Ahead of World Mental Health Day tomorrow, it feels like the perfect time to talk about the importance of mental health—and after all that has happened this year, it’s probably safe to assume that most of us desperately need a reason to have a conversation about it. Let’s face it—2020 has been really hard. For some, the struggle has involved navigating feelings of deep-rooted fear, frustration and even anxiety. For others, they’re coming to terms with the reality brought on by loss—loss of people they loved, jobs they loved, and even the normalcy of life pre-COVID.
While boundaries with social media and the news are important, they aren’t necessarily solutions to the underlying mental and emotional struggles that we’re all—in some capacity—attempting to deal with through this season. Denial and escapism only offer immediate fixes to much bigger problems. So, what can we do to ensure that we’re looking after our personal wellbeing for the long-term? Here are three ways to improve your mental health:
Prioritize sleep and exercise.
I know, this is way easier said than done—our responsibilities often get in the way of our ability to get a good workout in or get to bed at a decent time. But that doesn’t make them any less important. Being well-rested is an important part of ensuring that you show up as your best self every day—and with the clearest mind possible. And exercise has a number of benefits that not only help you to maintain your physical health, but your emotional and mental wellbeing too.
Practice gratitude often.
If we feel consumed or overwhelmed by bad news, chances are that’s all our minds will focus on. And while we can’t shy away from confronting it, we can find balance between giving just as much energy and attention to the good news, as we do the bad news. Set time aside each day to recognize what you’re thankful for. Your gratitude doesn’t only have to be reserved for the big, life-changing things. It can be as simple as being grateful for your home, your health, your freedom, or even the gift of waking up in the morning.
Take it one day at a time.
If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t predict what the future holds for us. While we might fall into the trap of expectations, or get lost daydreaming about a future event, the reality is that we can only control what we can control. All we have is the present. So, don’t let your fear of the unknown keep you from what you were made for. Treat today as a gift, and trust that the rest will fall into place.