Guest post from Brad Krause, writer and owner of SelfCaring.
All too often, most of us assume our mental health will take care of itself whether we’re at home or in the office. We figure it’s something we either have or we don’t, so we run ourselves ragged without giving much thought to maintaining our minds. However, when we skip some simple practices, we put our well-being at risk. Below are some ways you can keep your mental health in check.
Serenity at Home
The thought of cleaning up around your home can be daunting—after all, how do you make time for it in your busy schedule? However, when clutter isn’t addressed and removed, you can actually become less productive. A well-organized home promotes better mental health by improving sleep, concentration, and creativity. Instead of viewing decluttering as a challenge, try to see it as a necessity for living a more positive life. Removing unwanted clutter results in kicked-up dust and dirt, so make sure you deep clean your home as well. If this seems overwhelming to you, hire a cleaning service to do it. Hiring a maid service costs an average of $170 in Greenlawn.
Building Blocks for Our Brains
Most likely, you are well aware of how you feel when you’re hungry, but did you know the food you eat does more than satisfy your appetite? Proper nutrition plays a primary role in brain health, fueling your body and mind with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. To function optimally and encourage wellness, your brain needs vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. There are even certain foods that can boost your mood, including nuts, asparagus, spinach, kale, and wild salmon. It’s important to avoid sugary and processed foods, as they can inhibit your mind’s function and contribute to mental health concerns.
Many people struggle with a healthy diet since we live in an on-the-go society. Convenience meals and fast foods are thriving enterprises, not to mention the quick fixes we employ when it comes to managing our stress and energy levels. Many times, that can mean too much alcohol, sugar, and caffeine. Feeling stressed after a long work week? Instead of a beer or liquor drink, try a single glass of red wine. Craving something sweet? Indulge in some fresh fruit with a greek yogurt dip. Smoothies are also a delicious way to add vegetables and fruits to your diet. Switching out these unhealthy habits for beneficial ones isn’t difficult, but it does take willpower.
More Important Than It Seems
People often discount the value of sleep, feeling their time is better spent “doing” things. However, it’s important to understand that sleeping is vital to your health. Insufficient slumber and poor quality sleep appear to be linked with numerous mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety, and treating the sleep problem can often help alleviate the symptoms of mental illness. Lost sleep can also contribute to moodiness and behavior issues, and some studies indicate inadequate sleep contributes to negative thought patterns.
It’s important to develop healthy sleep habits. Create a schedule so your mind and body know sleep is coming. Go to bed at the same time each night, and get up at the same time each morning. Verywell Health explains participating in a bedtime ritual for 30 to 60 minutes before laying down can help you to let go of the cares of the day, lower stress levels, and promote relaxation. For example, you can listen to soothing music, do some light stretches, and sip herbal tea (organic chamomile tea can be purchased online for $4.78). Put aside your to-do list, find a routine that works for you, and stick to it.
Guard Your Fences
How we interact with others can be indicative of how we see ourselves. Creating and adhering to healthy boundaries is all about how we expect to be treated, protecting our time, energy, and well-being. It’s how we keep from being manipulated or burned out and avoid becoming resentful. When it comes to establishing healthy boundaries, think about what makes you uncomfortable or what activities you engage in routinely which you dread. This can apply in nearly any relationship, from friendships and family members to workplaces and churches. Once you identify areas you need to address, HuffPost suggests communicating directly and kindly about your concerns. While this may be uncomfortable, in the end, you can feel better about yourself and the other party thanks to firming up boundaries. There may be people and relationships which are too toxic to salvage, but know that you are making the healthy choice.
Don’t sacrifice yourself to clutter, convenient foods, a never-ending to-do list, or people with unrealistic expectations. Living a happy, healthy life is possible with good decisions. Protect your mental well-being with basic but crucial self-care practices.
Featured image courtesy of Pexels