Are you struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression? You’re not alone. About 1 in 5 Americans live with mental illness. The COVID-19 pandemic and other recent distressing global and national events have also increased mental health symptoms across the board. Studies have found that more than 40% of U.S. adults reported symptoms of anxiety and depression during the pandemic, while 13% reported increased substance use.
While it is important to talk to a mental health professional to uncover the root causes of any disorder and to manage serious symptoms, there are many at-home remedies that can provide some relief. Read on to discover 10 easy tips for improving your mental health.
- Take Time Off. If you feel overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, or other mental health issues, make sure to take time off just for yourself. This will help you recharge and refocus.
- Exercise Regularly. Physical activity has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. It also helps people sleep better at night. Try to exercise regularly, even if it’s just walking for 30 minutes every day.
- Regulate Your Nervous System. If you’re feeling stressed out, try taking a few minutes each morning to relax. This might mean listening to music, reading a book, or meditating. Try to find ways to unwind during the day too.
- Limit Caffeine and Sugar. A diet high in sugar, caffeine, and processed foods can aggravate mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
- Get Plenty of Sleep. Sleep helps regulate hormones and gives the body a chance to relax and replenish itself. Getting plenty of sleep is one of the best ways to restore mood and decrease physical symptoms of mental health.
- Be Kind to Yourself. Empathy and self compassion can be extremely helpful when responding to symptoms of mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. They can help calm the body and mind, instead of creating a vicious cycle of judgment and punishment.
- Journal. Journaling is a way to express your thoughts and feelings and can be extremely cathartic if you are feeling distressed or not yourself. It can also help you uncover some of the causes and triggers for your mental health symptoms.
- Be social. When struggling with mental illness, it is not always appealing to spend time with others, but research has found that relationships and social support are essential for maintaining mental health.
- Try something new. By breaking out of your normal routine, you can create new neural pathways in the brain that may help you get out of a mental or emotional rut. You may also find that this boosts your creativity, passion, or confidence.
- Complete the stress cycle. If we become stressed and that stress has no way to leave our bodies, it may linger and fester. Try methods for “completing” the stress cycle such as movement, deep breathing, laughing or crying.