10 Tips on Improving Your Mental Health in 2021
The trials and tribulations of 2020 and 2021 have sent many people into mental health spirals. Depression and anxiety are common at the moment and people who have never experienced these problems in the past may struggle to improve their own mental health.
Getting out of bad mental health spells is tricky. Improving your mental health can feel impossible when you’re at the bottom of the pit, so to speak.
We’re here to help you. Keep reading to learn a few tips for reaching your mental health goals in 2021.
1. Start an Exercise Routine
Did you know that exercise is great for your mental health?
Many people who manage mental health struggles are tired of hearing about the benefits of exercise. After all, beginning an exercise routine isn’t easy for the average person and it’s more difficult when you’re trying to manage depression, anxiety, and other conditions.
A body in motion tends to stay in motion. So regardless of where you start, it’s important that you start somewhere.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. You also improve your blood circulation to your brain.
So how should you start exercising?
You might not know where to look. When it comes to exercise, don’t be afraid to start slow.
You can start with walks around your neighborhood, yoga, or pilates (and the benefits of yoga extend beyond physical health). You can also do bodyweight strength exercises. Just do what is at your fitness level.
If you’re struggling to maintain an exercise routine, switch things up. You may not have found the right exercise for you. You can try dance classes, weightlifting, aerial art, and more until you find the right fit.
2. Practice Relaxation Techniques
If you’ve been in therapy, it’s likely that your therapist has discussed relaxation techniques and coping mechanisms with you. If not, we still have some advice to help you out.
Different relaxation techniques will work for different people. They’re also all appropriate for different situations, so choose your technique wisely.
Many people benefit from deep breathing techniques. You can pair these with yoga for double the benefits. Some people also benefit from sensory grounding techniques such as playing with fidget toys or chewing flavorful gum when they’re under stress.
When you’re in need of serious relaxation, consider having a self-care day. Spend a day doing things that you enjoy, like having a spa day or partaking in your favorite hobbies.
3. Spend Time Outdoors
Did you know that being outdoors can improve your mental health? It’s true.
Studies suggest that people who spend adequate time outdoors have better memories, lower their risk of significant psychiatric disorders, have less anxiety and stress, are more attentive, among other things.
When you get outside, you also exercise (even if it’s slow). A walk through a nature park is a stimulating exercise.
The average person spends too much time cooped up inside. This is a result of our work culture and the overall trend toward urbanization. As a result, more and more people have been experiencing depression and anxiety.
Getting outdoors in natural light, listening to the sounds of nature, and even touching grass and trees will improve your mood.
4. Improve Your Diet
A good diet is everything when it comes to improving your health, and mental health is no exception. Many people who experience mental health struggles find themselves eating too much, not at all, or “bad” foods. It’s time to improve your diet.
Make sure that you’re getting adequate nutrition. If you’re unsure what you should be eating, talk to a nutritionist or use a macronutrient and micronutrient calculator to set you on the right track.
Many people who struggle with mental health lack vitamin D, vitamin B, and omega 3 fatty acids. Make sure that you’re incorporating these things into your diet.
Also, make sure that you’re drinking enough water. Dehydration might be one of the causes of your poor mental health.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep has a huge impact on your mental health. If you aren’t getting enough of it, you’ll find that you feel fatigued, anxious, and moodier than normal. Enough sleepless nights can cause serious cognitive impairment.
Sleeplessness can also lead to physical health problems, so it’s best to get your sleep in check while you can.
There are a few ways that you can improve your sleep. First, make sure that your sleep hygiene is in check. This means that you should avoid spending all day in bed, maintain a consistent sleep schedule, and avoid electronics before you try to sleep.
If you’re still struggling, consider taking medication. You can try melatonin or over-the-counter sleeping medication, but if those don’t work, talk to a doctor about your options. Sleeping medication can be a short-term solution until your sleep schedule regulates.
6. Exercise Gratitude
Practicing and exercising gratitude is a great way to improve your overall mental health. It’s easy to dwell on things that make us sad and spiral into depressive thoughts, but when you exercise gratitude, you’re focusing on things that make you happy.
This isn’t always easy, but there are a few helpful techniques that might get you started.
Consider starting a gratitude journal. Every day, write down one or several things that you have to be grateful for. It can be as simple as being grateful for having food on the table, for a night out with friends, or even for a favorite dessert that you bought yourself as self-care.
When you’re writing your journal entries, start challenging negative thoughts when they come up. Accept them and write them down, and then write how you can counter them. For example, if the thought that you’re stubborn and unpleasant comes up, replace it with the thought that you’re tenacious and determined.
You can also exercise gratitude by helping other people. When you’re grateful for what you have, it’s easier to get the motivation to help others. Consider volunteering your time at a local charity or mutual aid.
Other options include:
- Thanking people with words or tokens of appreciation
- Staying “in the moment” to appreciate your surroundings
- Using affirmations
7. Make a Routine (and Stick With It)
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions can make it hard to get out of bed, let alone maintain a good routine. You need to combat this problem if you want to help your mental health.
When you get your brain into “routine mode,” it’s easier to stay motivated.
Write down your ideal routine and get a planner so you’re able to give yourself clear instructions. Add bulleted lists so you’re able to check off all of your tasks when you complete them. This triggers more motivation.
Sticking to a routine is going to be difficult at first. Stick to it and give yourself grace when you need a break.
Many people who experience mental health struggles find themselves self-isolating from friends and family members. As a result, they sink deeper into their struggles.
Make an effort to get in contact with friends and family members when you’re feeling low. Socializing and feeling as though you’re part of a group will make you feel better and improve your mental health overall. You’ll also get to talk about your struggles with people.
If you don’t have access to your friends when you need them, consider joining a group. This can be a fitness class or even a volunteer group that will link you up with other people.
9. Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Many people use drugs and alcohol to cope with their mental health struggles, but this is a bad idea long-term. While the occasional drink when you’re out with friends is no big deal for most people, too much drug and alcohol use can result in addiction or worse mental health struggles.
If you feel as though you’re relying on drugs and alcohol to maintain a good mood, it’s time to cut back. You don’t have to omit these things entirely, but limit them to when you’re socializing with friends instead of when you’re alone.
10. Seek Treatment
There’s no shame in seeking treatment for your mental health if you’re struggling. Many people discover that they need counseling, medication, or other treatment options when they’re trying to get out of a bad mental health spiral.
Talk to a therapist or counselor about your problems. They may recommend other treatment options such as medication management with a psychiatrist or even TMS therapy.
Even brief mental health treatment can make a big difference.
Improving Your Mental Health Is a Journey
Improving your mental health won’t be easy, but with these tips, it is possible.
Improve your diet and exercise routine, keep in touch with friends, practice gratitude and self-care, and don’t be afraid to seek out professional help. You deserve good mental health.
If you’re ready to start your journey to a healthier you, we’re here to help. At Brain Center TMS, we offer TMS therapy that’s suitable for a variety of conditions. To learn about whether or not TMS is right for you, schedule a free consultation today.
- Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. D. (2006). Exercise for mental health. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 8(2), 106. https://doi.org/10.4088/pcc.v08n0208a
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2019, September 10). Six relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Retrieved September 6, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/six-relaxation-techniques-to-reduce-stress
- American Psychological Association. (2020, April 1). Nurtured by nature. Retrieved September 6, 2021, from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature
- BetterHealth. (n.d.). Mood and sleep. Retrieved September 6, 2021, from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/Mood-and-sleep