As the quarantined spring turns into summer, the health of our minds – cooped up and buried in thoughts – should be of most importance. For many, mental health represents the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.
However, the World Health Organization defines it as “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
On the brink of returning to a new normal after the initial impact of the coronavirus, there are some easy ways we can look after our mental health – practices that will create healthy habits and produce a strong mind. Here are three!
Stay active. The Mayo Clinic reported that exercise releases ‘feel-good’ endorphins, as well as natural cannabis-like brain chemicals and other natural brain chemicals that work to enhance your sense of well-being. Time exercising gives you an opportunity to escape for twenty minutes, as you focus on the task at hand. In addition, the simple act of deciding to go on a nightly walk or morning swim contributes to your productivity.
Maintain a healthy diet. When you look at the effects some things we eat have on how we feel – think caffeine and sugar – it is apparent that our diet directly affects our mental health, both immediately and long-term. While it is not always necessary to follow strict dietary guidelines when pursuing a healthier mental lifestyle, the old trope of a ‘balanced diet’ still rings true. A healthy balanced diet consists of a mix of nutrients, such as fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and plenty of water daily.
Make an effort to spend time doing things you love. The quickest way to dig a rabbit hole of low self-esteem or frustration is by spending the entirety of your time doing things you don’t enjoy. Indulging in a favorite book during lunch or baking a new recipe for banana bread will provide the opportunity to achieve something that boosts your self-esteem.
For more practical ways to care for your mental health, consult the Mental Health Foundation’s list.