20 Small Things You Can Do For Your Mental Health Today

Photo by Camille Orgel on Unsplash

When you hear mental health, you might have varying viewpoints on the matter. For whatever reason, mental, health, and illness have always been looked at as a bad thing. Yet, when we come down with an illness to our bodies, we just look at it as an inevitable struggle in life. Our mental health is just as important as the rest of our bodies, if not more. When you are in the right place mentally, the world becomes a little easier to tackle. Even if you are not suffering from any mental illness, you still need to make your mental health a priority.

With all the stresses and anxieties life throws our way, we sometimes forget to let ourselves take a break from it all. Instead, we try to work through any pain or suffering we might be facing. Instead of doing this and having your mental health diminish, try performing a few small tasks each day to help keep you centered. They are easy to do, only take a small amount of time out of your day (or are ongoing), and improve balance any pressure you might feel. I do want to disclaim that, while these are great to perk your mood back up, you should always seek a professional if you are struggling. There is no shame in asking for help, ever.

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Say no when you need to.
You don't always have to agree to everything. This can sometimes lead to you juggling way too many things on your plate and eventually crashing. Don't be scared of making others angry by turning them down. At the end of the day, your wellbeing should be looked at as a priority. You can say no if you need to.

Nurture yourself.
This can look like a lot of different things. Take time out of each day to care for yourself and recover from the stresses. Ideas include drinking a hot cup of tea, read a book, take a bubble bath, take a nap, watch your favorite movie, go for a drive, listen to music, etc. Do something for you that brings you happiness.

Be present in the moment.
Life moves by so fast we don't always stop and smell the roses. Being present in the moment is sometimes easier said than done. Take at least 15 minutes each day and just look at your surroundings. Let your senses envelope in everything going on around you. You'd be amazed at what you notice when you take time to genuinely look.

Create something.
This is one that I try to practice every single day. Whether you feel like you are creative or not, you should create something. This could be a short story, a drawing, a mixtape, photo, etc. Creativity is one of the best medicines for your mental health. You are giving your mind and imagination a chance to recover while still enjoying yourself.

Go outside.
It can be for just a few minutes, but you should try to get outside every day. As a writer, I have a problem with locking myself in the house for days at a time. Not only is this bad for my eyes (artificial lights), but it puts me in a depressed state. It genuinely is healthy for you to go outside, soak up a few sun rays, and breathe in the fresh air.

Put your phone down.
I'm a firm believer in turning the electronics off. I turn my phone off every day in the evening. It gives me a chance to be present and live life past technology. You can talk with your family, read a book, or any other little project you might have wanted to do (but forget with the mindless scrolling). While technology is great, it shouldn't overtake your life.

Ask for help.
There is nothing wrong with asking for help. You don't have to take on everything by yourself. Whether it is work related or personal, don't let yourself drown. You would be surprised how many people are willing to assist when you ask.

Prioritize your life.
You don't have to conquer the world in a day. This is something I am slowly learning. We try to get so much done in a few short hours that it feels like a failure when we don't get it completed. Don't be unrealistic with your goals. Prioritize what matters most and spread the rest throughout the week. Slow and steady wins the race.

Start a new hobby.
My work takes up a lot of my life. However, I try not to let it devour all my time entirely. While I love it, I also know that it is a job and should be treated as such. Therefore, when I turn off my computer for the day, I focus on other things that bring me joy. For instance, a new hobby I started was photography. Find something that interests you and takes time out of your week to do it.

Rest should be a priority.
Sleep is something we take for granted. I get that we cannot always get that preferred eight hours of sleep, but we should always try. Our mental and physical health can fluctuate based on the amount of rest you get in a day. Lack of sleep can cause grogginess, a lack of motivation, anxiety, as well as lower your immunity (which none of us want).

Make new friends, go out for lunch, see a movie with others. I don't care what you do; you need to exercise your social skills. Being around other people can make our moods lift (even if we are not in the mood). Not to mention, social skills can reduce the longer you are by yourself. Trust me, a week locked in my office writing turns me into a weirdo in public.

Clean out your house and life.
I cannot tell you how important this is to your wellbeing. I know it might not look like it, but the more clutter you have, the harder it is on your mentality. Take a day every now and again to clean up your house, donate things you don't use anymore, and organize each room. This doesn't just mean your home! Sometimes your emails, phone, and life need a little cleaning as well.

Write in a journal.
I've talked about this before because it is indeed a miracle worker. You can write whatever you want, but you should try to write something each night. Being a lover of words, I have several journals that contribute to different viewpoints of my life. I have one for my gratitude in life, one for random scribbles, and one for a detailed account of my day. You'd be amazed at how better you feel after writing a few words on a piece of paper.

Laugh it off.
This isn't a cure, but it doesn't hurt either. My mother has always stated that you sometimes need to fake it to make it. To some extent, I believe this. If you are having a down day, go out with friends and laugh. Even if it is fake, it eventually will become real. Laughing is healthy for you and can put you in a better mood. So go ahead, have a chuckle.

Limit your alcohol intake.
It is a known fact that alcohol is a depressant. While it might seem fun at the moment, it can wreak havoc on your mental state later. Not only are you putting pressure on your body to try to fight off these toxins, but you are also causing a fight within your brain as well. When you limit your intake, you give your mind a chance to heal instead of just trying to numb the pain.

Exercise regularly.
You have heard it before, but that is because it does work. For one, your physical health is associated with your mental state. When your body is running correctly, everything balances a little bit better. Exercising also releases endorphins, a little thing that makes you feel good. This doesn't have to be an hour at the gym. You can go for a walk, take a yoga class, or dance. PS: Sex can do the same thing (and technically burns calories too).

Take a day off.
Days off are needed. If you have vacation time, try to spread it out so that you get a chunk of time off and a few days here and there. Mental health days are just as crucial as sick days. When you start feeling overstressed and anxious, take a day to relax and recover. This can include doing almost everything on this list or just sitting in your bed and watching TV. The point is to not think about all the stresses and relax.

Forgive yourself.
One of the most significant stresses in our lives is what we put on ourselves. We become our harshest critic and start tearing down our self-esteem. I am going to tell you a little secret. You are an imperfect human just like everybody else in this world. Making mistakes in life is okay. It is what you do after the fact that matters. Stop being so harsh on yourself; you are doing the best you can.

Share your feelings.
Have you ever heard of the teapot effect? This is when you hold in all of your feelings until you burst. Usually, the smallest thing sets you off, and you end up blowing up at whoever is around. Don't be a teapot. Expressing your feelings, whether good or bad, can help relieve some of that pressure we have building up mentally. Just remember to do it in a professional way (meaning don't just cuss someone out when you get mad).

Meditation can be one of the greatest things you do today. You can find a few apps, go to an actual professional, or try it out yourself. No matter how you do it, I believe everyone should meditate daily. Find which form fits best for you, and give it a try. The best thing is that you can do it for just 10 minutes a day and see results. Meditation helps relax your mind, reduce stress, and have you feeling more focused and motivated for the day.


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