Mental health is simultaneously one of the most important and one of the most difficult things to take care of in our lives. While doctors and researchers have long said that you should take your mental health as seriously as your physical health, many people find themselves neglecting the former. While it’s slowly becoming less stigmatized to talk about mental illness, there’s still a lot of work to do and it can feel incredibly overwhelming to open up to anyone about it when you’re struggling. While there are many self-care strategies, finding what works for you can take time and experimentation. If you’re not sure where to start, let’s go over some simple ways you can look after your mental health.
Why is mental health important?
There are a million reasons why taking care of your mental health is important but ultimately, it comes down to the fact that everyone deserves to have peace and wellness in their lives and access to treat medical issues that disrupt that wellness. Insurance companies and doctors are starting to catch up, but there’s still a lot of improvements to be made structurally to improve our ability to identify and treat mental illness before it becomes destructive. Your mental health may seem divorced from your physical health, but many mental illnesses manifest with physical symptoms or involve things like suicidal ideation or self-harm that can quickly spiral when untreated.
How can I take care of my mental health?
There’s a lot you can do to improve your mental health, but therapy is one of the most beneficial investments you can make. Whether you’re dealing with an existential crisis, an ongoing mental illness, or a traumatic event, having someone who can listen and offer you objective advice is incredibly valuable. Not only that, but the simple act of talking about what’s bothering you and letting it out can be beneficial in and of itself. There aren’t really downsides to reaching out and consulting with a therapist if you’re concerned about your mental health, and it’s a worthy investment even if you’re on a budget.
Consider trying to come up with a routine, especially if you’re spending a lot of time at home or working from home, that makes you feel productive without being exhausted or overextended. Try to find a hobby or two that relaxes you or a project you can invest in that is completely separate from what you do for work. It’s about keeping your mind stimulated and focused on things that are fun or beneficial, instead of letting it wander and start to go to dark or unhealthy places.
Does my environment affect my mood?
It may seem trivial, but your environment has a huge effect on your mental health. Think about the spaces where you spend the most time, especially your home. If it’s dirty, unkempt, or bleak to spend time in, it’s probably not serving you well. You can spruce up your decór, rearrange your furniture, or just deep clean everything from the floors to the windows (if you’re looking for window cleaning Durham, Labor Panes has you covered). Don’t stop at window-washing, if you’re going to bring in an outside company, you can even have them handle chores like cleaning the gutter in order to take that task off your plate. Letting difficult chores pile up is just another way that you can add unnecessary stress to your life.
Mental health can seem like an overwhelming topic and if you find yourself with symptoms of a mental illness or just want someone to talk about a situation that’s bothering you, it’s easier than ever to find a therapist without even leaving your home. The advent of teletherapy and online medicine, in addition to several chat-based apps and programs, make talk therapy accessible for everyone at a more reasonable price point than many traditional therapeutic options.
Even if you’re not interested in medical treatment, there are plenty of small things you can change about your environment or routine that can have beneficial effects. Try to shake the stigma and think of treating mental illness like putting a cast on a broken bone. The most important thing is that you don’t ignore yourself or your mental health and take concrete steps to get help if you need it.
To read more on topics like this, check out the Health category