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No matter our age, occupation, or lifestyle, we ALL experience stressors in our day-to-day lives. Finding useful activities or coping skills, can help boost your mood, mental health, and give your mind a much-needed break in the form of relaxation and fun.
Here are 10 ideas for you to try as you improve your own mental health:
Whether you enjoy journaling in the form of long narratives or bullet-style journaling to help you define necessary tasks, journaling is a great way to organize your thoughts and clear your mind.
Adult coloring has been popular for years, and with good reason! It’s a great way to flex your creative muscle and distract yourself from ruminative thoughts. Find free coloring pages online or buy a coloring book or magazine at a local shop.
Oftentimes, we overlook mindful cooking and eating as we go about our busy lives. Taking the time to lovingly prepare a nutritious meal for yourself is a great way to reap nutritional rewards and enjoy the process of creating a masterpiece in the kitchen.
It’s common to overlook keeping our space neat when we are feeling stressed, depressed or anxious. Try tidying even one area of your home, dorm room or office. Open the blinds or drapes and let some sunshine in! You might notice that organizing your physical surroundings has a positive impact on your emotions.
5 Fresh Air
Getting outside and feeling the sunlight and breeze can have a profound effect on your mental health. Try taking a walk around the block to start, or visit a local park or walking trail.
Endorphins released by your body when you exercise can elevate your mood significantly! Whether you enjoy a team sport like basketball or soccer, or prefer jogging or walking solo, moving your body can help boost your mood and promote feelings of well-being.
Connecting with others, even for a short period, helps avoid feelings of isolation. When we are feeling depressed or anxious, it is not unusual to feel like a burden on others – which leads to that isolation. Know that your loved ones want to connect with you and want to support you. Try sending a text to a friend, calling a family member, or visiting a loved one. You are not alone.
8 Join Others
Try using a website or social media network to join a club or group that interests you! Though the idea may feel daunting initially, you may find that you enjoy the activity and companionship very much. Writing circles, wellness communities like Okclarity, fitness groups and more abound on these sites. Try one out! Most are free.
9 Learn Something New
Whether you choose to try out a class at a local community college, or take a cooking class at the grocery store, learning a new skill is a great way to focus your mental energy on something healthy and productive. As a bonus, it’s a great way to meet new friends and connect with something you are interested in.
Mindfulness is another way to say “be in the moment.” By practicing meditation, breathing exercises, or yoga, you can learn great ways to handle life’s anxieties. Many studios offer an occasional free or donation-based class – or you can try out some of the exercises and meditations online in video form. Another option? Check your local library for free DVDs and audiobooks to help with your mindfulness practice.
I guess in the end, it doesn’t matter what we wanted. What matters is what we chose to do with the things we had.
― Mira Grant
What’s your favorite coping skill, pastime, or self care activity?
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About the author:
Hayley @psychrn is a registered nurse specializing in the psychiatric care of children and adolescents. She has a special interest in working with those on the autism spectrum. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, reading and spending time with family.