10 Things You Can Do for Your Mental Health

Try these tips to keep your balance or to re-balance yourself.


1. Value yourself

Treat yourself with kindness and respect -- and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and favorite projects, or broaden your horizons and do something new. Do a daily crossword puzzle, plant a garden, take dance lessons, learn to play an instrument or become fluent in another language.


2. Care for your body

Taking care of yourself physically can improve your mental health.

· Eat nutritious meals

· Avoid cigarettes – see Tobacco Cessation Help

· Drink plenty of water

· Exercise, which helps decrease depression and anxiety and improve moods

· Get enough sleep. Researchers believe that lack of sleep contributes to a high rate of depression in college students. See Sleep


3. Surround yourself with good people

People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network. Spend time with supportive family members and friends, or seek out activities where you can meet new people, such as a club, class, or support group.


4. Give of yourself

Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. You'll feel good about doing something tangible to help someone in need — and it's a great way to meet new people.


5. Learn how to deal with stress

Stress is a part of life, but you can keep in under control.  Try One-Minute Stress Strategies, practice yoga, exercise, take a nature walk, play with your pet, or put feelings to paper in a journal.


And look for joy around you. Research shows that laughter can boost your immune system, ease pain, relax your body and reduce stress.


6. Quiet your mind

Try meditating (there’s a class tomorrow and Thursday and a Recharging Station you can use anytime), Mindfulness, or prayer. Relaxation exercises and prayer can improve your state of mind and outlook on life. In fact, research shows that meditation may help you feel calm and enhance the effects of therapy.


7. Set realistic goals

Decide what you want to achieve professionally and personally, and write down the steps you need to realize your goals.


8. Break up the monotony

Although our routines make us more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, a little change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule. Alter your jogging route, plan a road-trip, take a walk in a different park, hang some new pictures or try a new restaurant. See Rejuvenation 101 for more ideas.


9. Avoid alcohol and other drugs:

Keep alcohol use to a minimum and avoid other drugs. Sometimes people use alcohol and other drugs to "self-medicate" but in reality, alcohol and other drugs only aggravate problems.


10. Get help when you need it:

Seeking help is a sign of strength — not a weakness. And it is important to remember that treatment is effective. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and addiction and lead full, rewarding lives.


*Adapted from the National Mental Health Association/National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

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