By Jessica Diamond
Treat yourself with kindness and respect and avoid self-criticism. Negative self-talk can be extremely damaging, so remember to treat yourself with the understanding and compassion that you treat your best friend.
Take care of your body
Taking care of yourself physically can improve your mental health. Be sure to:
- Eat nutritious meals
- Drink plenty of water
- Exercise, which helps decrease depression and anxiety and improve moods
- Get enough sleep – researchers believe that lack of sleep contributes to a high rate of depression
Surround yourself with supportive people
People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network. Make plans with supportive family members and friends or seek out activities where you can meet new people, such as a club or support group.
Give your time to others
Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. You will feel good about doing something tangible to help someone in need — and it is a great way to meet new people.
Learn how to live with loneliness
Unfortunately, loneliness is a part of life. Practice effective coping skills, do yoga, exercise, take a nature walk, play with your pet, or try journal writing as a stress reducer. Also, remember to smile and see the humor in life. Research shows that laughter can boost your immune system, ease pain, relax your body, and reduce stress.
Quiet your mind
Try meditating, mindfulness, and/or prayer. Relaxation exercises and prayer can improve your state of mind and outlook on life. In fact, research shows that meditation may help you feel calm and enhance the effects of therapy.
Experiment with a new recipe, write a poem, paint, or try a new project. There is a link between creative expression and overall well-being.
Break up your routine
Although our routines make us more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, a little change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule. Alter your jogging route, plan a road trip, take a walk in a different park, hang some new pictures, or try a new restaurant.
Spend some time with a furry friend
Time with animals lowers the stress hormone cortisol and boosts oxytocin, which stimulates feelings of happiness. If you do not have a pet, hang out with a friend who does or volunteer at a shelter.
Take a digital detox
Consider adding an electronics-free time to your day. Taking time to unplug and disconnect from the constant stream of emails and alerts will allow you to interact with people face-to-face and will help reduce the many feelings of FOMO that social media can often stir up.
Get help when you need it
Seeking help is a sign of strength – not a weakness – and it is important to remember that treatment is effective. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and addiction and lead full, rewarding lives.