4 Ways to Address Your Mental Health Needs When Life Won’t Quit
It’s all too easy for your mental health to take a backseat when life gets hectic. Juggling work, family, and social obligations can overwhelm and emotionally drain you. However, it is important to remember that caring for your mental health is just as essential as tending to your physical health. Here are some tips for getting your mental health back on track when you can’t slow life’s train.
1. Take Advantage of Professional Help
Professional help is crucial whenever life becomes too much to tackle in a healthy way. The first step is acknowledging that you need professional support. This realization will require you to listen to your thoughts and emotions. Feelings of anxiety or depression, mood swings, and stress that interfere with your daily life are indicators that it’s time to seek assistance.
Depending on the situation, you may need to visit a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health specialist. You should research their qualifications and expertise areas and read patient reviews. A primary care provider is an excellent place to start if you need a recommendation. Consider whether you want to take advantage of mainly in-person or virtual appointments.
Your treatment options will vary based on your symptoms, medical history, and long-term goals. For example, you may just need a safe space to talk about your feelings and thus decide to attend therapy once a week. In some cases, you will need a psychiatrist to write a prescription for medication. More intensive treatment like rehab for depression can be handled on an outpatient basis so you can still tend to your day-to-day responsibilities.
2. Be Firm With Your Boundaries
Setting and maintaining boundaries is foundational for adequately navigating the complexities and demands of life. Boundaries are the limits you set to protect your time, energy, and emotional well-being. Maintaining a healthy balance between managing your needs and accommodating the needs of others takes practice. The benefits of protecting your peace include reduced stress, enhanced energy, improved relationships, enhanced self-respect, and burnout avoided.
Start by reflecting on your needs, priorities, and values. Then use that self-awareness to understand what you will and will not accept in various situations. You’ll also need to learn how to recognize when you feel stressed, drained, and overwhelmed with life to know when a boundary is necessary.
In addition, learning to clearly and assertively communicate your boundaries is essential to healthy relationships. When expressing yourself, be sure to use “I” statements so you don’t accidentally come across as blaming or accusatory. One of the hardest parts of setting boundaries is learning to say no, especially if you have a history of people-pleasing. Remember that declining requests and speaking up when something is out of alignment with your life is OK.
Once you establish your boundaries, it is crucial to be consistent. This consistency gives you and others a better understanding of your limits. For instance, if your boundary is not staying out late on weeknights, your friends will keep that in mind when making plans with you.
3. Incorporate Self-Care Into Your Routine
Incorporating self-care into your daily routines is a proactive approach to reducing stress, improving your mood, and building healthy coping strategies. Self-care can be any activity or action that supports your emotional and physical well-being. Caring for yourself could involve engaging in hobbies you love, hanging with friends who fill you up, and slowing down when needed. Self-care could also mean not overextending yourself with too many commitments and, as noted above, setting boundaries when necessary.
Finding even the smallest ways to incorporate moments of self-care into your routine can make a big difference in your overall mental well-being. These tiny moments could include taking a short walk after dinner, cuddling with a pet, or reading a good book. Remember that prioritizing self-care is not selfish but essential for loving and caring for yourself.
4. Take Care of Your Body
One of the greatest things you can do for your mind is to properly care for your body. This care includes eating a proper diet, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. When it comes to food, ensure you’re eating a variety of nutritious foods like organic fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. These nutrients are foundational for brain health and mood management.
Regular exercise is one of the best methods for boosting your mental health. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Deep, quality sleep is fundamental to emotional well-being, so aim for the recommended amount each night and maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
Limiting harmful substances is another way to honor your body and mind. Alcohol and drugs can exacerbate some mental health issues, which leaves you feeling worse and could create a cycle of dependency. Smoking can likewise worsen psychological and physical health, so seek support if you need to quit.
Getting Back on Track
The chaos of life can be hard to tame, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your mental well-being. Incorporating these practices into your everyday life allows you to find the resilience and strength to keep moving forward. This personal growth can also allow you to become more productive and present in everyday life. Remember that caring for your mental health is a necessity, not a luxury.