The World Happiness Report for 2021 showed that the pandemic contributed to the 47% increase in mental health issues. While we, unfortunately, can’t control the global pandemic, we can minimize other negative factors that can contribute to our deteriorating mental wellbeing.
For instance, ExpressVPN’s study showed that 83% of Gen Z respondents feel more anxious due to a social media exposure, while 79% admitted feeling depressed.
Limiting our time on social media and proactively adopting healthier daily routines is an excellent first step.
If you’re seeking advice on how to improve your mental wellbeing, here are some suggestions that you can easily tailor to your preferences and make them a habit.
1. Stay active
Regular exercise can increase the release of your “happy hormones” and instantly put you in a good mood. However, if your New Year’s resolutions tend to fail faster than it takes to pronounce “treadmill,” consider setting more reasonable goals. Don’t aspire to become a gym buff overnight if you’ve never liked exercising. Setting unreasonable goals makes it easier to fail, and you’ll end up feeling even worse. Thus, choose the physical activity you genuinely enjoy. It doesn’t have to be anything too challenging, but it’s important to keep it a part of your daily routine. You can choose to walk or bike a few times a week to start. After you make a habit out of it, challenge yourself and increase the frequency and intensity of your exercise.
2. Keep in touch with your loved ones
Maintaining healthy relationships during the pandemic can be a true challenge, but it’s also vital for our wellbeing. According to a study, the lack of face-to-face contact can double the risk of getting depressed. Therefore, ask your friend or family member for a walk, or visit your grandparents every once in a while. If you’re stuck in quarantine, communicate with your loved ones via video call since it’s more direct and personal than calling someone or sending a text. You can even try organizing virtual movie nights, cooking parties, karaoke nights, or quizzes – the possibilities are endless.
3. Incorporate relaxation practices into your daily routine
Taking a few minutes every day to relax and focus on yourself can have multiple benefits. Aside from reducing stress, it can help with your mental wellbeing and better understand your emotions. For instance, some people feel relaxed after a yoga class or a meditation session, while others like journaling or coloring. Choose relaxing activities you enjoy and make them a part of your daily routine. If you’re not a morning person, starting a day with something soothing may increase your motivation and focus later in the day. On the other hand, if you have trouble falling asleep, a relaxing nighttime routine may work wonders.
4. Eat healthily
Even though a cinnamon bun may spike your happiness in a second, you will probably feel sluggish and low immediately after. The food we eat doesn’t affect only our physical health; it’s proven to have a significant effect on our mental wellbeing as well. While refined carbohydrates are a nice way to treat yourself every once in a while, overconsumption can affect your blood sugar levels and contribute to mood changes, fatigue, and depression. If you want to boost your mood and improve your mental health, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as food rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, seeds, and nuts.
5. Ask for professional help
There isn’t a universal solution for mental health issues. Every person is fighting their own battles, and sometimes seeking professional help tends to be the best option. It takes a lot of courage to reach out for help, and don’t blame yourself if this process takes more time than you anticipated.. If you’re not ready to talk to a therapist face-to-face, try online therapy apps like Talkspace, where you can speak to one of their licensed therapists without stepping into their office.
We tend to overlook the importance of taking proper care of our mental health, or taking preventive measures to stay healthy. Thus, try to incorporate our tips into your lifestyle, and remember that a positive change is always a marathon, not a sprint.