Written by Cheryl Conklin, Guest Community Contributor
Embracing processes that support emotional well-being helps remove the stigma that is often associated with mental health disorders. Practicing self-care is a simple way to support positive mental health. Since as Bradley University explains, there is a direct connection between physical and emotional health, it should come as no surprise that many everyday self-care activities support both. If you are ready to take charge of your overall well-being, try integrating one or more of these self-care activities into your daily routine.
Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. There is some variation depending on age and activity level, but it is a solid place to start if you want to know if you are getting enough sleep. Why does that matter for mental health? According to experts in the field, sleep helps combat stress. Conversely, a lack of sleep has been associated with memory impairment, irritability, mood swings, and an increased risk for developing anxiety or depression.
Sleep deprivation — and its health-sapping effects — can set in after only a few days with inadequate sleep. That's why it is so important to develop a nightly routine that helps encourage falling and staying asleep. Try to avoid technology and bright lights for an hour or so before you head to bed. Turn the thermostat in your bedroom down several degrees, too. It sends a signal to the body that it's time to slow down. You may also want to invest in a first-rate pair of headphones so you can listen to relaxing music or sounds before you sleep.
Just because stress is a normal part of life doesn't mean you should let it impact your emotional health. Establishing a daily stress relief practice is a great way to feel better both physically and emotionally. Mindful meditation, which has been shown to reduce stress and relieve anxiety, has become a prevalent choice. There is also evidence that it can help moderate depressive symptoms and the effects of ADHD.
Time management is another part of stress relief. Think about it for a minute: If you are constantly running from one thing to the next, do you really have time to care for yourself? Of course you don't. Learn how to tactfully say no to requests on your time that will cause undue stress. You might be surprised at how empowering it can be.
Food is the best way to get your nutrients, making eating a balanced diet is one of the most important self-care practices you can adopt. Try focusing mostly on whole, plant-based foods for a start. Taste of Home notes recipes that follow the DASH diet are generally easy to prepare, nutritious, and readily available.
Natural Remedies and Supplements
Many people turn to natural remedies to alleviate stress and anxiety, both crucial to maintaining mental health. For example, CBD is widely used to boost moods, melatonin encourages better sleep, and turmeric reduces inflammation. Remember that despite being natural, many of these products are also quite powerful. Be sure to talk with your health care provider about any possible interactions if you currently take medications.
Self-care is a critical component of maintaining mental health. By incorporating activities such as taking a supplement, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep, you can help reduce the effects of stress on the body. These strategies can also help boost mental health by mitigating symptoms such as anxiety and depression for many people.
Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba is committed to advocating for and supporting those with mental health issues. To learn about our volunteering opportunities, call 204-330-7821 or visit our website at http://www.mooddisordersmanitoba.ca/volunteer/