Why Mental Health Is Important And How To Maintain It
There’s a lot of talk about mental health right now. The pandemic and various lockdowns across the globe have greatly affected many people, with swathes of people forced into solitary confinement and facing long stretches of time alone. Between a lack of social interaction, major disruptions to regular routine, less exercise and outdoor time, and a general feeling of helplessness and depression about the pandemic, mental health issues are on the rise.
Even those of us, like me, who are introverts and actually enjoy and need time alone to recharge and feel normal are feeling the strain of this unprecedented time. Some people are speaking to clinics who can help with this, like Honey Lake, but others may not have access to such resources. Don’t worry though, you still have options. Here’s a quick rundown of ways I’ve been staying on top of my mental health and how to get help if you need it.
Why Mental Health Is Important
While the coronavirus pandemic is directly affecting physical health, it is also indirectly affecting mental health. Mental health can be difficult to treat because, unlike physical injuries like a broken leg or a skin infection, you can’t see it. Issues with mental health come down to how well the patient can put into words what they are going through. This involves a different kind of medicine, psychology and psychiatry, which involves in-depth discussions with those living with mental health conditions, sometimes combined with medication.
Mental health issues can range from mild depression to severe, with suicidal thoughts and actions as a result. Many people cannot live with their depression and end their own lives. This feeling of being completely alone and not being able to cope is one that is horrible to live with, and one that no one should go through.
Ways To Improve Mental Health At Home
The thing is, if you are already dealing with severe depression, it can be impossible to motivate yourself to do any of these things. My suggestions are for people who find themselves feeling down, frustrated, mildly depressed, or who simply want to prevent their mental health from deteriorating. If you are feeling suicidal or need professional help, reach out to a medical professional who can give you the care you need.
Exercise is one of the most important – and easy – ways to maintain good mental health. For me, I find that taking a walk outside can significantly improve my mood and completely change my perspective on the day. This can be as simple as a walk to the local shop, or a longer stroll. Pick up the pace to get your heart beating and blood pumping, which releases endorphins in your bloodstream, also known as happiness hormones. Listen to a podcast or music that you like, or simply enjoy being in nature, noticing birds, plants, and buildings as you walk by.
There are many resources online, both for mental health and for at-home workouts too. You don’t have to do an intense cardio workout, and there are lots of short 10-, 20, and 30-minute aerobic exercises that will improve your heart and mental health. I also like to try and practice yoga 2-3 times a week, which invites me to still my mind, listen to my body, and move in a way that feels good.
Diet is also important, meaning a good balance of fruit and veggies, proteins, natural fats, and fibre. Keep saturated fats and sugars to a minimum to avoid sugar rushes and crashes that can affect your energy level and mood. I also try to keep up my water intake, which I find keeps me refreshed, alert, and focused on tasks I need to complete.
Reach out to friends and family regularly, having video or phone chats to stay in touch and have a laugh. I love watching TV and movies, it makes me happy and relaxed, but I try to balance it out with other hobbies that are less screen-centered and more active, like yoga, walking, jigsaw and crossword puzzles, writing in a journal, and playing board games.