Six Ways to Boost Mental Health for World Mental Health Day
October 10 is World Mental Health Day, a day when we shine a spotlight on the importance of our mental wellbeing and mental health care. This blog post has six ideas for keeping your mental health in mind when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed with life.
Boost Your Mental Health
Reach Out to a Friend: Your burdens don’t have to be yours alone. Share with a trusted friend, partner, or family member who can be a listening ear to process your stress and hard moments. The people in your circle love and support you, and they’re here for you.
Play with Nature
Regular interaction with nature can have a positive impact on your immune system and mental health. Whether you go for a walk in a nearby nature reserve, hang out at a local park, or dig around in your own garden, exposure to plants, dirt, and the great outdoors is a natural boost for your mood and mental health. There’s even scientific research being done to promote exposure to nature as a public health initiative.
Take Care of Your Body
When stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues are keeping you in a fog, you can lose track of the basics like eating, drinking enough water, brushing your teeth, and getting sleep. Stress can reduce your appetite so try to find a snack you can eat even when you don’t feel super hungry. You might like smoothies or meal bars that can pack a lot of nutrition into a small portion.
Make an Emergency Kit
Create a resource for yourself for when you’re having a hard time with stress or mental health issues. This could mean putting together a playlist of music that makes you feel more upbeat, keeping a photo album on your phone of screenshots and images that make you smile, or having a trusted contact you can text or call and know they’ll have your back. It’s also a great idea to have a list of how people can help you cope if you have an anxiety or panic attack and can’t communicate verbally.
See a Pro
A regular check-in with a mental health professional like a therapist or social worker is a great way to keep on top of life’s stressors with someone whose job it is to help you find ways to cope and thrive. Everyday anxieties can be overwhelming and a therapist can help you make sense of things.
Try an App
If you can’t access a mental health professional, some apps available for your smartphone can give you a way to check in with your feelings regularly. Ranging from free to a small fee to download or a monthly subscription, different apps offer different levels of assistance for stress and mental health management. This list from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends several apps.
How to Help Someone Struggling
If someone in your life is struggling with stress and mental health issues, you may not know how to reach out to them. If they’ve previously expressed that it’s okay to check in with them about specific things (asking for reminders to eat meals or take medication, for example), operate within those limits to show that you’re listening to their needs.
It’s also okay to just be there for them. Send them a funny picture to make them smile, invite them over for dinner, or make plans to talk on the phone and catch up. The conversation does not have to be about their mental illness (and probably shouldn’t be) but should serve to underline your friendship and commitment to being there for them.
Remember that it’s not your job to know everything going on with every friend or loved one. You aren’t a therapist (and if you are, you’re not necessarily theirs). Your job is to be a safe place for them to bring a burden and ask for help with it. And it’s okay to recommend that they see a therapist or other professional, you can’t be somebody’s only person they go to for help.
Happy World Mental Health Day
We hope this blog taught you a new trick or two about how to incorporate mental wellness into your self care routine. Don’t forget that houseplants can also boost your mood and wellness, so thank your Max & Miles plants for being there for you when things get rough.