4 ways to Boost Your Mental Health
Now that we can talk about mental health without shame or stigma, it’s time to build ours. Our social and emotional well-being shapes our attitude, perspective, and energy. It factors in to how we interact with others, respond to stress, and see ourselves. So much happens around us that we can’t control, but purposeful self-care is a powerful choice we can make. As parents, we need to mindfully nurture number one to give our finest to our children, work teams, and circles. I urge you to do one from each category below each day.
Move your body
Activity increases heart rate, works muscles, and releases happy hormones. As I did research for this article, taking a walk during the workday popped up as an easy option for tucking in daily exercise. It didn’t seem like something I would ever do, but I felt like I should give it a try before recommending it to you. My first fifteen-minute walk surprised me: the foliage and clean air refreshed me while turning off my brain soothed me. I felt more optimistic and confident when I returned to my desk due to the endorphins. Now it’s a twice-a-day habit I wouldn’t miss. I urge you to plan time to move your body in the way you enjoy; yoga, stretching, swimming, walking, running, gardening, dancing, working out, cycling, joining a sports league, etc. Let’s move purposefully.
Nurture your humanity
Our collective need for community, connection, and companionship – to be heard, accepted, loved, and understood by others is a thing. We are not meant to keep our stories, thoughts, ideas, wins, disappointments, joys, worries, dreams, or sorrows to ourselves. Rather, our life experiences and emotions need to be supported and celebrated by and with others. We listen to a friend, ask for a favor, share a meal or laugh, send a card, extend an invitation, laugh at a story, and call or text because we value the reciprocity and bonding those relationships foster. Friendships expand us: Loneliness diminishes us. It’s vital we get our social and emotional needs met. Let’s be more present and vulnerable with each other.
This isn’t easy for me. Every spring, my favorite candy hits the shelves. My job is not to purchase it. If I don’t buy it, I won’t eat it, and if I don’t eat it, I will feel better. In addition, all the numbers – weight, blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, etc., stay in safe ranges. Unfortunately, I am not that wise woman every day. I wish I were! I can rationalize that one of these sweets won’t matter. And one won’t, but more will. Eating a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, and limiting caffeine and alcohol provide superior fuel for our brain and mood. Choose wisely in the shopping aisles.
We feel swamped and overwhelmed doing and thinking about all that life requires. What we forget to do is nothing: taking breaks and resting. It’s okay to turn off our devices and limit ap notifications. It’s possible to say no (graciously, of course) to optional requests that promise us stress. We need to carve out time for leisure, baths, yoga, day dreaming, meditation, art, floating, reading, and deep breathing. And don’t forget that sleeping is a superpower. Do the things that invite you to linger with peace and calm.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. How are you doing making your well-being a priority? What habits do you need to pursue or, on the other hand, stop, to support your emotional well-being? If even the day appears dark, we must push through to complete tasks, ask for help, take a walk, or show up at a gathering. You can overcome the resistance. You’ll feel the difference and be proud of yourself. One thing will build on the next!
If you require more than a tune-up, please reach out for mental health support. There is no reason not to enjoy yourself and life. Care providers will admire your strength as you get the therapy and/or support you need for sustenance and growth.
Selfcare is not selfish; it’s life-nourishing. It’s for all of us.
©2022 JoAnn Schauf, MS, LLC Your Tween & You | All rights reserved.