Since 2020, many people have experienced the emotional pressure that the pandemic has brought. Alongside the threat of infection, millions of Americans also had to keep their mental health in check. According to a report that’s published on the Kaiser Family Foundation, at least 4 in 10 American adults have experienced a depressive disorder or substance abuse due to the pandemic.
While life is slowly returning to normal and health restrictions are gradually easing up, people still need to know how they can keep their mental health in check.
Practicing self-care remains important regardless of your age and occupation. To secure your mental health in these uncertain times, consider these essential self-care tips:
1. Stay active
Exercise remains to be an effective way to reduce the onset of depression. According to a Harvard Medical School article, exercise is an all-natural way to produce endorphins. These feel-good hormones reduce emotional pain and provide a greater sense of well-being. In addition, exercise can also improve the production of nerve cell connections which are critical to preventing the onset of depression. With that being said, try to allocate some time to do light exercise in the morning. Stretching or jogging around the neighborhood should give you a lighter feeling and a much-needed respite from the stresses of daily life.
2. Get enough sleep
Apart from doing physical activities, you will also need to get as much sleep in a day. There’s only so much that your mind can process, so it’s important to give it a well-deserved rest. After all, your body repairs itself while you are sleeping. But it goes beyond that. In an article on Psychology Today, sleep can also bolster your response to stressful situations and improve your focus, creativity, and productivity. For this reason, you may have to avoid going on all-nighters or drinking too much coffee or alcoholic beverages during the day so you could get a full seven to nine hours of sleep. Then again, if you are having trouble falling asleep, look for a therapist who can identify the underlying cause of your sleeping problems.
3. Eat right
The food you eat has a significant effect on your mental health. Nerve cells need the right kind of nutrition in order to perform well. Refined sugar and caffeine are known to cause anxiety and intense depression that often follows a period of elevated mood. It’s not to say that you should avoid coffee and sugary treats, but you need to balance out your diet by incorporating a healthy mental diet that consists of Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B12. Consider looking up online recipes for meals that can boost your brain health.
4. Build a solid support system
In these difficult circumstances, you shouldn’t handle everything on your own. You will need to build a support system consisting of family members and friends who can provide advice and a listening ear. There is no shame in asking for help. In fact, according to the University of Michigan’s Eisenberg Family Depression Center, a support system increases mental activity and provides a sense of belongingness. In addition, you also get to solve problems and issues that are weighing down on you.
In any case, you are never alone on the road to better mental health. If you have had trouble in responding to the difficult situations you are facing right now, give us a call at MidCities Psychiatry today and see why we’re your best partners for securing your mental health in Grapevine, TX.