Quick tips for taking care of your mental health

Everyday activities can help you maintain your happiness.

While many of us are thoughtful to not miss an annual physical with our healthcare provider, we often do not think to include taking care of our mental health in the things that we do everyday.

Regular attention to your mental health is just as much a part of maintaining your overall health as with diet choices and exercise routines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those who are experiencing depression are at increased risk of physical problems that can include diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Similarly, the presence of chronic health conditions can increase the risk of mental illness.

So, what are some quick tips to maintain mental health in small ways every day? 

  • Take care of your physical health to improve your mental health. This means being physically active for at least 30 minutes per day, eating a healthy diet and getting adequate sleep.
  • Try relaxing by incorporating an activity such as guided meditation or breathing exercises into your daily routine. Michigan State University Extension has several programs including Stress Less with Mindfulness that you could try.
  • Set goals and prioritize your activities. This means learning to say no to new requests when you are feeling overwhelmed, prioritizing things that must get done over those that are less urgent and being as strategic as possible when making plans.
  • Stay connected to friends and family. Talk to someone who you trust and with whom you can share what you are feeling.
  • Take time to do activities that you enjoy. Make sure to incorporate things that are meaningful to you into your regular routine. Doing things such as reading, walking or playing with a pet are likely to boost your mood.
  • Minimize your use of alcohol or drugs. While these may help you feel better in the short term, regular use of substances can make you feel worse over the long term and are not good overall for your physical health.
  • Take time to connect with what is happening around you right now. By connecting to your five senses (see, hear, smell, touch and taste) you can be aware of the here and now.

Combine these quick tips to maintain your daily happiness and to keep track of your physical health to feel your best in the short and long term.

Michigan State University Extension offers programs and resources that support mental health and well-being, such as Stress Less with Mindfulness, Mental Health First Aid, Managing Farm Stress programs and RELAX: Alternatives to Anger. 

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