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Our mental state impacts almost every aspect of our lives, including how we think, act, and connect to others. Now more than ever, prioritizing mental health is essential for long-term wellness. Here are six self-care activities you can implement today.
1. Develop healthy sleep habits
Healthy sleep habits are a crucial component of your well-being. “There’s a definite connection between sleep and mental health,” said Susan Speranza, LCSW, Administrative Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health Services at Inspira Health Woodbury. “A lack of quality sleep negatively affects mental health. It can also increase distress.”
Here’s how you can improve your sleep routine:
- Practice consistency. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. A regular sleep schedule helps ensure you’re getting enough rest each night.
- Avoid blue light. Limit your exposure to electronic devices right before bed. Limiting blue light exposure can help you fall asleep faster.
- Create a relaxing environment. Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Create an environment that is comfortable, quiet, and dark.
2. Stay active
We all know the benefits of physical activity for the body, but staying active is also great for the mind. Exercise can instantly boost your mood, improve your self-esteem and reduce stress. It may also alleviate symptoms caused by depression and anxiety. “Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day,” said Speranza. “Incorporate moderate to vigorous aerobics as well as some strength-training activities.”
3. Limit your alcohol consumption
Excessive alcohol use can worsen your mental well-being. It can also interfere with your relationships with others, further impacting your mental state. One way to stay mindful of your consumption is by tracking your alcoholic beverage intake. If you feel like you’re drinking more than you’d like, consider cutting back or eliminating alcohol from your diet.
4. Connect with loved ones
Social interaction can help improve your mood and lessen symptoms of depression. Take care of yourself by cultivating meaningful relationships with family and friends. Identify your own social needs and make time in your schedule to nurture connections that are important to you.
5. Practice a relaxation activity
“Relaxation and mindfulness reduce the impact of stress on the mind,” said Speranza. Prioritize your well-being by setting aside some time for relaxation. Engage in mindful activities such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or journaling.
6. Talk to a therapist
Therapy can help you take charge of your mental well-being. With a safe space to talk about your feelings, you can cope with problems that are on your mind. “Therapy can enhance your quality of life by encouraging self-exploration and acceptance,” said Speranza.
Inspira Health is a high reliability organization (HRO), which means safety is the top priority for patients and staff. To make an appointment, call 1-800-INSPIRA.