Using this as my motivation, I’m trying to change my physical and mental health during March. As a woman going through menopause, I realize that what worked for me in my 30s and 40s isn’t working in my 50s. When working out in my youth was more for vanity; now, it’s done to preserve muscle mass, stop the aches and pains and give me the energy I need to get through a day. I haven’t focused on my mental health as much in the past. March with isn’t ‘newness’ can also be a time to reflect on personal growth. Try something new to challenge your mind and body. Here are six suggestions you can try when focusing on improving your mental health.
6 Activities That Improve Mental Health
There are concrete activities you can do to work on your mental wellness and balance your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional self. Here are five to get you started:
- Feed your brain. When life gets hectic, overriding your needs for work, social life, or other prerogatives is tempting. But your dietary health is important. Find out what foods make you feel best and stick to them. Some great foods that specifically target mental health include:
- Greens – dark greens are rich in vitamin C and magnesium
- Nuts and Seeds – Flax, hemp, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are a source of mood-boosting omega-3s.
- Cacao – a superfood that enhances the production of various feel-good chemicals in the brain.
- Fermented Foods – serotonin is produced in the gut, so keeping your gut healthy should be a big focus for overall health.
- Complex Carbs – chickpeas, lentils, nuts, oats, brown rice, wholegrain cereals, bananas and sweet corn encourage serotonin production.
2. Get your blood pumping. Exercise triggers endorphins—the ‘feel good’ chemical—to flood through your brain, as well as reduce cortisol—the chemical that causes stress. Try to get in at least 15 minutes of exercise a day.
3. Plan your sleeping schedule and stick to it. Most adults need 7–9 hours of sleep. If you have trouble resting, it may help to create morning and nighttime routines around sleep, such as stretching, journaling, showering, reading, or any activity that helps you wind down at night and wake up in the morning.
4. Do something you excel at. Are you a fantastic painter? Focused musician? Speedy runner? Get that adrenaline rush that comes out of doing something well and knowing it. Don’t know what you’re good at yet? Even better. Explore all kinds of hobbies and passions until you find something that clicks.
5. Ask for help when you need help. No matter what you’re going through, big or small, you’re not alone. Don’t feel like you have to be strong and push through your issues; make sure you have a strong support network, or healthcare professional, to talk it out.
Mental Health.gov. What is Mental Health? https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health
NHS. 5 steps to mental wellbeing. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing/
Mental Health.org. How to look after your mental health. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-mental-health
NCBI. Toward a new definition of mental health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4471980/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20World%20Health,her%20community%E2%80%9D%20(1).
What is mental health and how to improve it. https://www.voasw.org/blog/what-is-mental-wellness-how-to-improve-it/