Updated: May 21
April 17, 2020
Many of us are facing an extension to our social distancing mandate. If you’re wondering how you’re going to make it through the next couple of weeks, we have a few simple ideas for improving your mental health while you’re stuck at home.
When it comes to mental health, sometimes small, manageable changes can actually have the biggest impact.
10 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health at Home
Exercise Everyone knows exercise is good for us. But not only does it keep us physically healthy, it also helps improve brain function, increases endorphins, and can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you’re just starting out, aim for 20 minutes of exercise five days a week.
Socialize Studies have shown that people with strong social ties to friends, family, and their community, are happier and live longer than people without those ties. Furthermore, people who are lacking social connections are at a higher risk for depression and cognitive decline over time. So, even though you can’t physically be around people, make an effort to call or FaceTime the people whose company you enjoy.
Go Outside You don’t have to be “outdoors-y” to benefit from nature. Being outside for even a brief period of time can help boost serotonin levels in your brain, improving mood. Something as simple as going for a walk around the block could be enough to lift your mood.
Meditate Meditation can take many forms. Simply sitting quietly for five minutes and taking a few deep breaths could be enough to calm a racing mind. You don’t have to be a master of zen – just try to find a few moments of peace and quiet each day.
Laugh Everybody loves a good laugh. That’s because laughing releases feel-good chemicals in the brain. But it doesn’t just make us feel good – laughing can reduce stress, improve short-term memory, and increase your ability to learn. So, watch more comedies, listen to funny podcasts, or keep a folder on your computer full of fun things that make you smile.
Sleep Well Sleep is closely linked to mental health. Poor sleep can lead to complications such as depression, anxiety, stress, weight gain, and heart disease, to name a few. If you haven’t already, start making sleep a priority. Try these easy tips to get better sleep tonight.
Be Thankful Start a journal to keep track of all the good things that happen in your life. Now, possibly more than ever, it’s important for us to focus on the positives. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; just a notebook where you write three things that you are thankful for that day. You could even add a few things that you accomplished too. When you’re looking for the positive, you’ll start to see it more.
Craft Research has shown that when we use our hands to create something, we feel a unique sense of satisfaction. This is because activities like painting, woodworking, or knitting reinforces the hand-brain connection. This kind of activity engages our brains in a more creative way – and our brains like that!
Eat Well We’re learning more and more about just how much diet impacts our bodies. While we can link specific foods to brain health, new research has begun to suggest that certain foods could help lower anxiety. In addition to improving your mental health, eating right will keep you in better physical shape too.
Plan Something Fun Studies have shown that planning a trip can be just as rewarding as the trip itself. Luckily, you don’t have to actually plan a vacation to feel this effect. Consider making a list of things you’d like to do when this is over. It might be a nice reminder that this will pass too.
If you feel like you could use some extra help with your journey towards better mental health, give us a call at 800.600.4096.