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  • Writer's picture Zerian Douglas

Practical Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

Your mental health is important. It is easy to forget that in all the hustle and bustle of our busy daily lives, we need to take care of ourselves first. Stressful days at work or school, strained relationships, or otherwise calamitous life events can contribute to a decline in your mental health. However, once you realize you need to improve your mental health, what can you do to help yourself? If you aren't feeling yourself, here are a few things you can do that may help.

Identify Your Stressor

Although it seems simple, one of the most important first steps is to ask yourself what is causing you stress. Once you have identified what is putting pressure on you, you can then move away (either physically or mentally) from the person, place, or thing causing you strife. Here, the old adage "Out of sight, out of mind" is an effective strategy to employ. Even if you cannot completely disengage from your stressor, the act of mindfully labeling your stressor can help you better plan for how to deal with it in the future.

Connecting with Others

Talking to people around you can do wonders for your mental well-being. If you're feeling overwhelmed, discuss it with family members or friends. They can help you by assisting you with your tasks, giving advice, or simply giving you pleasant company and conversation.

Close family and friends can provide you with unrivaled emotional support as they're the ones who know you best. The benefits of having strong interpersonal ties go further than mental health, as it has been shown those with healthy social networks have lower mortality rates.

If you are having trouble connecting with your loved ones, try volunteering for a project you're passionate about; it can be an easy way to meet others. Giving to others can provide some unexpected fulfillment! It is important to remember to see your loved ones in person, as it is easy to build a habit of only texting them.

Taking Care of Your Health

Your physical health can impact your mental health. Making sure you are getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and getting at least thirty minutes of exercise a day can go a long way to improving your mental well-being. Physical activities like weightlifting, running/aerobic exercises, and flexibility activities such as yoga can help you by raising your self-confidence and increasing strength and mobility!

Additionally, on a biological level, physical exercise lowers the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline while increasing levels of natural painkillers called endorphins. Focusing on your fitness goals can also serve to shift your mind to something other than the things weighing on you. Once in the gym, be kind to yourself. You do not have to spend hours in the gym to have a good workout session!

Do the Things You Love

A main tenet of well-being is prioritizing you. This includes making time to do the things you love to do. You know yourself best, and you know what makes you happy. Having time for yourself and your interests can stave off burnout and give you a better sense of control over your schedule. Along with doing the things you love is developing coping skills for when you cannot get to do what you like to do or when things aren't going your way. Here it is key to develop good habits and be wary of drugs and alcohol.

Seek Professional Assistance

If nothing you do seems to work, seek the help of a professional. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you continue to feel overwhelmed, our services at Allies in Caring may be able to assist. Call Convivir Wellness Hub at (609) 878-2007 or email us at If you or a loved one are contemplating suicide, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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