Between building your own business, keeping your life in order, being social, staying fit, and holding it all together, it can be super difficult to find time to take care of your mental health. That being said, making your mental health a priority is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
Creating healthy habits to boost your mental health can lead to increased productivity, concentration, and positive emotions. Especially when so many of us operate at such high levels, it’s important to take time to keep your mental health in check. So without further ado, here are 11 healthy habits to help boost your mental health!
1. Make sleep a priority
This is my number one tip for a reason: sleep is perhaps the best thing you can do for your mental health. Sleep helps to repair both your physical and mental systems, so without a proper night’s sleep, your mental health is bound to suffer. When you can, give yourself an extra hour or two of sleep to help your body and mind. If there’s one healthy habit for your mental health to adopt, this is the one!
2. Cultivate your gratitudes & affirmations
One of the most powerful things I’ve done to boost my self-confidence is to write daily gratitudes and affirmations. It goes like this: Each morning, write 3 things you are grateful for that day, followed by three positive affirmations about yourself. Once you’re done writing, read each statement out loud to yourself. Before doing daily gratitudes and affirmations I thought they were a crock of s**t, but after doing them for a week straight I started to notice an increased confidence in myself that came directly from within. It’s pretty powerful.
3. Spend face-to-face time with friends and family
It’s so easy to neglect in-person contact when so much of our lives are online. Most of us are likely connected to more people than ever before. And yet as a society, we’re all pretty lonely. So to combat that loneliness, make at least 2 face-to-face plans every week with friends or family. It’s amazing what being in the same physical space as loved ones can do for your psyche.
4. Incorporate physical activity into your mornings
For almost my entire life, I have hated mornings. I just don’t understand how someone can be a morning person. But after staying with my bff Ambitious Kitchen over the years and seeing how much she loves her morning workouts, I started to push myself to do them on my own. And holy cow, it has made a huge difference in my mental health. Morning workouts help to boost your endorphins first thing, and in my experience help immensely in regulating my energy level throughout the day.
5. Spend time outside
Taking a walk in the woods, sitting on your back stoop, or walking to work are all great ways to improve your mental state. Since getting Tilly I’ve made it a habit to walk in the woods at least once a week when it’s nice out, unplugged from technology and stressors. It’s a nearly spiritual experience to be surrounded by nature, and can be so helpful in clearing your head and centering yourself.
6. Stop comparing yourself to others
Things I wish my 20 year old self knew: nothing good comes from comparing yourself to others. You’ll just end up feeling you’ll never be good enough, and will only increase your self-doubt. There is this super angsty teen quote that does a really good job at explaining why comparing yourself to others just doesn’t work: “the reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” Instead of focusing on the highs of others’ lives, focus on your accomplishments, reminding yourself of all the successes in your own life.
7. Practice self-care
So many of us spend so much time on caring for others, and yet we neglect caring for ourselves. Why? We need love, too! Incorporating even 10 minutes a day to self-care, whether that be taking a bath, treating yourself to your favorite dessert, or doing a face mask, can make a huge difference in your self-worth.
8. Write lists when you feel overwhelmed
When I’m feeling overwhelmed by things I have to do, I turn to lists. Lists help to turn things into more easily digestible tasks, and can de-clutter otherwise overwhelming thoughts inside your head. Plus, it can feel SO satisfying to cross off things you’ve completed!
9. Create boundaries
Think back to when you were were a kid and there was a set bedtime, amount of screen time, or time devoted to homework. Even though you make the rules now, setting boundaries for yourself on what you do and don’t do helps to create balance and ensures you’re giving your mind a much needed break. Some boundaries that help me are having a set bed time, putting away my phone after 10 pm, not checking emails after 8pm, and making sure I set aside an hour for me everyday, whether that be working out or vegging on the couch and watching TV.
10. Clean your home space
Marie Kondo has got the right idea: having a tidy space can completely alter your mental state. Your home, after all, is an extension of yourself. It’s your safe space and where you likely spend the majority of your time. So if your home is cluttered, your mind is going to feel cluttered, as well. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I go on a cleaning spree. It helps me to zen out, feel accomplished, and de-stress. And afterwards, my mind feels a whole lot quieter.
11. Journal your frustrations
I’m not a devout journaler by any means, but I do find that putting pen to paper can really help me work through my thoughts. If you’re feeling sad, frustrated, or mad about something and can’t seem to get out of your head, try writing it out. When you take those thoughts and release them on paper and out of your brain it can be incredibly cathartic and help to put things in perspective.