Since the start of the pandemic, the World Health Organization estimates that the global incidence of anxiety and depression has increased by an alarming 25%.
What about closer to home? Despite living in one of the most beautiful states in the nation, Coloradans have the third highest rate of mental illness in the US. In fact, 19.55% of Colorado residents live with some type of mental health issue.
October 10 is World Mental Health Day, making this month the perfect time to pause and reflect on your own well-being. If you’ve been struggling with high levels of stress, anxiety, or depression, you’re not alone.
Keep reading for five habits to improve mental health that you can start right now.
1. Take Care of Your Physical Health
Your physical health and mental health are inextricably linked. If your mental health needs a boost, take an honest look at how well you’re caring for your physical health.
For example, are you getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night? Are you fueling your body with nutritious meals and plenty of water? Do you practice moderation when it comes to alcohol and caffeine? Are you getting enough exercise as well as enough downtime to recharge your batteries?
A good night’s sleep might not magically solve all your problems, but it will put you in a better frame of mind to deal with them.
2. Learn to Value Yourself
A shocking 85% of adults and adolescents struggle with low self-esteem. In fact, more deaths are caused by suicide each year than homicide and war combined.
If you tend to be overly critical of yourself, you’re only creating unnecessary stress and anxiety. Identify your negative thought patterns, learn how to stop them, then replace them with neutral or positive statements.
Learning how to use positive self-talk can help you adopt not only a more positive view of yourself but also a more positive view of the world around you.
3. Surround Yourself With Positive People
Did you know that forging strong social connections leads to lower rates of anxiety and depression? In fact, research shows that people with a strong network of friends can better regulate their emotions, have higher self-esteem, and have a 50% increased chance of a longer life!
When you’re feeling down, reach out to supportive friends and family members. If you need to widen your social circle, join a club, take a class, or volunteer for a cause close to your heart. If necessary, take steps to identify toxic people and relationships and eliminate them from your life.
4. Adopt a Regular Routine of Self-Care
Could your mental burnout simply be a result of not slowing down and giving your body (and mind) a chance to pause?
Some of the best self-care ideas are free, easy, and require very little time. For example, you could try:
- Writing in a gratitude journal
- Spending more time outside in nature
- Relaxing in a bubble bath or hot tub
- Lighting candles or using aromatherapy
- Disconnecting from electronic devices for a short time
- Starting (and finishing) a creative project
- Practicing Tai Chi, yoga, or meditation
- Scheduling a weekly or monthly massage
- Sketching, painting, or coloring in a color book
Your self-care routine may look different than your friend’s, but that’s okay! The trick is to find what works for you.
5. Know When to Seek Professional Help
For some of us, taking better care of ourselves physically and trying to stay positive is enough to give our mental health a boost. For others, it requires more.
If you’re struggling with severe anxiety or depression that disrupts your daily life, or if you’ve ever contemplated self-harm or suicide, seek immediate professional help. A doctor, therapist, or counselor can identify the underlying cause of your feelings and recommend appropriate treatment.
Adopt These Habits to Improve Mental Health
Stress levels might be on the rise, but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to worry-filled days and sleepless nights. By adopting some of these habits to improve mental health, you can boost your well-being and feel more in control of your life.
After some reflection, is it time to level up your self-care routine? Regular bodywork can do wonders, not just for your physical aches and pains, but for your mental health too.
With two convenient locations in Avon and Glenwood Springs, Simply Massage is ready to help you feel your best. Give us a call at 970-748-1600 or click here to book your next massage.