As part of the World Health Organization’s campaign to raise awareness for mental health issues, World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for many of us to take a step back from our everyday lives.
This has been a particularly taxing year on our mental health for many reasons: the ongoing global pandemic that has uprooted our lives; widespread civil unrest and a broad call for social justice and reform; a struggling economy and record-high unemployment; and a contentious election that has pitted people against each other during a time in which unity is essential. It can seem overwhelming, and to be candid, it is perfectly normal to feel that way right now.
For so many reasons, World Mental Health Day seems more important than ever before. But often, when it comes to coping mechanisms, many of us turn to unhealthy habits that may feel good in the moment but are not effective long-term solutions. But with a few small adjustments, there are simple and effective ways to help improve your mental health.
Research shows that just 30 minutes of exercise daily can be as effective at treating mental health disorders as taking anti-depressants. If you have the option, outdoor exercise provides the added benefit of sunlight, which can boost our serotonin levels.
It seems like we’re spending a lot more time on screens these days than ever before. With the constant bombardment of news and social media, it can be hard to be mindful about how technology affects our mental health. Consider limiting your media consumption throughout the day, and avoid using technology before bed to promote better sleep.
Meditation is a great way to add some mindfulness to your day. Consistency is key, so pick a time everyday when you can practice undisturbed. Start small and work your way up—even just 5 minutes a day have been known to help destress and unwind.
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