Many prioritize their health by eating right and exercising as often as possible. However, when most people think about health, they’re thinking about their physical health. Of course, we all know the importance of mental health. Without good mental health, you can’t be as productive as you want, working out may seem like a chore, and you may not properly take care of yourself. Mental health is important, and physical and mental health is linked; you can’t have one without the other. So if you’re trying to prioritize your health, it’s always best to continue to work on your physical health while also prioritizing your mental health.
Unfortunately, we’re not taught how to take proper care of our mental health in school. Physical health classes, such as gym, are a staple in education, but there are few courses that young students can take to help them learn about the importance of mental health and how to take care of it. Caregivers are especially prone to neglecting their own mental health, as a lot of their time is spent focusing on others. If you understand that mental health is important, you must find a way to prioritize it. Luckily, it’s easy. Here are a few tips to help you prioritize your mental health starting today.
Talk Positively to Yourself
Unfortunately, we can all be a little hard on ourselves from time to time. However, while you may have a great support system in friends and family, you must be your biggest, loudest cheerleader instead of your biggest bully. If you have a habit of talking negatively to yourself, it can be difficult to start being more positive. However, you can slowly start to change your behavior and become your biggest cheerleader, which can also help improve your confidence. Next time you’re putting yourself down, stop yourself and instead say something kind or positive. Eventually, you’ll build a healthy habit of preventing negative self-talk and replacing it with something positive to help you stop focusing on the bad and start thinking about all of the great things about yourself.
Learn to Say No
Many of us are people-pleasers and have a difficult time saying no to someone. Everyone is busy, so most people understand if you can’t go out on a Friday night because you have other responsibilities. There’s limited time to do everything you need to do, and trying to please everyone can be stressful and take time away from the things you find more important. Of course, you should always try to make time for friends and family, but that doesn’t mean you can’t say no to plans from time to time, especially if you need to focus on yourself or get work done to prevent burnout and stress.
Be Mindful of Your Needs
Between work, family, and chores, it can be difficult to understand your needs. Checking in with yourself can help you understand what you need to improve your mental health. For example, if you have been working long days, you might need to stop and take a break to help you refocus your energy and prevent burnout or stress. It’s easy to become disconnected from your own needs, especially when you’re overworked or busy at home. However, understanding what can help you be happy is important because it will help you learn how you can begin prioritizing your needs and your mental health.
As we’ve mentioned, mental and physical health are linked. Unfortunately, many of us are more sedentary than we should be as we sit in front of computers all day and then spend our free time on the couch in front of the television. If you’ve found yourself sitting more than usual, it’s time to start developing a plan to be more active. Being active isn’t just good for your physical health; it can improve your mood because working out releases endorphins that boost confidence and make you feel good.
How you get active doesn’t matter as long as you find a sustainable activity. For example, you can start slow by walking your dog every day and eventually work your way up to find time to go to a yoga class. Once you start working out, you’ll feel so good it’ll be hard not to prioritize exercise in your life.
Ask for Help
No one can do everything on their own. If you find that you feel depressed or anxious, or your mood has shifted, it might be time to talk to a professional. In-person or online therapy can help individuals talk through their feelings, which can help them understand what they need to do to improve their mental health. Your therapist can help support your mental health goals to help you start feeling better about yourself. Additionally, talking can help you stop bottling up any emotions you might be holding in and give you a safe space to express your feelings without worrying about judgment.
Get More Sleep
Prioritizing sleep is just one way to prioritize your physical and mental health simultaneously. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’ll feel more stressed than you should. When you’re stressed, you may feel more tired than usual and less productive, which can make you even more stressed. Eventually, you might even become so stressed that you find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. However, without proper sleep, you won’t be able to help yourself de-stress. Getting more or better sleep, depending on your sleep schedule, is the best way to help reduce stress because you’re allowing your body and mind to rest every night.
Plan for Better Mental Health
Depending on your lifestyle, you may need to start planning better to help you find time for your mental health. Caregivers can experience a great For example, you may find that spending extra time writing in a diary at night alleviates stress and helps you sleep better. No matter what you do to improve your mental health, you must find time to do those things. Depending on how much time you have, you might need to limit yourself to just five minutes a day to do something that benefits your mental health.
Author: Julia Olivas Julia Olivas graduated from San Francisco State University with her B.A. in Communication Studies. She is a freelance writer who loves sharing her passion for digital marketing and content creation. Outside of writing, she loves cooking, reading, making art, and her pup Ruby.