This post shows you daily habits that you can implement for stronger mental health.
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When I started college, I started to struggle pretty badly with anxiety. I had a lot of trouble leaving my dorm room or apartment, and I would spend hours re-making schedules to account for each minute of the day.
It was then that I started realizing how detrimental my mental health was becoming. The next day I went to the free counseling service that was offered on my campus. I ended up being prescribed anti-anxiety medication, which has helped me more than I could have ever believed.
Now, I try to implement daily habits to keep my mental health game strong. It's normal to have off days, but I try and prioritize setting myself up for mental health success above all else. In this post, I detail exactly what I implement every day to keep my anxiety at bay and set myself up for a day of success and productivity.
Here are 16 habits that you can integrate for better daily mental health.
Daily Habits for Better Mental Health
Integrating regular exercise into my life was something that took me a long time to commit to. I really believe that it took me so long because my perception of exercise was going to a gym, getting all sweaty, and nervously hope no one would be watching me struggle to exercise. Once I realized that exercise in terms of mental health simply meant to get moving, I picked up yoga and taking regular walks in my neighborhood. These types of exercise are much less stress and anxiety inducing for me, and I am able to really benefit from them.
When you integrate "exercise" into your daily routine, make sure that you choose exercise that you can be excited about. Choose a routine that's achievable for you, too. For some, it might be a 15 minute walk, and for others, it might be a 2 hour HIIT class. Pick what works best for you, and understand that you do not need to integrate a stress and anxiety inducing routine into your daily schedule. In fact, it should be the exact opposite!
Improve Your Posture
When I complete my exercise for the day, I really try and integrate some posture exercises. When I research some ways to achieve better mental health, I always come across this tip. I'm not sure how it helps directly, but it's better for all around health - so reap the benefits! If you're wondering how to integrate some posture exercises into your routine, a quick search online will help you greatly.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
If you're surrounded by people who bring positive mental health, you will feed off of that. While it may feel the safest to stay around the people who you're comfortable with. However, it's important to make sure that these people are uplifting you in a way that benefits your mental health.
Prioritizing sleep is something I still struggle with hard. I feel like I have so much to do everyday, so I will just allow myself to get less sleep in place of completing more work. This is a super unhealthy habit, and one that too many people are guilty of - especially college students. It is absolutely vital for your mental health that you are able to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night! On top of that, you need to keep your sleep schedule the same - meaning, you need to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day - even the weekends!
Eat 3 Meals Per Day - Plus Snacks!
Eating around the same time and healthy meals should be prioritized above other things during your day. Eating breakfast when I woke up and then lunch about halfway through my day was super difficult for me. Now, I make sure that I have breakfast and lunch foods that I can look forward to.
I am so guilty of this. I try and watch TV when I do like anything around my house. For your mental health, this gets really overwhelming. Try and focus on one task at a time, especially when you're completing something that's mentally engaging. A great tool that I use is to set a timer on my phone, and just focusing on that one task throughout that time period helps a lot. I also notice that I get so much more done when I commit to something for a set period of time.
Set Achievable Goals
When you plan out what you're going to do for the day, set achievable goals. If you're looking at your to do list and realizing that there's no way that you'll be able to finish everything, spread tasks that can wait over a few days to give yourself ample time. During this process, also try and recognize if you're spreading yourself to thin, and adjusting if necessary.
Meditation has been life changing for me. I use Headspace, and they have tons of meditations for really anything that you life brings. Most importantly, meditation has helped me understand when I am overthinking, and being able to let go of those thoughts and refocus on something more healthy.
If you start meditation, please try and stick with it for a period of time. I've been meditating everyday for a few months now, and I'm just beginning to be able to control my thoughts much more.
Be Comfortable Being Assertive
Believe it or not, there is a big difference between being assertive, or being a total dick. Being assertive is making sure that you are comfortable in your spaces, and you are able to control the events in your spaces. For example, you can express to someone that you are uncomfortable with the events that are happening without being a dick. Being assertive is really important to making sure that you are always in a safe and enriching environment. Practicing healthy assertiveness every day is a great way to integrate an easy daily habit for better mental health.
Set a Schedule, and Stick to It!
Every morning, try and set a schedule for yourself. This can be a s simple as a to-do list, or as structured as time-blocking out your entire day. Whichever that you chose, make sure that you are creating your schedule with the best mental health practices in place. For example, when I create my (time blocking) schedule, I will make sure that my wakeup time and bedtime is set to optimize sleep, I'm eating 3 meals a day, and I am getting at least half an hour of exercise.
Then, as you fill in the rest of your schedule, make sure that you are setting achievable goals for yourself and you're allowing yourself time for breaks and ample time to complete each of the tasks that you have set.
Avoid Overuse of Substances
This mental health tip is simple enough - don't abuse substances! Of course, it's okay to indulge, but when substances become a daily habit, it can be detrimental to mental health.
Setup a Morning Routine for Success
After you've received your 7-9 hours of sleep, follow a morning routine for success. Then, try to follow this enriching routine every day. For example, you could eat a really good breakfast, read, meditate, and engage in some exercise.
Setup a Night Routine for Success
Just like an enriching morning routine, set an enriching night routine that will allow you to get the best sleep possible. For my night time routine, I really like to meditate, stay off of screens for at least half an hour before my set bedtime, and read. This really helps me wind down from the day and relax.
Take Breaks Outside
Taking breaks throughout the day is so so so important for your mental health. If you have the opportunity and environment to, take a few of your breaks outside. Go for a walk around the block, or spend time standing outside on a porch or deck. What I like to do during my breaks outside is focus on my five senses - what can I see, smell, taste, hear, and feel. This really gets me out of my head and I'm able to really mentally take a break from what's going on.
Limit Social Media Exposure
It is no secret that social media is detrimental to mental health. A great way to limit your exposure is to set your "screen time" settings on your phone for half an hour a day at the max. On top of this, you can go through who you're following and make sure that all of it is beneficial for your mental health. I also like to follow mental health accounts to get some great tips while I do expose myself to social media.
Take Up a Healthy Hobby
It's so important to spend time for yourself and on stuff that you enjoy - every day! A great way to implement this daily habit for better mental health is to pick up a hobby that you enjoy, but that is also enriching for your mental health. For example, I really enjoy doing puzzles and reading books.
This post showed you 16 great habits to integrate into your daily schedule for better mental health.
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