How to Start Prioritizing Your Mental Health

Achieving Goals, Mental Health, Reducing Stress
02/13/20 - Nicole Curry
How to Start Prioritizing Your Mental Health

With the New Year, come new resolutions that aim towards improving one’s health. In fact, most of Americans’ 2019 New Year’s resolutions were geared towards health and exercise that range from going on a new diet to hitting the gym regularly. And this isn’t surprising, as health is one of the top priorities that influence how people do things on a daily basis. To add to this, self-care has become a trend among many Americans both as a means to take care of themselves and to better themselves in all the other aspects of their life. Indeed, investing in your health will lead to various benefits down the line. So today, we’re going to talk about some easy ways to help you start prioritizing your mental health.

However, one important thing to note when discussing health and self-care is that most people tend to focus on the physical aspect of this without addressing the mental side.

This becomes increasingly important when you consider the fact that the World Health Organization has officially declared mental burnout as an official medical diagnosis due to its prevalence in the world today. But do we really need to address mental health the same way we approach physical health? Well, the answer to this question is a strong resounding yes.

And while we’ve already discussed how you can help others in Gabby Vicas’ article about supporting your loved ones with mental illnesses, today we focus on how you can help yourself improve the state of your mental health. This is because mental health has just as much of an effect on your lives as your physical health. These effects range from your temperament towards everyday activities and can even affect the way you perform at work. Indeed, psychologists at Maryville University detail how the completion of business objectives are very much linked to an employee’s mental wellbeing.

The healthier your mind is, the better your performance will be at work.

Considering how pivotal mental health is to your daily lives, it would only make sense to take the necessary steps in improving it. So how do you go about this? Well, there are a few steps you can take to start putting your mental health on the top of your list. Read on to know more about how you can start prioritizing your mental health this coming year!

Take Breaks

take breaks every now and then

As mentioned above, burnout has become a global epidemic. The World Health Organization defines burnout as a syndrome that results from workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. Seeing as that is the case, it only makes sense that to address burnout, one must address the stress. One good way to address this issue is to take breaks regularly.

Taking a break can range from going on vacation to smaller things such as taking small breaks in between your workday. An article on Inc about taking breaks, highlights how taking some time off can provide you with a slew of benefits. One way you can sneak quick breaks in throughout the day is by practicing the Pomodoro Technique wherein you supplement 25 minutes of work with five minutes of recreational activity. This way, you’ll be able to remain productive while sneaking in some time off in between.

Find A Hobby

take up a hobby

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is how the old adage goes. In line with taking more breaks, you might also want to consider picking up a new hobby this year, as it could prove beneficial for your mental health. Not only will it give you a healthy outlet outside of work, but certain hobbies can also provide you with benefits that could improve the state of your overall mental health.

Research by the Department of Psychology at New Zealand University has found that creative acts give people emotional relief. They are highlighting the link between creativity and emotional functioning. And while the study didn’t focus on specific activities that the respondents participated in, the researchers informally took note of the activities that provided people with emotional and mental relief. These activities include writing fiction and poetry, knitting, cooking, painting, and music.

Set Boundaries

set boundaries

Think about it, what has been one of the biggest sources of turmoil when it comes to your mental health? Most of your problems probably stem from the fact that you have been trying to do too much all at once. Trying to overextend yourself will leave you drained and with more issues than you started off with. This is why it’s crucial to set boundaries.

So how do you go about doing this? Psychology Today details six steps on how to set healthy boundaries for yourself. The list starts with clarifying what you want outside of other people’s interests. It ends with being able to communicate your desires with other people in a respectful and healthy manner. This is important, as setting boundaries doesn’t entail shutting other people out. Doing things this way will ensure the preservation of your relationships. You’ll learn there are ways of setting boundaries without sacrificing your friends, work friends, and the people you care about.

Seek Professional Help

How to Start Prioritizing Your Mental Health_by getting support

And while setting boundaries is a good first step, you might also want to consider getting professional help when it comes to your mental health in the form of therapy. Considering the varying degrees of problems, it only makes sense that there are also a number of different ways that professionals approach it. The National Alliance on Mental Illness enumerates the different types of therapy that could prove beneficial to your mental health. These ranging from the classic psychotherapy or “talk therapy” to more hands-on variations in the form of therapy pets.

Currently, one of the biggest hindrances when it comes to seeking professional help is the systemic roadblocks. These stop people from getting the help they need. Psychiatrists from the Perelman School of Medicine highlight how the complicated health insurance landscape makes it harder for people to avail of these services. These issues mostly stem from a general misunderstanding of mental health and the problems that come with it. Luckily, organizations such as The National Alliance on Mental Illness have over 950 affiliate groups across the country. These groups help connect people with the mental health service providers that they need.

Surround Yourself With The Right People

How to Start Prioritizing Your Mental Health

An important thing to note when talking about mental health is that you are not in this alone. This is key, as the feeling of isolation can aggravate your mental issues. In fact, there are individuals out there that are going through similar problems to you that have banded together. With the hopes of providing each other with support so they can foster a healthy environment. A safe space where people can focus on bettering the state of their mental health.

US News reveals that peer-run support groups provide individuals who suffer from mental health issues with a number of benefits that range from physical to emotional. Which is a testament to the effectiveness of support groups as a whole. Support groups provide individuals with a safe space to explore the intricacies of the state of their mental health. Along with others who have gone through similar experiences. This can potentially provide you with helpful insights for bettering yourself down the line.

These are just a few tips that you can follow to improve upon your mental health this coming year. It’s important to note that this list isn’t the end all be all of the solutions. Any solution that works for you that isn’t included in this list is one worth pursuing. The end goal is to better the state of your mental health, so pursue anything that helps you achieve that goal.

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Nicole Curry

Nicole Curry is a former lacrosse player who found her calling in the realms of digital media after a knee injury ended her college athletic career. She's staunch advocate of mental health in her local community, giving talks and seminars on the issue.

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