Mental Health: What is it? How do you take care of it?
You probably hear it everywhere nowadays: "take care of your mental health." It seems like all of a sudden your mental health is all anyone can talk about. But what does it really mean to take care of your mental health? It's not as if high school health class taught us how to be mentally healthy like they did with how we should stay physically active. Here are a few tips to stay mentally healthy and care of yourself, especially when you're swamped with work.
1. Drink Water
This might seem like a no-brainer; however, it's important you constantly stay hydrated. Your mental and physical health are tied, which means the more water you drink and the more hydrated you are, you're more likely to get work done efficiently and lessen the amount of stress you experience.
I keep a reusable water bottle with me (15 oz) everywhere I go. Before I get out of bed, I drink a full bottle of water; during each class I drink another bottle, and I make sure that I drink a glass of water before every meal. This forces you to stay hydrated in case you're a busy bee and forget to drink water, which is something I struggle with constantly!
Pro tip: if you fill your water bottle as soon as you finish it, no matter where you are, you'll be able to consistently drink water!
2. Sleep More
It might seem like another tip that you hear everywhere, but trust me, it works! If you sleep at least 8 hours a day, you'll be refreshed in the morning and ready to be productive in the day, lessening your stressors and lowering your chances of environment-induced anxiety.
3. Drink Less Caffeine
I know. This is hard. I, myself, am a coffee lover. And when I say lover, I mean lover. I am a fan of all types of coffee- black coffee, lattes, americanos. You name it, I drink it. But the increased heart rate means an increased chance of caffeine-induced anxiety. This isn't a fun experience! And for those who think this isn't a real thing, trust me, it's real. Maybe switch from coffee to teas. There isn't as much caffeine in teas, so you get that morning or late afternoon kick you need without such a high chance of anxiety.
4. Say No
You might be wondering what I mean by this. Have you ever been in a situation where your friends all want to go out and get dinner or grab drinks? Maybe your friends want to go to a party, which means you have to go out after a long day at work. Yes, going out with friends and experiencing something more than work and school is essential to a full life; however, you don't have to go out every night or even most nights to experience it all.
You shouldn't have to go out every night to experience it all.
It's OK to say no to experiences if it means you get a chance to reboot your system. You need rest from social interactions if you want to continue living and thriving.
5. Forgive Yourself
There are going to be days you might need time to yourself. There are going to be days where you can't do the best you think you are capable of. I've been in situations where I've had to let go of my expectations and adjust to what I am capable of doing in the now. Don't focus so hard on the could be and remind yourself what you know you can do.
There is so much that goes into being mentally healthy. But these five steps can make it easier for you and for anyone who you might think needs this advice! Just a reminder to keep your mental health in mind!