5 Tips for Prioritizing Your Mental Health

5 Ways to Prioritize Your Mental Health

Ideally, our mental health is something that we’re constantly prioritizing and taking care of every day. But most of us take care of our mental health like we schedule vacation days–we only do it a few times a year and we only think about it when we’re starting to feel burned out.

So how do we start getting into the habit of prioritizing our mental health on a daily basis? Sometimes it means that you have to be proactive about it, but once you make it into a habit, it’ll start to change the way you think and feel.

  1. Set more boundaries, learn to say no. Whether it’s about work or someone who’s negatively impacting your life, taking a step back and not allowing people to have access to you will improve your life significantly. There’s only so much time in the day and being able to preserve some of it for yourself shouldn’t just be a luxury, it should be normal. A lot of people fear turning down opportunities or setting boundaries, but at the end of the day, you’ll always handle the things that matter to you the most, and you’ll be able to do a better job because you aren’t stretched too thin.
  2. Stop being mean to yourself. Stand up to the internal voice that only has negative things to say about you or keeps obsessing over “what if” or “if only I had done…” Ultimately that negative repetitive thinking does nothing to change what’s already been done and it’s unproductive. Instead, tell yourself to stop that internal cycle of punishment when you catch yourself doing it and use your time and energy to focus on how you can better yourself.
  3. Move your body. I hesitate to say “exercise” because being active in general is really what’s important here. You don’t have to run, do push-ups, or a 40-minute workout. Just being active–going out for a walk, dancing to a song, etc., will help you mentally. Yes, exercise has definitely been proven to improve mental health (it causes your brain to release endorphins). Exercise also improves other parts of your life/health, obviously. Very worth it, in my expert opinion.
  4. Acknowledge your feelings. Many of us are very good at doing whatever we can to avoid thinking about our real emotions. It’s OK. It’s a work in progress, and you can get better at it. For some people, journaling helps them to process things in the moment or upon reflection. Making an effort to do daily check-ins on where you’re at and how you’re feeling will help prevent pent-up frustrations/negativity and eventual breaking points.
  5. Unplug. Humans weren’t meant to handle all of the information that we receive on a daily, hourly, every-second basis. Most of the stuff we hear and see is just neverending noise, and yet it can still change our mood, add to our stress, etc. It can get overwhelming and we don’t even notice it. Take a break every day (multiple times a day if you can) and disconnect from every screen (computer, TV, phone). Trust me, you won’t miss anything and you’ll learn to appreciate it.

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