5 Habits to Support Mental Health
Heading into the holidays, it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of planning, shopping, hosting and entertaining. With all of that added pressure on top of our already-busy lives, it’s not uncommon to put self-care and personal needs on the backburner. In honor of World Mental Health Day, we’re sharing some of our favorite habits to ensure our mental health stays in top shape even during the busiest of holiday seasons, allowing us to celebrate with loved ones while maintaining a happy and healthy balance.
1. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation, especially if it happens on the regular, trickles down into every facet of our lives. From impacting our ability to take in and remember information to making it hard to give 100% at work, we’ve all heard the correlations between sleep and performance. In addition, according to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation can have huge consequences when it comes to depression and anxiety as well. If you’re feeling low, take stock of how many hours of shut-eye you’re clocking a night, and if it doesn’t fall in the healthy 7-9 hour range, consider re-prioritizing commitments — and if time isn’t the issue (sometimes it feels like our brains just won’t shut off!) there are plenty of supplements on the market to help you achieve sweet-dreams status.
2. Hit the gym.
During the fall and winter months Netflix binge sessions, pumpkin spice candles and plush, fuzzy blankets tend to beckon us home and keep us there. And while we’re all about a cozy night in, it’s also important to prioritize time to get your body moving! Not only is it empowering to feel strong and confident in your body’s abilities, but as forever-icon Elle Woods once said, endorphins make you happy — so it makes sense that they can play a significant role in combatting the blues.
3. Express gratitude.
When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to forget to reflect on all the great things you have going. We recommend blocking out time in the morning or evening for a 1:1 with your gratitude journal. Take stock of all your wins, everything exciting you have on the horizon, and the people you’re grateful to have in your life. In addition to serving as an in-the-moment reminder, you’ll also create pages filled with happy moments to flip through the next time you’re struggling.
4. Get outside!
Remember how during those first few weeks of summer, being back outside with the sun on your skin, you just seem happier? Well, that mood boost isn’t exclusively reserved for warmer months. Research suggests that being outdoors, especially in green areas with ample foliage, improves both self-esteem and mood. So grab your jacket and brave the dropping temperatures for a walk through the park or a hike — your mind will thank you!
5. Eat and drink intuitively.
As Thanksgiving and Christmas draw nearer, you know we’re going to be indulging in our fair share of pie and mashed potatoes. But when it comes to mental health, it’s also crucial to pay attention to what you’re consuming and how it’s affecting the way you feel. For instance, it can be hard to say no to that second (or third) coffee — but if you’ve also been feeling anxious or on-edge, it may be time to dial back the caffeine intake a bit. Likewise, if brain fog is getting in the way of your day-to-day, consider reducing your refined sugar consumption.