Though restrictions are lifting and there is more and more opportunity to engage in social connections at work, school, and community centers, not all mental health struggles have abated.
Mental health issues are complex. Getting help from professionals is a critical part of the journey toward wellness. But there are steps that you can take to bring more balance, wellness, and joy into your life.
In this article, we will explore the best 8 steps anyone can take to support their mental health. By the end of the article, you will have your own “checklist” to refer to anytime you are feeling burdened by worries or are simply having a tough day.
Whether it is an exercise buddy, someone to tell jokes and laugh with, or the person you confide in your innermost thoughts, friendship is one of the most significant components of maintaining good mental health.
Be in nature
The fancy term used these days for being in nature is “forest bathing.” But you need not pay hundreds of dollars for a retreat to walk in the woods (by the sea. through a field, or in a city park).
Having a relaxation practice can help manage stress. Techniques for relaxation not only improve mental health but also change the body’s physiology. Some advantages include:
Slowing heart rate
Lowering blood pressure
Slowing breathing rate
Controlling blood sugar levels
Reducing the activity of stress hormones
Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
Notice, we did not say you need to practice meditation. Sitting on a special pillow, lighting incense, and chanting is a wonderful (and effective) relaxation tool. But it is not the only method that can be used.
Try yoga, lying down with an eye pillow over your eyes, journaling, floating in the pool, or mindful walking.
Doing volunteer work can be done weekly, monthly, or even annually. Young people, families, and seniors can get involved. Some places in your community that might need help are:
Senior care centers
Community arts center
Engage in a hobby
During the peak periods of Covid, many people had more time on their hands at home. Turning to new hobbies was a great way of “making lemonade from lemons.” Whether it was bread baking, watercolor painting, puppy training, or woodworking, people discovered gratification in trying something new.
Reduced risk of illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Reduced risk for mental disorders, such as depression
Better brain health
Overall happier and healthier lifestyle
Where to get involved in group activities
There is a wide range of group activities available in most areas. Look to hobby groups, political organizations, volunteer organizations, team sports, or social clubs.
The most important consideration is to choose an activity that you love and to be engaged with it as regularly and consistently as possible.
Mental health affects everyone. Learning to take care of ourselves as we navigate life’s challenges is a daily practice.
Now that you’ve read this article, you will hopefully have a few more “tools” in your “toolbox.” Remember, you don’t have to do all the steps every day. Try one or a few steps throughout the week to help support your mood and overall wellbeing.
At Paseo Club, we have members that have been with us for more than a decade because they love our fitness options, but even more so, they love the sense of community they find here.
If you are in the Santa Clarita Valley and want to enhance your connection with others, come take a tour of Paseo Club to see if we are a good fit for you.