Taking care of your mind may not be as prevalent a topic as taking care of your body, but it is just as important. Your emotional and mental health can have a direct effect on your physical health, and, when not properly taken care of, can be the source of many different problems in your life.
So how can you learn to take better care of your mind? There is no one answer; taking care of your mental health is not as straightforward as maintaining your physical health. Everyone’s mind is different, and therefore, everyone’s needs regarding mental care are different as well. However, there are some things you can try to help you continuously stay in touch with your emotional needs. Keep reading to learn 4 tips to check in on your mental health.
1. Take care of your mind by talking about your feelings
Most of the time, when our mental health begins slipping into unhealthier territory, we don’t even notice at first. This is because we have a tendency to keep things inside, and not talk about our feelings as much as we should, for fear of burdening another person with our problems. But when we do this, we only enable the worsening of our mental health, which can have much more negative impacts the longer it is left alone.
To avoid bottling up your feelings, try making a conscious effort to talk more freely about your emotions with close friends and family. Make the goal to communicate any emotions, not just bad ones, in an open and honest way. Start with the good things that are happening in your life, or the things you are proud of.
Another key element here is reciprocating the listening ear. Make sure that whoever is listening to you knows they are free – and encouraged – to talk about their own emotions as well. Designate time for each of you to discuss your own feelings, and don’t step over into their time, or bring the conversation back around to yourself.
By fostering consistent, reciprocated conversations about your feelings when those feelings are minimal and easily managed, you will help enable that same ease of conversation during the times when the emotions involved are more intense.
2. Remind yourself of your talents and strengths
Many of us suffer from Impostor Syndrome: feeling like we are not skilled or talented enough to be doing the work we do. These types of feelings can take a huge toll on our mental health, making us feel as though we are inadequate. One way of combating impostor syndrome is to remind ourselves of the things we are good at, and we know we can do well.
When you’re feeling inadequate in some way, whether after a tough day or work, a long day of school, or just a particularly bad day, take some time to indulge in a hobby or activity you are good at. Sometimes, we don’t need to feel as though we are good at our job. Instead, just feeling like we are good at something is enough.
3. Watch what you ingest
A big part of our mood and mental state comes from our diet. For example, eating foods high in sugar and low in nutrients can have a negative effect on mood and has been shown to exacerbate symptoms of mental health disorders. To help you take better care of your mind, try planning a healthy daily diet full of leafy greens, lean protein, and healthy fats. Supplements can also help improve your mental self-care routine. For example, those containing essential vitamins such as vitamin D and vitamin B12 are said to have positive effects on your mood and other aspects of your mental health.
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4. Keep in touch with family and friends
Our environment also plays a large role in our mental health. Maintaining strong relationships and consistent contact with close friends and family has been shown to have a great impact on one’s perceived ability to deal with the stresses of life, particularly when those stresses stem from feeling like you are alone or unable to talk to anyone about your feelings. This point brings us back to our first suggestion. Having a close-knit group of people you can rely on and trust will not only make you feel safer and comforted, but happier overall as well.
Be kind to yourself; take care of your mind
Taking care of your mind is a dynamic task. It is one that will look different every day, depending on various factors. Anything from work to family and even to the weather can affect your mental health. Therefore, the most important thing is to consistently check in with yourself. Allow yourself the space to be vulnerable, and emotional, and allow yourself the time each day to figure out what your brain needs to feel its best. Above all, never be afraid to reach out for help. Taking care of your mind can be hard, but you never need to do it alone.