24 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

15th October, 1997, the year I was born. Today is my birthday. I’ve always enjoyed my birthday never missed a year without birthday cake…wait…apart from that one time, but let’s not think about that.

(I’ll try not to anyways..)

As the years have gone by, I have learned a lot about humans, and I’m passionate about understanding the human brain and why people behave in specific ways. Learning about others gives us a better understanding of navigating conversations; one thing that may be acceptable in one culture may not be okay in the other. It’s a whole nature vs nurture thing. What is one thing that we all have in common, no matter what region you live in? Mental health. Some people have good mental health, and some people have bad mental health.

As we grow, it’s vital to improve our mental well-being not just for the sake of others but for our own sake. The most important and longest relationship you have in life is with yourself; therefore, you can be the person you always dreamed of with self-awareness and patience.

Disclaimer: This is something you do throughout your life and not just something that can be obtained and then neglected; later on, remember patience and enjoying it is essential.

1. Therapy

I’ve been to therapy a few times, and I’ll do it again if needs be. If anyone is going to help you understand your mental state in a better way, a professional is the best option, and there’s always one willing to listen.

2. Create a Safe Place

You deserve to have a safe place where you can be yourself without any judgements or worries, and this could be your bedroom, local cafe or your mind. No one can access that but you.

3. Open up to Someone

When going through something difficult, I find it helpful to talk to someone close to me; if you have no one in your life, there are helplines where people can listen to you talk.

4. Watch What you Eat

Now, I’m not going to tell you to eat lettuce 24/7; you’re not a rabbit, but having healthy meals has a play on your mental health and having a maccies (McDonald’s) every day isn’t healthy. Take it from me, who did this for almost two weeks straight in my final university semester. It’s not worth it. Home-cooked meals are always best. (Shoutout to my mum and her cooking, I’m never leaving!)

5. Exercise (Move your Body)

Okay, don’t judge me, but I love to dance in my bedroom, and I’ve been walked in on a couple of times too (awkward) as long as I’m moving my body, right?! so dance like no one’s watching, taking a 30-minute walk counts as exercise too, so move your body, going to the gym? Even better!

6. Having a Body care and Skincare routine

Too lazy to use body moisturiser? Baby oil is your best friend. No skincare routine? Cleanser, toner, moisturiser and SPF. Thank me later.

7. Remain Sociable

One thing depression loves is solitude; its where it thrives best. So what would I do? Netflix party! I would try to make plans with friends, online and in person.

8. Take Digital Breaks

Turn your phone off for once and breathe, I promise you won’t die.

9. Journaling

I love journaling. I have recommended it before, though you can do it digitally, I always recommend pen to paper.

10. Audio Journaling

When I was going through a hard time and wasn’t ready to express myself to anyone, I decided to record myself and vocalise how I felt. Talking to yourself or talking out loud helps you have a better understanding of the situation.

11. Practice gratitude.

Life is hard, but still, there’s always at least one thing to be thankful for, it can be health, having someone tell you ”I love you”, hot showers, grandparents, food, next day delivery…Uhm, TECHNOLOGY, how else would you be reading this fantastic blog?!

12. Practice Mindfulness/ Pray

Whatever brings you peace, whether you believe in God or not. If praying helps, go for it; if breathing exercises help? Go for it

Mindfulness is the idea of learning how to be fully present and engaged in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction or judgment.

Headspace

Headspace is my favourite mediation app you can try it for free here.

13. Watch the company you keep

Ever been around someone and felt uneasy and anxious? I vow not to be around them because I want to laugh and not have an anxiety attack. The people you keep around you reflect who you are or who you want to be. This includes the accounts you follow on social media, remember good people are good for the soul.

14. Learn to say ”No”

Saying no is a positive way to establish boundaries; you do not have to show up at everyone’s aid. What are you, batman? Do you have batman money? It’s okay to take a stand and say no, and nobody has the right to bully you into submission.

15. End Toxic Relationships

That includes toxic friends, parents, other family members, work environments etc. You deserve a safe space.

16. Ask for Help

Humans are social creatures; we aren’t meant to be alone, having a community is essential. It’s okay to ask for help; it doesn’t make you look weak; the opposite, it helps you stressless and could be the beginning of a new relationship in your life.

17. Be Selfless

Helping others makes you feel better, whether it be holding the door for someone, giving to charity, leaving a like or comment on someone’s blog…you know…just putting it out there

18. Be Selfish

Being selfless doesn’t mean you should neglect yourself. Being too available allows for people to take advantage. If taking care of yourself and making time for yourself makes you ”selfish” then so be it! Alone time is incredibly crucial; this goes for people in relationships too. It’s you above everyone else, and you are allowed to be and have alone time. 

19. Avoid Drugs/ Alcohol

Never offer someone drugs or alcohol. You never know their story; they could be a recovering addict, it could be other personal or religious reasons. If you’re going through a hard time yourself, it’s best to avoid everything altogether.

20. Do things you enjoy

You can’t go wrong with Korean dramas. I recommend Crash Landing on You. I enjoy listening to Arabic and South African house music; most of all, I love sleeping, truly I do. Perhaps you like cars, making or shopping for clothes, going on walks, archery, drawing? Whatever it may be, do what makes you feel good

21. Plan ahead

For your own peace of mind, plan ahead, failure of preparation is preparation for failure.

22. Loosen up and laugh

Unfortunately, my laugh tends to be a little loud and witchy. Will that stop me? No. Laughing is good for the spirit.

23. Sleep

Some people need 6 hours, others 8, others 10 hours of sleep. You need to understand your body and decide the best time to sleep, don’t neglect your body of a goodnight’s rest.

24. Rest

REST. Resting your body, mind and soul are what we are talking about here. It’s more than just sleeping; taking time for you and resting is essential for your mental well-being. Please rest. 

I decided on 24 because I am 24 today. You do not have to follow everything; maybe 2 or 1 thing is beneficial to you from the list; of course, there are other ways one may improve their mental health, but these are ways that helped me. If nothing works, like point one, I recommend seeing a professional and if you feel you are a danger to others or yourself, call the emergency line in your country.

Here’s to a healthy mind!

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