anyone can change. That even with your mental health, you can look at things differently. That you aren’t stuck in this cycle.
Take Charge of Your Mental Health
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