While mental health is being discussed more and more in our conversations, on social media, and in the news, there isn’t enough discussion on what can be done, for all of us, to address mental health concerns we may have. Integrity Urgent Care knows that physical and mental health are inexplicably linked and for us to best treat our patients physically, we have to address the mental side of their well-being. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks to boost your mental health as you go through your day.
1. Be grateful. This can happen in a number of ways. Some choose to take frustrating or negative circumstances and find something they can be thankful for, like gratitude you have a backup jar of spaghetti sauce when you accidentally drop one while preparing dinner. Others write in a thankful journal so they can go through the positive parts of their day and reflect on it during difficult times. Either way, the more you practice being grateful, the easier it will come and the better boost your brain will get.
2. Spend time outside. We are not meant to spend as much time indoors as we do. By focusing on getting time outside, beyond walking from a building to the car, we can reduce depression and enhance our mood. Go for a walk around the block, find new hiking trails, apply sunscreen and play at a playground, or dine al fresco at home or at your favorite restaurant.
3. Smile. This simple task can boost your mood in a second. The act of smiling is a clear example of how our physical bodies are linked to our emotional health. According to Mental Health America, “smiling can help to lower your heart rate and calm you down.”
4. Get away. Running away doesn’t have to be a bad thing, as long as there is a plan to come back after a short rest. Plan a weekend in the country or book a vacation to a place you have always wanted to go. Even beginning to research information about a trip can help boost your mood and give you something to look forward to. If you don’t have the budget for a trip right now, go off the grid for a weekend and discover hidden treasures in your own community or city.
5. Move. Dance while doing tasks around the house. Work in some light strength training for 15 minutes in the morning. Stretch and breathe mindfully. Try running or rowing or aerobics. Whatever you find that works for you, do it consistently. You can reduce cortisol, the hormone that is associated with stress, and increase endorphins, the hormone that makes you feel great!
6. Adjust your plans. Sometimes our goals can cause us additional stress and be less beneficial than we would like. It is okay to reevaluate your goals or the steps you need to take to achieve them. Have a big goal in mind for your life, career, or family, but understand all the steps it may take to get there and focus on the first one or two.
7. Create. By creating something, we can release emotions that are both positive and negative. Creativity can come in many forms, from painting to doodling, from writing to cooking, and even different tasks like putting together a new outfit or decorating your home.
8. Play up your strengths. Complete a task you know you are good at. This will help boost your confidence, feel a sense of accomplishment, and gain momentum on other items on your to-do list.
9. Rest. While rest often seems like something that takes more time than we have, it can come in many ways. Take a warm bath once a week, relieving ache and stress you may have. Keep your room comfortable with high quality bedding you love and turn the temperature down a bit to keep things cool. Even something as simple as a yawn can improve your overall alertness.
10. Those you love. Spending time with those you love, family, friends, and cuddly pets are great ways to boost your spirits. Studies have shown on days we spend 6-7 hours with friends and family, we are 12 times more likely to feel happy. If you don’t have a pet of your own, you can volunteer or ask an elderly neighbor if they need help with dog walks or other tasks.
If you are needing a little mental boost, choose one of these to focus on this week. Then add others as you can, without additional pressure of needing to accomplish too much. If you are feeling extra overwhelmed, reach out to a counselor or trained professional for help. Therapy, counseling, and mentoring is beneficial for everyone and can help you improve many parts of your life. If your physical side needs a little extra support, come see our Integrity Urgent Care staff today.