Mental health has become a growing concern in the 21st century. Things like excessive screen time and financial stress have stoked anxiety in some and depressed millions of others.
To top it all off, in the summer of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic struck. In a poll released in the middle of last year, 53% of American adults reported that stress was on the rise. Specifically, they claimed that “their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.”
2021 offers a fresh start. As is always the case, the turning of the annual clock has reset many hopes. However, if you’re anticipating finding a greater sense of mental health this year, you have to look further than hope. Here are a few tips and suggestions for ways that you can act on that hope and cultivate a better mindset over the next year.
- Use Less Tech
Technology can be a major factor in poor health. Too much screen time can strain the eyes. Blue light before bed has a reputation for disrupting sleep. Computer games have led many to struggle with a sedentary lifestyle.
One of the biggest mental health threats that tech has created comes via the smartphone. From social media apps to new notifications, phones have a bad habit of creating stress. Some of the best ways to care for your mental health, as far as your phone is concerned, are to:
- Delete unnecessary apps off of your phone.
- Set screen time limits for yourself.
- Turn your phone on “do not disturb” whenever possible.
- If you have children, get them a phone for kids that restricts internet access.
Eliminating notifications and withdrawing the 24-hour news cycle can do wonders in freeing up your mind.
- Cultivate a Positive Attitude
While you can do specific things such as reduce your screen time, you won’t get far unless you also address your internal thought processes. Things like anxiety and depression thrive on pessimism. This is why positivity has such a good reputation as an antidote to mental health concerns.
With that in mind, one of the simplest ways you can boost your mental health is by embracing a positive mindset. This isn’t referencing shallow activities like “thinking happy thoughts.” It involves conscientiously choosing to be thankful, grateful, and mindful. This trifecta of inner thoughts can be applied to your surroundings, your circumstances, and your life in general.
- Get Consistent Exercise
Exercise is another well-known mental health tool. Along with many obvious physical benefits, exercise also has the effect of releasing endorphins. This can combat stress in your mind and help you feel at peace.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has thrown a wrench into many exercise activities and routines. However, there are still many ways to sneak in some exercise. For instance, you can:
- Get a bicycle or an electric bike.
- Find a good hiking trail.
- Sign up for a live stream workout session.
Outside activity is always the best way to go, as it also exposes you to sunlight and fresh air. Even so, if exercising inside is your only option, it’s still a good one to consider.
- Journal Your Experiences
Journaling is another excellent way to calm a frazzled mind. Consider committing to writing down your experiences and feelings on a regular basis.
You don’t have to share this information with anyone. However, many people find that putting their thoughts and feelings into written words can make a huge difference in how their mind operates. The activity allows you to process what you’re going through. It also helps you express your feelings without significant consequences.
- Declutter Your Living Spaces
A disorganized and messy space can have a surprisingly nefarious effect on your mental health. Clutter is known to cause stress in a variety of different ways. Each messy room reminds you of the work that you have to do. Calming activities that require space, such as a home workout, can be difficult. Even a messy computer desktop can drain your energy and make you feel stressed out.
If you’re concerned about your mental health, take some time to declutter your home. Don’t just do this once, either. Schedule in consistent times to keep your spaces neat, orderly, and organized. Your mind will thank you in the long run.
- Find Creative Outlets
Creativity isn’t just fun. It’s also very good for your mental state. Look for ways to exercise your creativity, such as:
- Experimenting with new recipes.
- Learning how to paint.
- Brushing up on your creative writing.
Engaging in a creative activity is a good way to reign in untethered thoughts. It helps you relax and focus on the present.
- Unplug on Purpose
Unplugging is a powerful mental health activity. It consists of detaching from responsibilities, commitments, technology, and any other draining factors in your life. This is done for a set period of time, whether that is an hour, a day, or a month. Often successfully unplugging consists of doing little to nothing in an attempt to enjoy some stress-free time.
Unplugging enables you to slow down. It provides time to gather your thoughts. You can exist in the present rather than fretting about the past or worrying about the future. It also gives you a chance to do other activities, such as journaling, exercising, or flexing your creativity.
When used together, all of these tips can create synergistic results. However, none of them will be effective unless you choose to genuinely embrace them. In other words, the process starts with you. If you can commit to fighting for your mental health, you’ll find a way to conquer the stress, anxiety, and depression sooner or later.
So, take a hard look at the above suggestions. Find one that stands out and implement it as soon as possible. Then add another one from there. The sooner you start battling for your mental health, the better off you’ll be as you navigate a year that is filled with uncertainty.