I’ve talked before about using anti-anxiety medication to combat my anxiety. While having a prescription has been life changing, there are also a lot of natural methods I rely on to improve my mental health. These are some of the go-to’s I use to lift me up on my toughest days.
Natural ways to improve your mental health :
Getting good sleep:
The #1 thing that affects my mental health is sleep. I currently get 10 hours of sleep a night, and mental health improvement is a major reason why I chose this slumbering lifestyle. On a day where I get less than 9 hours, my mind doesn’t feel as good as it does on a day with more sleep. If I am sleep deprived (aka slept for less than 8 hours), my anxiety is rampant. I know a lot of people find that waking up and starting their day early is best for their mental health, but sleep is what makes me feel the most stable. So I sleep in, a lot.
Saying goodbye to caffeine:
I gave up caffeine a few years ago, and it has done wonders for my mental health. Caffeine gives your body an energy boost, but unfortunately that energy can turn into pure anxious energy for someone who struggles with anxiety. I would say that giving up caffeine has made me more tired, but as I mentioned I’ve been getting plenty of sleep!
Getting fresh air:
I might be indoorsy (see photo below), but I can admit that being outside for at least a few minutes every day greatly improves my mental health. It’s human nature to want to be…in nature. I try to get some sunlight time (which is tough during the winter) every day. I’ll take a walk during my lunch break, or just take the long way home from work.
Eating good food:
You know that saying “you are what you eat?” It’s not just true for physical health, but mental health as well! Last year I told a doctor that I was struggling with anxiety. (He was actually a chiropractor, and I was secretly hoping he could just crack the anxiety right out of me). His first reaction was to ask me what I eat in a day. As it turns out, the food you eat fuels your brain as well as your body. Who knew? I’ve made some changes in the last few months that include eating a salad every day and giving up cereal. (I am very attached to Honey Nut Cheerios, so this has been tough for me). I’m sure I could improve more in this category, but it’s good to remember that the sluggish physical feeling you get after eating a bunch of junk food makes your mind feel equally sluggish.
I keep a gratitude journal that helps me remember all of the good I have in my life. Focusing on the blessings in my life takes me out of a mental head space, and into a positive one. It also helps me focus on the present, rather than worrying about the future. I have a lot to be grateful for right now!
Setting the tone:
Music can have a huge effect on your mental health. Making playlists that will soothe you during times of anxiety, or pump you up when you’re feeling down can totally change your mood. Here’s my personal anxiety soothing playlist! (Also perfect for naps).
There are many other natural ways to improving your mental health, but these are a few that have worked for me! I’ve also heard exercise is helpful? But I honestly can’t confirm that the benefits outweigh the mental torture. Just kidding 🙂
What natural methods do you use to improve your mental health?