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Start Taking Steps to Protect and Prioritize Your Mental Health Today

Article contributed by Julia H.

On a daily basis you find yourself juggling an endless array of challenges and competing priorities. The demands for your time never cease and it’s all too easy for your own personal health and wellness to get pushed to the back burner. Though you may receive attention at work and appreciation from family for being the ultimate go-getter, all that stress can take a toll on your mental health and wellbeing.

The topic of mental health is stigmatized in our society but it’s important to talk about and even more important to protect. Men are less likely to seek treatment for mental health issues than women[1], but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some simple ways to start making your mental health a priority. 

1. Treat your body right.

Your physical health is tied to your mental health, so don’t neglect it! Make an effort to follow a healthy and balanced diet to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs for optimal health. Make exercise part of your weekly routine by building an at-home workout routine or joining an online fitness class. Not only will regular exercise boost your physical fitness, but it can improve your mental health as well.[2]

2. Take steps to reduce stress.

Chronic stress has a way of bogging you down so be sure to take time to relax and unwind. There’s nothing selfish about self-care and there are plenty of ways to do it. Try practicing mindfulness or spend a little time enjoying a hobby or reading a book. If you’re interested in learning meditation, breathing exercises, or progressive relaxation there are plenty of websites and smartphone apps that can help.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

3. Maintain healthy relationships with others.

The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself, but your interpersonal relationships can impact your mental health as well. Detach yourself from negative influences and focus on the positive relationships you have with friends, family, and coworkers. Find ways to connect, even if it’s through a text or email. Studies show that people with higher levels of social engagement are happier.[3]

Image by Brian Cragun from Pixabay

4. Don’t get bogged down by social media.

Social media makes it easy to stay connected with loved ones near and far, but it can also be a drain on your energy and your mood. If you’re getting overwhelmed by content and the constant influx of negative news, consider taking a break from social media. Try to limit your daily use to a certain time period or do a longer digital detox. Take the whole weekend off!

5. Reach out for support when you need it.

Making your mental health a priority sometimes means reaching out for help. Whether you could use hand dealing with stress or you’re looking for coping mechanisms to get through a period of grief, a counselor or psychiatrist could really help. Online telepsychiatry consultations are available so you can get the help you need from home. If you’re not quite ready to take the leap, consider reaching out to a trusted friend or family member for support.

Though the season for New Year’s resolutions may be long past, it’s never too late to make your mental health a priority. Put some of the tips above into action and see how protecting and supporting your mental health can make a difference in your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

[1] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/men-and-mental-health/index.shtml 

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/ 

[3] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ulterior-motives/201809/happiness-and-social-interaction

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