With everything going on in the world right now, a lot of people unfortunately just aren’t in a positive headspace right now. You might be struggling with isolation due to pandemic restrictions, or perhaps some other anxieties and worries are deteriorating your mental wellbeing. While the world is more health-conscious than ever, attention to mental health is often not given the same priority as physical health. Your mental health is just as important a factor to your overall health as your physical health, if not more. If you feel like you’ve been stuck in a funk lately, here are five tips to get you feeling great again.
Reconnect with Nature
Lately, many people are spending all their time in small, cramped home offices or bedrooms, never seeing the light of day. If that describes you, please remember that human beings aren’t meant to be stuck in a box all day! It’s extremely important to get some fresh air and sunlight every so often. This isn’t just idle advice, either; research suggests that vitamin D, which humans produce naturally through exposure to sunlight, plays a vital role in mood regulation and warding off depression.
Natural settings like parks and nature reserves are typically much less crowded than streets, so they’re safer to visit. Take some time to pack a few healthy snacks, grab a few bottles of water (hydration is important!), and hit the hiking trail. Being surrounded by birds and trees and other life is sure to make you feel refreshed and revived, as well. If you don’t live in an area with large parks or hiking trails, just sitting or taking a stroll through a green area like a garden or parkette will do the trick too.
Take Care of Yourself
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to get so caught up in work and other people that you forget to take care of yourself. You’re not doing anyone any favors by neglecting self-care, though. Take the time to prepare healthy meals for yourself, instead of saving a few minutes and eating junk. Research suggests that a healthy diet, complete with a balance of essential nutrients, can play a large role in improving overall mood and mental state. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard or expensive, and with a little practice, it’s delicious too! Improving your nutrition can also help increase confidence in your self-image, and you’ll never have to settle for instant noodle packets again.
Open Up to People
It’s easy to forget the importance of socializing with other people, especially these days, when meeting friends face-to-face can be a challenge. That doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them, though. Humans are naturally social creatures, and research suggests the need for social connection is just as vital to our wellbeing as food or water. Modern technology offers all sorts of ways to remotely hang out with your besties, too. For instance, you could play a game together over a video conferencing app, stream a movie together, or just go old school and call them.
It’s important to share your anxieties and worries by opening up to people you trust, as well. Never feel like telling someone your problems is placing a burden on them. Your friends and family love you, and they are there for you (if you’ll let them be!). Encourage the people you love to share their problems with you, too. You’ll find that by opening up to one another, you’re not actually alone in your worries. Everyone is struggling with their own private stresses in life, and carrying the weight of your problems together is much easier than trying to do it alone. If you don’t have anyone in your life you trust to speak to about your issues, it’s perfectly okay to vent to a therapist.
Schedule Regular Wellness Checks
Many illnesses and other medical conditions have symptoms that can affect your mood. Sleepiness, lack of energy, aches, and depression can all have underlying health causes. It’s important to get regular check-ups, and be sure to talk to your doctor or healthcare professional if you are experiencing symptoms that are affecting your mood. In fact, undiagnosed STIs can also result in a higher propensity for sadness or poorer mood regulation. Regular STI screenings, however, can help your mood and overall health, regardless of sexual activity.
Remember to Exercise
Exercise is also extremely important, both for your emotional and physical health. Not only does regular exercise strengthen your body’s muscles, but exercise can also help to benefit your immune system. It’s also shown to help work on the endorphins and hormones in the brain that regulate mood and emotion. Exercise also helps to regulate the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical in the brain that plays a role in the experience of pleasure, as well as planning and decision making. You don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment to get in a good workout, either. All you need is your own body weight and enough space in your home to move around comfortably.
Reclaiming Your Health
Have you been feeling down and “blah” lately? While everyone goes through these periods of listlessness and apathy every once in a while, it’s extremely important to listen to what your body is telling you and actually do something about it. Remember, it’s okay to stop and prioritize yourself over others occasionally. You need to treat yourself with the same compassion as you would your loved ones. And by following these five tips for reclaiming your mental health, you can finally get back to feeling your very best once more — without that funk bogging you down any longer!