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Staying Mentally Healthy

In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, this article focuses on how to stay mentally healthy and strong. As many as 450 million people worldwide struggle with a mental health disorder and that is just those that seek treatment. Here are some tips to stay mentally and physically healthy despite having a mental health diagnosis. Some tips include attending therapy regularly, taking prescribed medication, healthy eating, exercising, getting enough sleep, and managing stress.

Some mental health disorders require the regular use of medication to stabilize a client’s mood (Bipolar disorder), manage their psychotic symptoms (schizophrenia) or help with focus, attention, and maintaining good grades in school (ADHD). Some people may not be able to maintain a sense of normalcy without taking medication daily. Regular therapy may also be needed for some people to enhance social skills, improve relationships, assist with problems associated with daily living, reduce social isolation, and may help improve functioning at work.

Healthy eating is another strategy to help stay mentally tough. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can improve your energy level as well as helping improve your self esteem, increasing brain health, and improving your sleep. It is also important to limit your sugar intake, limit sweets, and high fat foods along with drinking plenty of water.

Exercising is another way to maintain mental health stability. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. Moderate exercise can include ​brisk walking, swimming, biking, and aerobics classes. Strength training with the use of weights or your own body weight is also recommended. This may include the use of free weights, weight machines or activities such as rock climbing.

Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep. According to the CDC, children (ages 5 and up) require anywhere from 10-13 hours of sleep while adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. To help get a good night’s sleep, stay consistent with your schedule by going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning, even on the weekends. Make your bedroom a peaceful, relaxing place so focus on keeping it quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature. Keep electronic devices, like televisions, cell phones, and computers out of the bedroom and also stop using these devices an hour before bedtime.

Stress can wreak havoc on you physically and mentally. Practicing stress management can keep you healthy. Some tools to manage stress include incorporating relaxation techniques including yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. Setting appropriate limits in your life and learning to say no to invitations and extra obligations. Make time for hobbies and special interests. Maintain your social support network and get reach out to them often. Learning to let go of some things that are clearly out of your control can also help with unwanted anxiety. Wishing you all a mentally healthy May!


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