May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Here are 8 ways to improve your mental health to avoid anxiety and depression.
1. Get enough of sleep
Sleep not only helps your body recover from physical exhaustion but also regulates chemicals in our brain. These chemicals play an important factor in balancing our moods and emotions. If you don’t get enough sleep, you are at risk of developing anxiety or depression. It is recommended that the average adult get 7-9 hours of sleep a night, while children require more. Limiting napping, having a consistent night-time routine, and turning off technology devices can all help you sleep better at night.
2. Eat well
If you didn’t know, your gut health effects your mental health. If you are lacking specific
vitamins in your diet, such as iron or vitamin B12, it can affect your mood. Also, if you already are suffering from anxiety, limiting or cutting out caffeine from your diet can help with jitters and anxious feelings.
Physical activity is vital in improving your mental health. Exercise boosts chemicals in your brain that help improve energy, stress, anxiety, mood, sleep, and even improves your lifespan. Exercise doesn’t have to be going to the gym, it can be as simple as a neighborhood walk. It is recommended that the average adult get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, or 75 minutes of intense exercise.
4. Go outside
Going outside and getting some sun is a great source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for our mental health because it helps your brain release chemicals that improve your mood like serotonin and endorphins. It is recommended to try to get 30 minutes to 2 hours of sunlight every day, but don’t forget sunscreen!
5. Try yoga or meditation
Yoga isn’t just good for your physical health, but your mental health as well. Yoga can vary from intense and challenging, to gentle stretching. Many reviews and studies state that yoga can reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses, and in turn reduce anxiety and depression. Yoga helps reduce your heart rate, blood pressure, and eases respiration. Meditation is also great for relaxation and reducing stress. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate all thoughts that could be causing you stress and anxiety. Through this, it enhances your well-being and give you a sense of balance.
6. Avoid alcohol, smoking, and vaping
After spending the night drinking, it can leave you feeling off the next day. Alcohol can affect
your concentration and make you feel more depressed or anxious. Constant excessive drinking can lead to memory problems, motor coordination problems, and confusion. If you smoke cigarettes or e-cigs, the time spent between smoking can create withdraw, leaving you feeling anxious or agitated.
7. Connect with others and socialize
Having a good support system is key in maintaining and improving your mental health. Having someone to talk to about what’s going on in your life, whether good or bad, is a great way to build connections and grow relationships. Socializing with friends is also great for your mental health, it boosts self-esteem and is a good way to un-wind from a stressful day.
8. Seek help when you need it
The most important factor for improving your mental health is recognizing when you need help.Speaking to a loved one is a great way to seek out help, but when you feel that isn’t enough, you can also seek help from medical professionals. If you need someone to talk to, you can always reach out to one of our behavioral health professionals at (704) 792-7742.