Ways To Improve Your Mental Health
Between the pandemic and with final exams quickly approaching, it is important to pay attention to how you are feeling. How are you? Really, how are you? Are you feeling overwhelmed? This is your sign to check in on your mental health! Here are 5 ways to help improve your mental health:
It’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed- from keeping track of your schedule, keeping up with friends and family, work, school, etc. I like to write out my thoughts when I’m feeling frustrated, or can’t seem to pinpoint what’s really bothering me. Even when I don’t know what to write, I just put pen to paper and let my mind do the rest. I prefer to handwrite my thoughts over typing. Handwriting slows me down and allows me to process my thoughts as I am moving the pencil over the paper. By acknowledging and keeping track your thoughts and feelings, you are better able to look back and reflect on what in your life is making you happy and what isn’t.
#2 ALLOW YOURSELF TO TAKE A BREAK
Whether it’s from social media, work, school, or a friendship- know when you have reached your limit. Take time for yourself whether it's picking up your favorite book (obviously, we recommend Critters Who Care), turning your phone on do not disturb, knitting, working out, cooking yourself a healthy meal, or even cancelling your plans and turning in early for the evening. Know that you are more than your job, your grades, and what others may say about you- you are allowed to unplug and do the things you love!
#3 BREAK YOUR NORMAL ROUTINE
I sometimes find myself in a loop of waking up, going to school, going home, cooking dinner, homework, sleep, and back at it again. Just as if I were to eat chicken breast and steamed broccoli for everyday for weeks on end, you are bound to get tired of doing the same routine without switching it up. We need to switch up our routines just as we switch up our meals. I recently began picking up new and old hobbies, from reading a new book, knitting, playing guitar, and even coding! Find something that will disrupt your normal- switch it up! Do something you can look forward to that isn’t part of your existing daily routine.
Need some disrupting ideas? Check out:
Trust me, I was one of those people that thought meditation was a fad. But the day that I actually took it seriously, I was proven wrong! With apps such as HeadSpace or Calm, I took those five to ten minutes per day to really decompress and get ready for whatever was ahead of me. By concentrating only on myself and my feelings for a few moments today with zero distractions, I am able to disconnect from everything life is demanding of me and recenter myself. It has become something I look towards whenever I feel a wave of anxiety.
#5 SPEND TIME OUTSIDE
Remember when we were kids? We used to go outside and stare at the clouds, play with the grass, and spent hours on end exploring and being in the present moment. Back then social media didn't exist- there were no distractions or obligations pulling us in 7 directions at once. Now, it is so easy to get caught up in our phones and laptops for hours on end scrolling through social media and watching Netflix. Chances are, we miss how we used to feel when we were kids. I truly believe this is because of all of the hours we used to spend time outside in the present moment. To recreate this, put your phone down and go outside. Take a walk around your neighborhood, even do something as small as going to get your mail! Schedule time into your day, even if just for a few minutes, to go outside. These are moments where you can take a deep breath, admire the beauty of being alive, and be in the present moment.
Can't think of what to do? Go read 9 Ways To Reconnect With Nature.