how to take care of my mental health

Good Mental Health Tips for Use Each Day

Edited by Paul Alexander

Last updated April 15, 2020

Amid the present coronavirus (COVID-19) infectious disease outbreak, officials have urged people to “shelter in place” and implement social distancing. This means staying home as much as possible and keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and from anyone outside your household. Stay-at-home protocols are designed to limit the spread of COVID-19, which is for the good of the global population.

And yet, isolation can be particularly challenging for lots of people with regard to mental health, which only adds to feelings of distress and uncertainty. This has left many wondering, How do I take care of my mental health during this time? Your mental and emotional wellness should always be a top priority, whether you’re coping with a global crisis, navigating a life transition, or even when things have been relatively normal.

At Northbound Treatment, we’re dedicated to providing people with the support and guidance they need to get through life. So, what good mental health tips can you implement on your own? We’ve compiled our best mental health advice here, which can be applied during the current coronavirus pandemic, as well as any other time.

How to Take Care of My Mental Health

Life can be stressful, even without a global crisis. Worrying about your job, school, your physical wellbeing, your finances, and the future are often enough to make you feel anxious, sad, or hopeless. When you add in social isolation, these feelings can worsen. Here’s what you can do to feel better today, tomorrow, and for years down the road.

8 Good Mental Health Tips

Minimizing in-person contact is critical for reducing the spread of COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. These eight good mental health tips may inspire you to take action when you’re feeling stuck.

1. Stay Active

Everyone can benefit from maintaining an active lifestyle — and the benefits go beyond your physical health. Regular exercise has long been proven to support mental wellbeing. Whether you get outside for a walk each day, stream yoga classes from your living room, allot 30 minutes a day to your stationary bike, or train for a half-marathon, you’ll be doing your mental health a favor.

2. Minimize Media

Resisting the urge to watch the news, read articles, and scroll through social media is tough as is, let alone during the worldwide coronavirus crisis. However, you might be surprised by how much better you feel when you limit your daily media consumption. Of course, watching the news and engaging with people on social media can provide some comfort through solidarity. So, you don’t necessarily have to go cold turkey, but taking breaks might make you feel less stressed and anxious.

3. Aim for 8 Hour of Sleep

In the age of around-the-clock work, nonstop news, and burnout, sleep deprivation is becoming more and more common. Getting the right amount of sleep is essential for good mental health. Believe it or not, both inadequate sleep and too much sleep can have negative effects. If you’re sleep-deprived or have been oversleeping, work your way to about eight hours a night. Keep in mind that the “right amount” of sleep is different for everyone, but for most people, it’s between seven to nine hours.

4. Prioritize Nutrition

An excellent way to cope with stress and support your mental health is to prioritize nutrition. Aim to eat regular, well-balanced meals and limit junk food. If you’re not used to eating healthy, nutritious foods, trying to overhaul your diet all at once can be overwhelming. Start by adding in or eliminating one type of food at a time, and slowly work your way to better physical and mental health.

5. Connect with People

Whether you’re practicing social distancing or not, making meaningful connections with people is a vital component of achieving and maintaining a healthy mental state. If the current state of the world has you avoiding face-to-face contact, there are still plenty of ways to interact with other people. Video calls are becoming an extremely popular choice for remote socialization, but talking on the phone is just as good if you prefer that. There’s also social media, text messaging, email, and old-fashioned snail mail, all of which can be comforting.

6. Maintain Good Hygiene

Maintaining good personal hygiene is about more than just preventing the spread of COVID-19. It can actually benefit your mental health by making you feel more awake, prepared, confident, and happy. Making a point to take a daily shower, brush your teeth twice a day, frequently wash your hands, implement a skincare routine, and wear clean clothes can offer psychological benefits.

7. Engage Your Mind

For many people, social distancing is an opportunity to stream all the movies and TV shows on their list. There’s certainly nothing wrong with watching TV and movies, but we recommend including doing something every day that engages your mind. This could be reading a book, learning a new language, working on a puzzle, cooking a new recipe, or doing something artistic.

8. Meditate

Meditation and focused breathing exercises have been shown to reduce feelings of anxiousness and uncertainty and help some individuals cope with stress. If you’ve never tried meditation and aren’t sure where to begin, a meditation app or virtual coaching can be a great place to start.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help

While each of the tips above can provide substantial mental health benefits, they may not be enough for some individuals. The stigma surrounding mental health leaves a lot of people second-guessing whether they should seek professional help. But it’s important to remember that for many, maintaining good mental health is about more than self-care.

Whether you’re navigating a current issue or are looking for ongoing, long-term support, psychotherapy can be very powerful. Professional treatment will provide you with the practical tools and insight you need to live an emotionally balanced and positive life. 

Although connecting with your loved ones is crucial, speaking frankly with a licensed therapist or mental health counselor is often necessary for a psychological breakthrough. Don’t be afraid to seek out the help you need. Addressing your problems through professional treatment is often the first step to discovering yourself and living freely.

Northbound Treatment is Here for You

Mental health disorders can manifest at any time, during any stage of life, and they don’t discriminate based on income, ethnicity, or demographic. Northbound Treatment realizes the importance of balanced psychological health, especially for those suffering from addiction. 

Beyond that, mental and emotional wellbeing is a crucial component of maintaining a sober lifestyle. That’s why our residential rehab centers and outpatient programs focus on providing support on par with mental health facilities.

Dual Diagnosis

A mental health disorder is highly complex, and the condition can be linked to previous trauma, genetics, brain chemistry, or environmental factors. In many instances, mental health disorders co-occur with drug or alcohol addiction, which is known as a dual diagnosis

Research indicates that roughly half of adult addicts in the U.S. also have a mental health disorder. Additionally, many people use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their mental health issues. Although addiction is classified as a mental illness, it’s often treated separately from other psychological conditions. Northbound provides integrated dual diagnosis treatment, which addresses both conditions as part of the recovery plan.

Anxiety, Depression, OCD, and Trauma

Northbound’s treatment programs are designed to serve the underlying causes of substance abuse, which often involve one or more mental health disorders and behavioral conditions. 

Patients who receive dual diagnosis treatment are usually seeking help with: 

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Codependency
  • Trauma disorders

Anxiety and depression are severe mental health disorders that can impact a person’s ability to work, study, socialize, and care for themself. Northbound’s licensed clinicians have the training and expertise to help our patients overcome these debilitating conditions. 

A trauma disorder is a mental illness that’s caused by a traumatic experience or event. Northbound Treatment specializes in helping individuals confront PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), sexual trauma, childhood trauma, violence, or other underlying factors contributing to their condition.

Northbound has been treating patients for addiction for over 30 years, and our residential treatment centers are staying open during the coronavirus crisis. In addition, we’re still offering outpatient programs, including intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment. Now’s the time to get the help you need.

We’re proud to provide residential rehab and outpatient treatment for those facing mental illness and are accepting new patients every day. Learn more about the mental health disorders we treat, or call us at (844) 919-0403 to get started with the admissions process.

Sources:

  1. “Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health – Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During an Infectious Disease Outbreak” Samhsa.gov. N.p., n.d., https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/tips-social-distancing-quarantine-isolation-031620.pdf
  2. Weir, Kirsten. “The Exercise Effect.” Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, Dec. 2011, www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise
  3. “Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 July 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
  4. Publishing, Harvard Health. “Sleep and Mental Health.” Harvard Health, July 2009, www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health
  5. Birch, Jenna. “How to Make Sure Social Distancing and Self-Isolation Don’t Hurt Your Mental Health.” Health.com. Health.com, 18 Mar. 2020. , https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/social-distancing-mental-health
  6. Carter, Christine. “Cleanliness Is Next to Happiness.” Greater Good, 9 Aug. 2010, greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/Cleanliness., https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/Cleanliness
  7. “Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 July 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html
  8. Corliss, Julie. “Mindfulness Meditation May Ease Anxiety, Mental Stress – Harvard Health Blog.” Harvard.edu. N.p., 8 Jan. 2014., https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.

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