Living in a busy world where your day-to-day routines are filled with heaps of tasks will surely leave you feeling worn out. With tons of workloads to do, how could you cope with this multitude of things whirling around your mind?
Practicing habits to improve mental health grants you the ability to have a good relationship with others and with yourself while staying on top of everything else.
Why is mental health important?
As per the Mental Health Act of the Philippines, our mental health is just as important as physical health since it includes your psychological, emotional, and social well-being. Your productivity and relationships depend on your mental health since it affects the way you:
- Handle problems and cope with stress
- Relate to others
- Stay physically active
- Work productively
- Make important life decisions
You cannot control the things that happen around you but you can control how you react to them. Instilling habits to improve mental health can be your only solution in having quality time in your life.
Let’s learn how to restore, take care of, and protect our mental health at all times.
How to improve your mental health
Maintaining healthy mental health is important from childhood and teenage years through adulthood. Having an outlet for your stress at different life stages can create a great influence on your overall health wellbeing.
Training your mind to nourish healthy habits, however small they may be, is the best way to improve your mental wellbeing. Habit works through a loop – cue, routine, and reward. Instructing your brain over time will make a habit an automatic behavior.
To help you out, we listed down some essential habits to improve mental health and wellbeing for all ages:
For Kids, 12 years or younger
Children are still in the stage of learning social skills and maintaining healthy developmental and emotional health. Eating nutritious food, following bedtime rules, and avoiding too many sweets aren’t the only ones that you should be teaching your kids to practice.
If you have children that are 12 years old or younger, they’ll surely enjoy these fun habits:
1. Give them time and freedom to play
Playing is important for your kid’s mental and social development since it is through it that your children learn to interact and engage with the world around them. Let your kid get along with other children and find great playmates.
Let them be creative in their games, too. They may be just games, but they’re also great ways of developing their mental and physical health to maintain their body weight.
What if your child can’t go outdoors and play? Don’t resort to merely letting them play or watch on gadget screens. There are still plenty of indoor games they can try out including hide-and-seek, charades, or Monopoly!
Plus, don’t forget to be involved in your child’s playtime too as this builds a positive bond between you and your child.
2. Communicate with your children
Does your child ask for your help with homework or speak to you whenever they’re sad or scared to sleep alone at night?
Don’t deride nor dismiss their sentiments and always show that you’re concerned about how they feel. Establish the idea that there’s nothing wrong with feelings of sadness, anger, or fear but what is important is how they handle them.
Ask how they feel, what they did in school for the day, or how their friends are doing. Assure them that they always have a safe space to speak up with anyone.
For teenagers, 13 to 18 years old
Ages from 13 to 18 years are the usual ages from high school, which also means it’s a formative time and a transition period from childhood to adulthood. Try out these habits to improve mental health at this stage of your life.
3. Encourage them to pick up a hobby they enjoy
Practicing any hobby allows your kids to unwind from your exhausting daily routines from school. In picking out a great hobby, have them start trying out activities and see what they already enjoy.
Do they like listening to music? Maybe playing an instrument will be suitable. Are they fascinated by other cultures and places? Learning new languages or cooking different cuisines might be good.
Encourage them to transform things they already love into a hobby that they’ll truly enjoy.
4. Get an adequate amount of sleep
Regular and adequate amount of sleep aids the brain to recover from mental exertion, leaving your mind recharged, refreshed, and alert.
A mental health and sleep study suggests that sleeping strengthens your memory and helps you retain new information processed in your brain. Ergo, sleep significantly affects your teenagers’ performance in school.
Having low quality and inadequate sleep can negatively impact their mood, affect their decisions, how they interpret events and lose their ability to focus. So make sure that they are having adequate sleep every night!
Remind them to stay out of your phone at least two hours before bedtime, have cool room temperature, or read a book. You can also serve bedtime teas like chamomile tea since it is commonly regarded as a sleep inducer.
Young adults, 20 to 24 years old
Individuals in this age range may be finishing degrees, having a part-time jobs, or starting with their careers. No matter how busy, don’t forget to practice these habits to improve mental health:
5. Practice positive self-affirmations
Give positive self-affirmations for focus and motivation to transform negative thoughts into positive thinking patterns. It reminds you that there’s always room for improvement whenever we face failures and shortcomings.
You can also use affirmations during your yoga or meditation practice. Set your intention before the exercise and think about what particular area of your life would you want to improve then direct your mind and energy into that thought throughout the exercise.
6. Write down your worries
Have something you’re worried about? Just write them down. Every time there’s something bothering you, let it out in your journal. Having these unwelcome thoughts whirling around your mind all day and just forcing them to stop may only increase your worries.
Letting out your worries by writing them down can redirect your thoughts towards positive things. You can also do these before bedtime, along with your accomplishments and gratitude journals.
For adults, 25 years old and older
You’re holding much more responsibilities in your work, bills, and house upkeep. Create a routine having the following habits then you’ll definitely feel more thrilled with keeping up with your life obligations, rather than feeling overwhelmed.
7. Stay physically active
Whenever you’re exercising, your body releases endorphins which are chemicals that trigger positive emotions.
A recent study suggests that aerobic exercises like jogging, walking, cycling, gardening, and dancing can improve your mental health by reducing anxiety and depression. Create a physical fitness routine or do simple weight-maintaining exercises that you frankly enjoy, either on your own or in a group.
8. Prepare ahead of the week
Practice healthy eating habits by listing down your everyday menu and prepare your lunches at the start of the week. Planning your week or day ahead helps you feel more in control of your everyday routine.
You can even pick out your clothes ahead of the week or day so you’ll not be troubled about your clothes every single day.
With regard to budgeting, planning them ahead of time will make sure you’re prepared for the unforeseen finances throughout the week.
With so much time in your hands, you may still feel stressed from boredom and totally consumed at the end of the day. Exercise these habits that are effective in nourishing your mental strength, even at the age of 60!
9. Form hobbies that keep your day occupied
Keep yourself busy with things you love to do or hobbies you wanted to try when you were younger but never got the chance to do. It’s never too late to do things that you honestly enjoy.
Want to physically fit? Try out some easy bone and muscle exercises that will help you keep your body limber at any age.
Do you have photos of your family piling up on your phone’s gallery? Try printing them out and make a creative photo album. Your family will surely be excited to see them next time they visit you.
Got more room in your garden or house? Introduce more colors and plants to your house. Or, maybe you can even make your garden into a vegetable-bearing space to save you a trip to the vegetable market!
10. Socialize with your friends and with the community
The pandemic restricts you from physically socializing with your friends and family as much as you want to but there are a lot more ways you can stay in touch with your loved ones. You can try hosting a virtual party through video calls or joining forums and chat rooms on social media. Consider being active in your community, too. There are clubs or charities where you can meet new people and experience new things.
Investing in having healthy mental health through cost-effective and simple habits is a worthwhile effort. They are easy-to-do things that you can incorporate into your daily routine that wouldn’t take much of your time and effort but are definitely effective in building up your mental strength.
Need assistance in other health aspects to improve your mental health? We have health professionals, nutritionists, and physical therapists on board at The Hospital At Maayo Well. Feel free to book an appointment and consult with us!