Improving your mental health
While our society has made progress and grown more comfortable talking about mental illness, there is still a lot of work to be done in destigmatizing it. Many women don’t prioritize their mental health because they feel mental and emotional issues are less legitimate than physical ones or taking time to care for themselves is selfish. Even more, women may discount mental disturbances if they don’t have a diagnosed mental illness out of fear of underlying causes.
Most people will experience emotional health problems at some point in their lifetime, and they likely won’t go away if you just ignore them. Treatment such as therapy and medication may be necessary to manage symptoms. However, other steps can be taken each day to help take control of your mental well-being.
Make a connection
Struggling with your mental health may make you want to curl up under your covers and never leave, but there are actually positive benefits to controlled social interactions. Reaching out to someone who will listen without judgment or criticism is key. You need to be honest with them and yourself about your current state. If you don’t feel you have anyone to turn to, get out of the house and interact with neighbors, people in the checkout line or the person preparing your lunch. You never know where a friendship could blossom!
While regular exercise plays an important role in numerous facets of your health, many overlook the benefits it can have on your mental health. Staying active is one of the purest forms of self-care and can have a major impact on mental and emotional health problems. If exercise isn’t your thing, make time to walk through a local park, dance to your favorite song or play frisbee with your dog. You don’t have to push yourself too hard to experience significant results.
Often easier said than done, keeping stress levels low is crucial to improving mental and emotional well-being. While there are many factors impacting stress levels throughout the day, building resilience and taking time to decompress help you take stress in stride. Make points throughout your day to appeal to your senses. Smell your favorite candle, eat your favorite healthy snack or listen to your favorite song. Experiment to find how your nervous system responds to various inputs, and pay attention to what centers you best.
Find a purpose
While the existential question of life’s meaning may never be answered, everyone can derive their own meaning in some way. Whether it’s caring for a pet, engaging in a relationship or volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about, discovering ways to contribute joy and purpose to your life can be critical to improving your self-worth. Do things that make you feel important because you are!
See a specialist
If you’ve made consistent efforts to improve your mental and emotional health and still aren’t functioning optimally at home, work or in relationships, it may be time to seek professional help.