The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has made the relationship between our lifestyle and mental health clearer than ever—as well as the importance of cultivating habits that promote and safeguard good mental health.
Whether your intention is to improve mental health by changing your lifestyle, or simply to take preventive measures to maintain your mental health, consider giving the following lifestyle habits a shot:
Maintain Your Physical Health
Often, when things get busy or stressful, our diet and exercise routines are the first thing to go. And that makes sense—engaging in regular physical activity and preparing healthy meals can be extremely time-consuming, and are therefore one of the easiest things to cut out.
However, cutting corners when it comes to eating healthy and exercising might come back to bite you in the long run. Science agrees that diet and exercise can play a huge role in fighting mental health disorders, particularly depression and anxiety. Moreover, aside from their positive psychological and physiological effects, things like cooking or exercising provide a chance to distract yourself and temporarily disengage from whatever stressful factors are at play in your life.
The effects of loneliness and social isolation can be devastating for your mental health, as many people have learned the hard way over the past couple of years. Even if it’s something small (such as making a resolution to text a friend every day, or setting aside one night a week for social activities), staying connected to others and maintaining a social support system is a great way to improve mental health. Studies have shown that individuals with higher levels of social connection are less likely to experience depression and anxiety, and are even physically healthier.
Mindfulness has emerged as a popular and effective technique for managing stress, and can also help to combat anxiety and depression. Activities like meditation and yoga are two of the most well-known ways to practice mindfulness, but they’re by no means the only ones. At its most basic, to practice mindfulness is simply to cultivate the habit of awareness, acceptance, and non-judgement of thoughts and feelings. The best parts: mindfulness is free, and you can do it anytime, anywhere.
Wondering how to improve your mental health? RADIAS Health provides person-centered integrated healthcare services to people suffering from mental illness, substance use, or co-occurring disorders. Our services encompass primary care and behavioral health services delivered by compassionate, skilled health care and support staff. In addition, our care includes supplementary services such as case management, supportive housing, homeless services, residential services, outpatient DBT treatment, and more. If you or someone you know could benefit from our mission, contact us today or consider donating!