There is no health without mental health; like physical health, we all have mental health. Our mental health refers to our emotional and psychological wellbeing. It impacts how we think, feel, and act; thus, it can literally impact all areas of our lives. Our mental and physical health are interconnected and are on a continuum. There may be times in life when we would benefit from more self care activities and support than others; however, what remains consistent throughout our life is that regularly prioritizing our mental health can have a significant positive impact on our overall wellbeing and how we experience life.
I have identified 6 small, yet effective ways to prioritize your mental health and overall wellbeing daily. If you’re needing additional support, please know that mental health treatment and professional support is available.
Dedicate a few minutes each day to check-in on your mental health. Taking the time to see how you are feeling and what you are needing each day not only gives you a nice reset in your day, but also helps you to better learn how to support yourself in a way that is actually going to be helpful to you! Some questions to consider include: “How am I feeling today? What do I need in this moment? What would help me to feel better? What is one small action I can take today to support me?”
Get some movement. Exercise can help promote our mental health, including our mood and energy, as well as reducing feelings of sadness and anxiety. It can also help in grounding us to the present moment and our bodies. These are all huge wins for our mental health! Identify a physical activity that is enjoyable to you and engage in it on a regular basis. Remember that even a few minutes of physical activity (even walking) can have its’ benefits, so start small and build from there!
Surround yourself with positive people. The quality of our relationships and the people we surround ourselves can have a huge impact on many areas of our lives, including how we feel about ourselves and our abilities, extent to which we feel supported in times of stress, resilience, and willingness to explore new paths in life! Being surrounded by people who believe in you and that you can trust to support you when needed can make challenges more manageable and life more enjoyable! We tend to feel better when we feel emotionally connected to others. Aim to check in with at least one person each day (either by phone or in real life rather than texting/social media) and use it as an opportunity to genuinely connect with them (e.g., ask them about how they are doing).
Identify your values. What do you want your life to be about? In a few years, what do you want to make sure you have dedicated time and energy towards? Our values are what gives our lives meaning and fulfillment- what makes life enjoyable and provides color to life! Some examples of values are relationships, family, health, academics, advocacy, etc. There is no “right” or “wrong” values- ultimately, your values are what you want to make your life about! Identify your top few values and then use them to guide the actions you take, so that your actions are based on what is most important to you in life. When our actions are aligned with our values, we tend to feel more fulfilled and content in life, as we are living our lives in ways that are congruent and meaningful to us! Decide how you want to live your life and make that a reality ☺
Engage in daily self-care…you’ll thank yourself for it! Dedicate a block of time each day (whenever works best for you) to engage in some type of self-care activity. The activity does not have to be the same each day. Self-care activities are intended to rejuvenate you on an emotional and physical level. The more we take care of ourselves, the more we can also support others and show up in our lives in the ways that we want to. Examples of self-care activities, include: journaling, practicing gratitude and self-compassion, mindfulness/meditation exercises, coloring, walk in nature, etc.
Limit your screen time. So many of us are consistently on our phones and use them from the moment we wake up until we go to bed. Excessive screen time can negatively impact our mood, energy levels, concentration, relationships, and even sleep! Taking the time to create some intentional breaks from using our phones and/or any other screen (e.g., computers, television) can help us stay in the present moment, more deeply connect with ourselves and those around us, and more fully live our lives (versus passively observing those of others).
Dr. Sheva Assar is a licensed clinical psychologist and relationship coach. She completed her graduate training at Pepperdine University, Graduate School of Education & Psychology. She has worked in various mental health settings with individuals from diverse clinical and cultural backgrounds. Dr. Sheva has a particular passion for destigmatizing mental health and focusing on how to support individuals in experiencing holistic wellness. Dr. Sheva specializes in working with young women on improving their self-confidence and relationships. Dr. Sheva provides educational and relationship tips on Instagram @drsheva. The tips provided here, as well as on other platforms, are solely for educational purposes and are not direct advice or treatment.