The phrase “mental health” has slowly made headlines, starting to creep into everyday conversation, often with less stigma attached to it. Mental health can be loosely categorized as your state of mind on a regular, consistent basis. Most likely, we aim to be focused, productive, and happy on a regular basis. Many strive to feel fulfilled and confident in everyday tasks. Unfortunately, for some of us, this isn’t the case. Perhaps you are feeling in a lull, fighting brain fog or fatigue. Perhaps this has been a regular occurrence or a new development as of late. Either way, not feeling 100 percent should be cause for pause. If this description sounds familiar, we suggest that you contact your doctor and set up an appointment. After speaking with a trained professional, feel free to try these tips to stay on top of your personal mental health.
Breathe in and out.
You have to breathe to stay alive and we do it without much thought. Breathing exercises ask you to do the opposite, you need to pay attention to each inhale and exhale. These types of exercises have been around for centuries and permeate many different cultures around the world. Here are a few that might help you.
-Inhale through your nose for a count of 5, hold your breath for 1, and exhale through your nose for a count of 5. Continue this pattern for 5 minutes.
-Take your dominant hand, fold down your middle three fingers, leaving the thumb and the pinky finger free. Close your eyes, and press your thumb against the coordinating nostril, breathe in through the opposite for a count of three, hold your breath for three counts. Then release and switch fingers, place pinky finger on other nostril and breathe in through the free one. Continue this pattern for 3 minutes.
-Take a seat in a comfortable position. Place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. Start to breathe in as deeply as possible, feeling the chest rise. Then slowly exhale through your mouth, pursing your lips in a small “o” shape, feeling your stomach release. Repeat for 4 minutes.
Write out your feelings.
Journaling can help you organize your thoughts when it feels like the to-do lists just keep piling up. Start with just a few simple sentences, jotting down some quick thoughts about the day. Dedicate some time at the end of the day to reflect and write, allowing yourself to write down thoughts without worry or judgement. This habit may feel beneficial for some, increasing the time or length for longer each week. Journaling can help you feel more connected with your goals, show you patterns in thinking, and help you feel more grounded after a long day.
Studies have shown that being outside helps to lower cortisol in the body. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, elevated levels tend to cause our bodies to have irregular sleep patterns, gain weight, and lower our immune system strength. Spending time in nature not only helps lower this problematic hormone, but also reduces inflammation, fight fatigue, and can strengthen your vision over time. Taking a walk after work, sitting and watching a sunset, or getting some exercise in open water can all be great for anxiety and stress management. Try to add the outdoors into your routine.
These tips are only a few of many ways to help manage mental health. Again, remember that we always suggest contacting a professional before making any major changes in our lifestyle. We applaud everyone making the change to better their own mental health.