It’s no secret that life can be difficult sometimes, and this can influence ups and downs in your mental health. Part of navigating your journey on this earth is learning how to cope with stress and hardships. However, taking care of your mental well-being isn’t always black and white. Keep reading for effective strategies and coping mechanisms to help improve your mental health and overall well-being.
1. Seek Professional Treatment
First of all, it’s important you don’t shy away from getting the professional help you might need. Prioritizing your mental health is the first step of learning how to improve it. Part of this prioritization could be admitting to yourself that you need assistance, whether medication or therapy. This isn’t a sign of weakness, either — it’s actually a sign of strength to admit you can’t do it alone. So don’t deny yourself treatment out of stubborness, and survey these options.
One avenue of professional treatment is prescription medication. Antidepressants can give you that extra mental boost to get you feeling back to your old self again.
Most mental health medications work by increasing the amount of absorption of certain hormones, like serotonin or dopamine. These hormones are specifically known for being connected to improving your mood. When your brain absorbs more of these, your mood naturally lifts and you won’t feel so downcast.
And to make matters even better, you can actually get mental health medication online. No more doctor or pharmacy visits — enjoy the freedom of 100% online treatment. This is especially great for those who have doctor’s office anxiety.
Another professional route you can take is seeing a therapist. Also called licensed counselors, therapists go through years of training in psychology and coping strategies. They can formally diagnose you and help create an action plan to overcome your mental health battle.
One great aspect of therapy is the personalized experience it provides. Your counselor will take the time to survey you as an individual, then devise strategies based on your needs. Therapy is usually very goal-oriented, meaning you and your therapist will set goals for you to achieve little by little. These build up in difficulty over time, allowing you to gain the confidence to accomplish your long-term goals.
In the digital age, there are many online resources for therapy. Telehealth services allow you to meet with a licensed counselor over a video-chat platform, so you never have to leave your home. Access to mental health resources has never been easier.
2. Set Boundaries
An important aspect of championing your mental health is creating boundaries in your life. These are essentially walls you put up to protect your mental well-being.
For example, establishing a daily “tech-free” period where you disconnect from screens and engage in offline activities could be a boundary. If someone chooses to text you during that time, they simply have to wait until you’re back online. Learning to say “no” is a vital skill for setting boundaries. Letting people take advantage of you will wear you down, and you deserve time for yourself. If someone is asking too much of you, you’re allowed to refuse for your own sake.
You might feel as though someone is trying to peer pressure you into activities or a lifestyle you don’t want. Or, maybe your coworker tries to pawn off some of their workload on you because “you’re a great help.” Learn to feel comfortable rejecting these kinds of requests, whether at work, school, or even from friends and family.
3. Get Organized
Sometimes life can seem like jumping from one task to another, keeping you on your toes. It could be work, school, family, or all three keeping you extra busy. If your life has you overwhelmed, a little organization might offer a solution.
Part of prioritizing your mental well-being is learning how to establish a healthy work/life balance. This can be achieved partly by setting boundaries, as discussed above, and through proper scheduling and organizing. Maintaining a schedule can help ease your stress because you’ll know what tasks require your focus at all times. Having that visual resource can take the weight off your shoulders and make your load seem more manageable.
You can accomplish this with just a calendar, whether paper or online. Write down what you need to do, including deadlines and meeting times. Set reminders to go off so you can stay on track, and check off tasks when completed. You’ll feel on top of everything without having to put in much extra effort.
4. Treat Your Mind and Body
Treating your body well will increase mental function and mood. Exercising, eating right, and getting enough sleep can restore balance to your body, helping you feel better overall. Spending less time scrolling through social media can also help by lessening stress and depression, since the internet can be a harmful place. Additionally, the blue light from phone screens can negatively affect your circadian rhythm, which is tied to sleep and mood.
Try meditating and practicing mindfulness while you’re focusing on your health. Meditation and yoga can reduce stress and help you feel relaxed, while also exercising your body. Mindfulness can keep you in check of your emotions and how you’re truly feeling. This involves listening to your thoughts and accepting how something makes you feel. You can write down these feelings in a journal and practice breathing exercises during stressful situations. It’s all about getting your mind in tune with your body and improving the well-being of both.
Change Takes Time and Effort
Working on your mental health isn’t always easy, but it’s well worth the time and effort. Think of it as getting back into physical shape — you have to work out, eat right, and put in the hours. You won’t see a difference right away, but the small wins leading up to accomplishing the big goal will be exciting. Use your resources and listen to your needs — you’ve got this.