Whether they’re good or bad, we all have habits. Sometimes we’re aware of them and sometimes we aren’t. People always talk about how hard it is to create a habit, but no one talks about the difficulty of breaking them. As the weather gets colder and factors like seasonal depression start to weigh heavy on your mind, now is the perfect time to discuss mental health. Let’s delve into some habits you should consider breaking to improve your mental well-being.
1. Stop: Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Let’s face it, as you age the number of responsibilities that you have sometimes can feel endless. Between your family, work, social life, and other obligations, you can easily start to feel as if you’re being worn thin. While there are some things that you absolutely must do on a daily basis, there are some that can wait. Growth is realizing that overbooking your schedule by agreeing to go to lunch with your friends, host a dinner party, take your kids to the fair, and run errands all in one weekend isn’t as productive as it may seem.
It’s true that you’re getting a lot done, but at what cost? If you can successfully manage to do all of these activities without getting overwhelmed, great. However, for some people, having that many tasks on the to-do list is beyond stressful. And if this is something you do weekend after weekend, the continual stress is going to eventually cause mental and potentially physical strain.
Do: Give Yourself Time
Make sure you’re giving yourself time to just focus on you. If you’re used to doing a lot of activities all the time, it can feel a little off-putting at first to take a day or even a few hours to say no to “obligations.” However, you may find that it can prove to be helpful. Giving yourself some time before resuming responsibilities again can help you feel more prepared to handle them. Doing things while stressed or overwhelmed isn’t good for anyone involved.
For one, it can cause you to get upset with people over small things. For two, having a ton of things on your plate in the upcoming days can cause you to not be fully present with the people you’re around. If possible, try to schedule your days out in a way that allows you some “me time” while still getting things done. Whether you’re a busy student or a busy mom, using a planner can help you get organized and mentally prepared for the days to come.
2. Stop: Always Saying Yes
Just as mentioned above, sometimes you don’t have to say yes. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or as if you already have a lot going on at the moment, don’t accept that invitation to lunch or happy hour. Always saying yes to things can not only add to your stress but can also perpetuate the idea that you always want to do things, when that isn’t the case. All of a sudden you may find the people around you automatically signing you up to do things because you usually say yes. Then, out of a sense of obligation, you just go along with it and continue this mentally unhelpful cycle.
Do: Say No Sometimes
Whether it’s a personality characteristic or a sense of obligation, saying no is just difficult for some people. A lot of research suggests that from a young age people are taught to say yes and that they continue to do so throughout their life to conform to societal norms. While it may be a hard trait to break, start saying no to things you don’t want to do or don’t agree with.
This can do wonders for your mental health by getting you into the routine of doing things that genuinely make you happy rather than just doing things to please others. Don’t be afraid of what the people around you think when you decline that happy hour or high school reunion. If they truly care about you, then they’ll understand your need to not do things that aren’t bringing you joy. You’re setting boundaries, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
3. Stop: Isolating Yourself
On the flip side, do not isolate yourself. If you’re feeling down or you’re in a negative headspace, it can be easy to want to withdraw from people and reality. However, doing so usually has an adverse reaction by causing the individual to feel lonely and even more sad. Social isolation can stem from more than being in a bad mood, however. A few additional reasons being, disabilities, emotional pain, social anxiety, and depression.
While having some alone time occasionally is good as it’s a form of self-care that allows you to rejuvenate, too much “me” time can have a negative effect on your health. It’s been found that loneliness tends to lead to problems such as an increase in substance abuse, cognitive decline, poor sleep quality, and premature death. So, for some people, if you feel yourself going through a funk, consider surrounding yourself with people who love you.
Do: Surround Yourself With Loved Ones
There’s nothing better than being surrounded by people who love you and want to see you succeed in life. Having people around you that are willing to be your “shoulder to cry on” essentially can make you feel less alone and serve as a way to vent your frustrations. Venting is a very underrated mental health tip that often gets overlooked. Venting is a form of stress relief, so if you have someone willing to listen, utilize them.
However, make sure that you’re surrounding yourself with positive loved ones. If you’re already struggling with negative thoughts, you don’t want to go around someone who isn’t the most positive. That might actually do more harm than good as they may pull you back to that place of negativity rather than out of it. Being around positive people when you’re sad can feel like the breath of fresh air that you need to pull yourself out of a funk.
4. Stop: Writing Things Off
If you’re feeling mentally unwell, don’t write it off as nothing or think of it as a phase that will pass. The moment that you experience negative thoughts or feelings for longer than what is considered normal for you, take note of it. You may be experiencing stress, anxiety, tiredness, or much more. And without addressing it, a small issue can get turned into a much bigger problem. Use a wellness app like SelfCare1® if necessary, to help you stay in shape in multiple areas and track how you’re feeling.
Many people tend to write off these feelings because they don’t want to look overdramatic or be a burden to those around them. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. People that care about you should understand that if you come to them and let them know that you’re mentally struggling, that your admission is serious. Not only that, but it’s okay to not be fine. You don’t have to be constantly smiling and always happy.
Do: Get Professional Help
Don’t let the stigma of therapy stop you from seeking help. Oftentimes, people have a tendency to avoid talking to a professional because needing therapy is seen as something to be ashamed of or that therapy doesn’t work. In reality, according to the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, the average client receiving psychotherapy is better off than 79% of clients who do not seek treatment.
Talking to a psychiatrist online is the first step to taking your mental health into your own hands. Instead of allowing your mental well-being to fall by the wayside, you are proactively working towards getting better. An online psychiatrist can give you that private one-on-one interaction to help you feel comfortable expressing what you’re going through. Also, there’s no reason to feel like a burden towards them as it’s their job to help people.
5. Stop: Neglecting Your Physical Health
Your physical health is almost directly related to your mental health and vice versa. If you’re struggling with one, it’s going to ultimately affect the other. That’s why neglecting your physical health isn’t ideal. Who can feel mentally well if they aren’t feeling physically well? Probably no one. For example, a physical illness like Psoriasis is linked to mental health conditions such as acute stress and depression.
Additionally, not getting in any exercise, and eating a lot of unhealthy foods can potentially cause symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, and a variety of other health problems. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are two leading causes of death in America. So adopting healthy habits is crucial.
Do: Adopt Healthy Habits
There are a variety of healthy habits that you can start to help boost your physical and mental well-being. One thing is, getting sleep. Getting proper sleep can help to improve your mood, boost your immune system, improve memory, and much more. If you’re someone who often has trouble sleeping, consider using essential oils as a way to relax before bed. They have many known benefits and are an inexpensive way to help you catch some zzz’s. Even if you’re always on the move, the SelfCare1® allows you to obtain personalized oil-based care, easily and quickly and to take your mixtures everywhere with you thanks to its container.
Aside from sleep, exercising and eating well-balanced meals should be a priority for you. Say goodbye to the takeout and hello to the fruits and vegetables. Making your meals at home allows you to easily control what you’re consuming and reduce the amount of potentially harmful things you’re eating. You don’t have to revamp your entire diet immediately, but slowly choosing healthy alternatives is a step in the right direction. The same with exercising. Don’t overwhelm yourself by going seven days a week, if you’re first starting out. Begin small by maybe going two to three times a week at first and slowly increasing the days as you become more confident.
6. Stop: Refusing to Treat Yourself
When you have a family or even just other obligations, treating yourself can seem selfish at times. If you find yourself making excuses as to why you don’t need that new outfit or that trip to the spa, this is for you. When you work hard daily, it only makes sense that you’ll want to do nice things for yourself occasionally. But it’s really hard when you’re used to putting aside your wants for someone else.
This makes it difficult to get out of the habit of constantly saying things like “you don’t need it” or “it’s too much” when it comes to something that will make you happy. Working hard and not putting some of your money aside to treat yourself with it can almost make it seem as if you’re working for nothing. That feeling can make you lose motivation and affect your productivity at work and in life. However, you don’t have to go broke to treat yourself as there are many ways to go about inexpensive self-care.
Do: Whatever Makes You Happy
One of the easiest ways to pamper yourself on a budget is to take yourself on an at-home date. Start by setting the tone with some of your favorite music and preparing a meal that you love. Then, figure out some activities to do that make you happy. Maybe painting, movies, or reading. Anything that brings you joy is acceptable.
After, top the night off by running yourself a nice, warm bath. Light a few candles, use some essential oils for relaxation, and lower the lights to a comfortable setting. To really give yourself the spa experience, make a DIY face mask with a hydrating oil like grapeseed, give yourself a scalp massage, and warm up a towel to lay on your neck or get your personalized care thanks to the SelfCare1®. Self-care doesn’t need to be expensive, and with these at-home remedies, you can feel relaxed about your budget too.
Hopefully, these tips have given you a little understanding of some habits that most of us unknowingly have and should break. Breaking habits can be just as hard as starting them so be patient with yourself if it isn’t a linear process. There will be ups and downs, but ultimately, even if you employ these tips at least once, you’re already on your way to bettering your mental well-being.