You can become your own mental health supporter by taking steps towards a healthy lifestyle. In conjunction with your treatment options, incorporating healthy lifestyle changes into day-to-day life can help you form positive relationships and better manage and cope with life’s challenges.
Healthy lifestyle activities for mental wellbeing
1. Exercise regularly
Along with weight management and physical health, exercise offers protective benefits to your mental health. A study by the National Institute of Health found that aerobic exercises reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Aerobic activities include:
Be sure to get in 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3 times a week.
2. Enjoy a healthy diet
Less nutritious foods such as processed foods, fast food, and sweets can all undermine mental health. The Mental Health Foundation recommend eating a balanced and varied diet that includes:
- breads and cereals, mostly wholegrain
- nuts and seeds
- beans and lentils
- lean meats, including fish
A nutritious diet can reduce mood swings and increase energy levels. Omega-3 found in fish and Omega-6 fatty acids found in seeds and nuts have also been proven to boost brain power and reduce mood swings.
3. Get enough quality sleep
The Australian Sleep Health Foundation recommend adults get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. A regular sleep cycle is created by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day. Good sleep habits can lead to mental health improvements, making it easier to recover after illness and facing challenges less daunting.
4. Spend time with loved ones and build positive relationships
Friendship can make a big difference when it comes to mental health. Connection gives us a sense of belonging and purpose. We can connect in many ways, such as planning a weekly outing with a friend, or engaging with the wider community through volunteer work.
5. Make time to relax
Relaxation has been proven to assist with mental health. Daily meditation, deep breathing, or mindfulness can help us better manage emotions.
5. Quit smoking
Approximately 50% of people with a mental illness are also smokers. The toxins in cigarettes have been found to contribute to mood problems. In addition, the physical health problems caused by smoking, such as heart disease and lung disease, can lead to mood problems and mental health challenges.
Quitting smoking can be a big challenge and may create a temporary downturn in mental health. Keep in mind that quitting has many benefits to mental health – these benefits can be felt after just a few weeks.
Mental illness is real and it is important to seek assistance for treatment options available which best suit you. In conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, your treatment options will work more effectively and you will see more rapid change.