It’s easy for people to focus on their physical health because you can see progress being made quickly. Have you ever wanted to lose a few pounds, gain some muscle, or run a marathon? It’s easier to stay motivated when reaching those goals because you can see changes happening. You can see yourself getting better and stronger.
So, training and boosting your physical health becomes a priority. Sometimes, it’s harder to make your mental health a priority because it’s not always as easy to see progress as it’s being made. But, you may just not be paying close enough attention.
As women, taking care of your mental health is extremely important. The stability of your mental health can impact everything from relationships, the choices you make, your career, and even how you handle stress and feel about yourself.
Taking the time to make your physical health a priority is great, but it’s perhaps even more important to make your mental health a priority, too. Take a look at these five tips that can help you when it comes to putting more emphasis on the wellbeing of your mental state.
1. Re-evaluate Your Relationships
Abusive or toxic relationships can wreak havoc on your mental health. Unfortunately, so many “red flag relationships” look different, so it can be hard to recognize that there’s a problem right away.
Clear-cut issues like domestic violence can lead to things like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can impact your mental state for years. Sexual abuse can also trigger trauma when you’re in a relationship that doesn’t take consent seriously.
But emotional abuse can be just as damaging and can lead to things like depression and anxiety.
Being in a toxic relationship of any kind can have a negative impact on your future relationships, and it can change the way you look at yourself. The best way to get out of a damaging relationship is to understand some of the signs. If your relationship constantly makes you feel bad, you don’t say the things you want to say, or all of the love and compassion is one-sided and comes from you, it could be time to break things off for the sake of your mental and emotional health.
2. Get Moving
Exercise is great for your physical health, of course, but it also can have huge benefits when it comes to your mental health. First, it’s a mood booster. Working out encourages an increase in endorphins in your brain, which can make you feel calm and happy.
The best part? It doesn’t take a long, strenuous workout to get these benefits. A study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that just 15 minutes a day of running or an hour of walking can reduce a person’s risk of depression by 26%.
Exercise also can help with anxiety, and it can motivate you to take better care of yourself, overall. When you start to do that, it’s easier to have a more positive image of yourself and stop negative self-talk.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to working out. One of the best things you can do is to find a physical activity you enjoy, so you’ll stick with it. If you’re not into running or going to the gym, try something unique like joining a dance class.
3. Find a Healthy Hobby
Want to feel less stressed? Find something that relaxes you! Finding a new hobby can benefit your mental health in a variety of ways. You’ll feel motivated and excited to accomplish something new, and it gives you a break from everyday life.
If your job, your everyday activities, or just a stressful schedule is burning you out, finding something new to enjoy will give you an outlet you can use to “recover.”
Whatever you choose should be unique to you, and something you genuinely want to do. It could be something as simple as picking up gardening, which can also help you to relax and let go of anger.
Even if you don’t have much of a yard or none at all, urban gardening makes it possible to enjoy this activity no matter where you live. In fact, doing anything outside can help with things like anxiety and boosting your mood.
If you really need a change, try to find a hobby that gets you out of your routine. Traveling is a great mood booster that can help you to feel less anxious. Travel also can give you a sense of purpose and adventure, and something to look forward to if your everyday routine is harmful to your mental state.
Truthfully, it doesn’t matter which hobby you choose or if you try several different activities. Whether it’s salsa dancing or knitting a scarf, everyone can benefit from trying different things. What does matter is finding something you truly enjoy and doing it for your own wellbeing, not someone else’s.
Before you skip past this tip, it’s important to understand that meditation often falls under different stereotypes that aren’t necessarily true. Meditation doesn’t mean you have to sit in a garden for hours with light music playing, saying “ohms” and sitting a certain way.
Let go of any stereotypes you have of meditation, and let it work for you.
Meditation is simply a way to let go of the stresses that are impacting your mind and body. It can take as little as 10 minutes a day and can make you feel completely different. Not only does it help you to deal with stress, but it also can improve your mood, help you sleep, and boost your focus.
The most important thing about meditation is breathing. When you focus on your breathing and clear your mind of everything else, it allows you to be more mindful and stay in the present moment. You can let thoughts freely come and go without holding onto them and stressing out over them.
Take a few minutes each day to practice deep breathing, and focus only on yourself during that time. Meditation is less complicated than it looks, so don’t be afraid to give it a try.
5. Practice Self-Compassion
The old saying about being your own worst enemy has stood the test of time for a reason. Far too often, we shoot ourselves down. When was the last time you said something positive about yourself?
Everyone makes mistakes and has setbacks, but it’s how you handle those setbacks that can make a difference in your mental health. Self-criticism leads to a lack of motivation and creativity, but it can also decrease your self-esteem and even lead to depression.
Be kind to yourself, and show compassion when you do go through hard times or make mistakes. Forgive yourself for the things you’ve done, and surround yourself with support. Think about how you would treat your best friend.
Whether they were “perfect” or they made mistakes all the time, you’d still be there for them. You would encourage them and support them. Now, do the same for yourself.
Your Mental Health Matters
Prioritizing your mental health is about more than self-care, it’s about loving your whole self. Your mental health can have such an impact on the way you live your life and how you feel. So, if you’re going to make your overall health an important factor in your life, don’t forget to take care of your mental health on a daily basis, too.