Your mind, like the body, requires continual upkeep and care. Unfortunately, most people overlook their mental health. They instead focus much of their healthy lifestyle efforts on tending to the physical including dieting and exercising. Yet what isn’t understood is that eating clean foods and having a strict workout routine aren’t the only factors that play a role in your overall well-being. Failure to take care of your mind can result in a host of mental and physical problems down the line. Its important to consider how your lifestyle choices affect your mental health.
When you’re not mentally healthy, it can impact your life in many ways. Your ability to enjoy life, express emotions, develop healthy relationships, succeed personally or professionally are affected. More importantly, the ability to bounce back when times are rough. Chalking these things up to “facts of life” or “common stress” can work at first, but when unresolved, it can also cause everything from body aches and high blood pressure to addiction, diabetes, and even death. If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms of mental health problems, including the use of drugs and alcohol to “numb the pain”, you should seek help through an inpatient or outpatient treatment program for mental health and addiction.
Identifying Poor Choices and Habits
The first step, then, in taking care of your mental health, is to identify lifestyle choices or habits you may be making or doing that could be a negative impact. Here’s a list of some of the most common:
Your self-esteem is a measure or summary of how you feel about yourself, your abilities, and sense of worth. If you think pessimistically, or constantly seek validation from others, this can negatively impact your mental health.
If you struggle with low self-esteem, you should try to change things around by learning to love yourself. Spend time with yourself exploring things you love about yourself and even considering ways to improve things you’re not confident about. Surround yourself with supportive people, and if necessary, seek counseling.
It’s no secret that you won’t enjoy doing everything you’re required to do in life. Sometimes, you may even feel an urge to put it off and deal with it later. A chronic procrastinator, on the other hand, creates serious issues for themselves. The constant fear or anxiety of approaching a task or problem results in them avoiding things altogether. This makes the matter worse in that it overloads the procrastinator with things to be done – now, in a short amount of time.
If procrastinating is starting to get you in more trouble than you’d anticipated then there are ways to stop it. Start by breaking larger tasks into smaller ones. You might also consider removing distractions, getting accountability partners, and perhaps rewarding yourself for getting over hurdles.
No “Me Time”
Individuals who lead hectic lifestyles often forget the importance of spending time alone. Sometimes your life revolves around the needs of others like your spouse or children. This can cause anxiety, depression, stress, and burnout.
You love your family and friends and doing things for them is nothing to be ashamed of (or something you have to stop altogether). However, if you have no identity outside of those you care about, this can create a problem. Start making more time for you. Whether you wake up ten minutes earlier than everyone else and meditate or you sit in a park during your lunch break at work, you need time to be with and appreciate yourself.
The internet and modern technology has made a lot of things easier for the average person. You can do just about anything with a mobile device. If your entire life is “digital”, you may be subject to serious mental health problems. Devices themselves are deemed as overstimulating. However, the type of content like social media can be just as damaging. It presents a false sense of reality which can often lead to comparisons in your own life and later depression.
Even for those millennials that use their devices for work and everyday routines, taking a break from the digital world is a must. Whether you unplug for an hour each day or pick one day a week to get away from it all, find ways to engage in “reality” without going digital.
Balancing the Inside and Out
Being healthy inside and out isn’t all about dieting and exercising (though they are a major part). It’s also about finding balance in the lifestyle you lead and the decisions you make. If you’re dealing with mental health issues, or simply haven’t felt yourself lately, perhaps you need to take a look at your lifestyle and the choices you’ve made. If you’re guilty of any of the above, making the changes recommended can make a huge difference in your overall health and quality of life.