Mental wellness is a very important part of the wellness wheel and one you must address to have success on your fitness journey. These mental wellness activities can help you live a more balanced life.
Mental wellness counseling
Obviously, if you are struggling with your mental health and none of the ideas below are helping, or if you are having thoughts of suicide or harming yourself or someone else, seek professional advice immediately.
Mental wellness counseling can do a world of good and will go a long way in helping you overcome what you’re facing. We all need extra help sometimes, so don’t hesitate to reach out for counseling.
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Habits to improve mental health
There are many habits that you can form to improve your mental health on your own. Getting plenty of sleep, deep breathing, fresh air, and exercise, eating well, limiting screen time, and practicing mindfulness are great habits to get into.
How to get better sleep
Let’s start with getting better sleep. Sleep helps relieve stress which helps fight cortisol-a hormone that makes you gain weight. Exercise helps burn extra energy and helps you relax and sleep better at night. Sleep helps keep your heart healthy, improves memory, mood, and keeps you strong. But how do we get the elusive better sleep we so desperately need?
- Create a sleep sanctuary, a place that is peaceful and comfortable for you.
- Avoid eating right before sleep, make your last meal at least 3 hours before bed.
- Exercise but not late at night.
- Stay hydrated.
- Make a sleep routine.
- Don’t consume caffiene late in the day.
Limit screen time
Limiting screen time allows you to have more time for what is important such as friends, family, hobbies, work, and exercise. Limiting screen time also gives you a break from negativity. Media is filled with negative images and information that your brain and body can only take so much of. You don’t have to keep your head in the sand, but limit your sources of news for your sanity.
Screen time also makes you think you have to compete with others. Facebook, tv, and other entertainment are full of perfect images that show the surface of people’s lives and bodies and don’t have a realistic portrayal of reality. This can cause you to feel overwhelmed with not measuring up. In addition, it can cause feelings of greed.
It’s the biggest time suck there is. We waste tons of hours on screen time doing things that have little to no importance. All of these things contribute to depression or a feeling of emptiness. Fill your screen hours with reading books that will help improve your life, setting goals, or doing things to reach your goals.
Getting into the habit of mindfulness is a great way to be purposeful in your actions, reach goals, and keep your thought life under control.
My wife struggles with anxiety and her thoughts overwhelm her. But she’s learning that you have a choice whether to let your thoughts control you or to take captive every thought like the Bible teaches and think on good and true things. This is a big step for her and has changed her life completely.
In addition, being mindful is about knowing what needs to be done such as setting goals or making lists of tasks that need to be completed. And then focusing on those goals and executing what needs to be done with more clarity. Less time is wasted wandering around aimlessly when you have a direction to go.
So write it down, prioritize it, then check off the list. This gives you a lot more time for what is important and less time you don’t know what you did with. This is a huge self-esteem booster because you feel like you are accomplishing a lot.
There are many activities that help you keep your mental wellness in check. Deep breathing or being aware of your breathing, yoga, nature walks or biking, stopping to appreciate something in your life, or something you see, massages, exercise with friends and more. Find something that makes you feel good and centered.
Getting outside will do your mind and body a world of good. There is fresh air, sunshine, and even the soil has beneficial microbes in it that help with mental wellness. If you don’t like to garden or work in the yard, just take off your shoes and put your feet on the ground. I promise you’ll feel a difference.
God is a masterpiece designer. I love being outdoors. There are so many amazing things to see and do. I love doing yard work. It’s great exercise and you get to enjoy nature. I love eating meals outside, watching birds, or whatever. The outdoors always inspires me to do some soul searching and unwind from a hard day at work. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be outside. It was my happy place and it still brings me so much joy.
Laughter is the best medicine. It helps relieve stress. It helps build bonds between friends and family. And it also takes your mind off of what is causing you pain or stress. Try to laugh more in your life. And by the way, do you that a cheese factory just exploded in France? De-brie was everywhere. Ha ha ha ha. Get it?
Mental wellness tips
Stop rushing around and enjoy something. Stop and pet a cat. Do a crossword puzzle or read a guilty pleasure book. There are many things you can do to make yourself mentally in a better place. Focusing on positive things, good things, and true things make a world of difference. It’s tough to stay positive in the world we live in, but you can do it if you focus on that.
Find your purpose
Finding the purpose for your life will give your life direction. You don’t have to have it all figured out, but a general direction will help you know what is important. You’ll do more things to point you in that direction. Think about what your passions are and create a future with more of that in it.
You’ll feel more sure of what direction you’re going and waste less time. You’ll also feel good about yourself.
Cutting out junk food
The ugly elephant in the room for mental wellness is cutting out junk food. Junk food is full of chemicals and other things that make you feel and think like crap. The old adage, what you put in is what you get out works for your mind in more ways than one. Just like you need to feed your mind positive thoughts, you also need to feed it food with nutrients and building blocks for mental wellness.
When I was a child, my mom fed us only junk food and meat. We didn’t eat fruits and vegetables. We ate dessert and fried meats. I was never able to think clearly. But when I eat healthy for a day or two, I feel amazing. I have more energy and think better. It’s kind of like putting the wrong gas in your tank when you eat junk. It gums everything up.
So start slowly and just add a few fruits and vegetables to your diet at a time. Once you get used to that, start cutting the junk food. It will improve your mood, your relationships, your thought processes, and your energy levels. Whole, natural foods in their original state are best, and the less processed the better. The importance of nutrition is amazing.
Maya Angelou said to release the guilt. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you. So let it out and begin to live your best life!