Being intentional about self-care is an important aspect of your overall mental health – mind, body and spirit. This means taking time to actively protect your happiness. But sometimes, finding activities to improve mental health is easier than you think.
Choosing activities to improve mental health
When it comes to self-care and focusing on your mental health, consider activities that boost your mood and help you deal with stress. Here are five simple activities that are proven to help your well-being and lower your overall stress.
Whether it’s hiking, biking, running, swimming, walking, weightlifting, dancing, golfing, yoga, participating in a seasonal sports league or any other form of movement – physical activity releases powerful endorphins that lift your mood and boost your energy levels.
Research shows regular exercise can do more than simply improve your physical health. Physical activity also helps relieve stress, improve sleep and improve your overall mental health. Even 30 minutes of movement that gets your heart rate up can make a difference.
Spend time outdoors
Whether it’s taking a hike, gardening or eating lunch on a bench outside your office, feeling the sun’s rays can be beneficial. Sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, a hormone associated with boosting your mood and helping you feel calm.
Yoga and various other muscle relaxation practices can help improve your mental health. Although it can be difficult to quiet your mind, take time for reflection, prayer or deep breathing throughout your day. These moments can help you cope with stress.
It’s important to spend time with other people – whether you plan a coffee date with a co-worker or intentionally call a friend who lives out of state. Spending time with friends and family members can have a calming effect that lowers stress levels and releases endorphins.
Also, socializing doesn’t always mean doing so with people you already know. This could also mean exploring new interests where you can meet new friends in your local community. However, try to do these in person or virtually if you’re in a pinch – a lot of time spent on social media can have the opposite effect.
Being generous with your time can reduce stress too. Finding a cause you care about or regularly committing time to an organization can help make you feel happier.
When to talk to a doctor
Take time each day for activities that improve mental health. Challenge yourself to make intentional choices throughout your day to help improve your mood.
However, if you are experiencing feelings of anxiety and depression, reach out to your primary care physician. They are your first line of defense when it comes to diagnosing a mental illness and can make recommendations on finding the right mental health professional for you.
Learn more about the behavioral and mental health services we offer at Bon Secours.