Breanna Zold, LPC-Intern
Mental health struggles can impact anyone, for various reasons, and at different points in life. Whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of a breakup, adjusting to a new career, or battling unresolved past traumas, the burden of these symptoms can feel overwhelming and even debilitating at times. It’s important to acknowledge that mental health challenges can affect your everyday life, but there are simple yet effective ways to improve and maintain your mental well-being. In this blog post, we’ll explore some key strategies to boost your mental health: controlling the content you consume, prioritizing movement, being intentional about how you spend your time, and seeking professional help when needed.
Controlling the Content You Consume
In today’s digital age, we’re constantly bombarded with information through social media and the internet. While these platforms offer numerous opportunities, they can also lead to negative feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. It’s essential to recognize that you have control over the content you consume. Here’s how to do it:
Unfollow and Mute: Don’t hesitate to unfollow accounts that make you feel unhappy or inferior. Many social media platforms allow you to mute or “take a break” from certain friends or pages, giving you respite from their posts.
Self-Awareness: Reflect on what content brings you joy and what makes you feel down. Being aware of your emotional responses can guide you in curating your online experience.
Digital Detox: Set aside time each day or week to disconnect from screens and social media. Maybe even delete your social media for a weekend, week, or month. Many social media platforms offer the ability to ‘disable’ your account, so that you can still come back to it in the future without losing pictures, memories, or connection with others. Engage in activities that nourish your mental health, such as reading, meditating, or spending time in nature.
Controlling the content you consume not only reduces the risk of constant comparison but also allows you to focus on the things that truly matter to you. By being selective about what you let into your digital space, you create a more positive and supportive online environment for yourself, which can lead to improved mental well-being.
Physical activity isn’t just about keeping your body fit; it can have a profound impact on your mental well-being. Exercise has been linked to improved mood, reduced stress, and increased self-confidence. Many who engage in physical activity regularly identify that even though there are some physical benefits (losing weight, fitting into clothing better, looking toned, etc), the mental benefits (ever hear of a runner’s high?) far outweigh the physical benefits. Here’s how to prioritize movement in your life:
Start Small: If you’re struggling to find motivation, begin with simple exercises like a short walk around your neighborhood. Gradually increase the duration and intensity as you build a routine.
Create a Plan: Schedule your exercise sessions in advance, treating them as appointments you must keep. Get a planner, put them in the calendar on your phone, or write reminders on your refrigerator, whatever it takes to ensure you follow through with this like you would any other appointment you have scheduled. This commitment can boost your motivation and consistency.
Reflect on Benefits: Pay attention to the emotional and mental benefits of physical activity. From the release of endorphins to the sense of accomplishment, recognizing these gains can motivate you to continue moving your body.
Regular physical activity can become a source of empowerment and a way to channel your emotions positively. It not only improves your physical health but also enhances your mental well-being, making it a valuable tool in your mental health toolkit.
Being Intentional About How You Spend Your Time
Your time is precious, and how you allocate it can significantly impact your mental health. Being intentional about your activities and the people you spend time with can make a world of difference:
Pursue Passions: Dedicate time to activities or hobbies that bring you fulfillment and joy. Engaging in what you’re passionate about can enhance your mental well-being. Think about what you love to do, whether that is reading, writing, doing arts and crafts, coaching sports, engaging in sports, etc. and do that! Do what you love and it will love you back!
Choose Your Company Wisely: Surround yourself with friends and family who uplift and support you. Limit your exposure to toxic relationships and environments.
Self-Reflection: Regularly assess how certain activities or environments make you feel. If something consistently drains your energy or negatively affects your mood, consider making changes. This can be difficult, specifically when it comes to individuals whom we are close to. If you find yourself feeling negatively following spending time with someone, it may be time to think about setting boundaries so that you continue to be your healthiest and happiest self.
By being intentional about how you spend your time, you can create a more nurturing and positive environment for your mental health to thrive. It’s essential to prioritize self-care and make choices that align with your well-being.
Seeking Professional Help When Needed
While these strategies can be incredibly helpful, it’s also important to recognize when you might need professional assistance. Seeking help from a therapist or counselor can provide you with the necessary tools and support to navigate more complex mental health challenges. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional if you’re experiencing severe symptoms or struggling to cope with your emotions. Oftentimes people can struggle with making this first step of calling and asking for help. If this is occurring, there are many agencies and resources that have websites that offer emails or virtual ways to get in touch with someone so that you are able to get your questions answered! Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Incorporating these simple yet powerful strategies into your life can make a significant difference in your mental well-being. Whether it’s controlling the content you consume, prioritizing movement, being intentional about your time, or seeking professional help when needed, taking steps to boost your mental health is a crucial investment in your overall well-being. With these tools at your disposal, you can cultivate a happier and healthier mind.