• Alex Thomas

12 ways we can relax and improve our mental health

Mental health has been a big concern for many people this past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many to have high anxiety and fear. The way we would normally approach our day has changed. We now have to be very conscious of where we go, how close we stand to others, and remember not to leave home without a mask. Parents had to adjust to accommodate their kids schooling at home. Some still had to report to their jobs because working remotely wasn’t an option. Many have gone an entire year without seeing family or spending the holidays with them. With stress, frustration, and thoughts of giving up on the rise, I decided to do some research and create a list of ways that we can relax and improve our mental health.

1. Spend some time in silence while your partner watches the kids.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, parents need some time for themselves too. Taking care of the children can have a major impact on the body and mind. With more people working from home, there was no longer the usual physical time away from family during the 8 hours you would normally be at the office. Which means that more issues could arise throughout the day than one was used to. With that said, it’s important to choose a time in the day that your partner can watch the kids while you relax and take a mental breather. For that time window it should be understood that you are not to be bothered unless it is a serious emergency.

2. Take a day off work

Sometimes we get so caught up with work that it’s all that we think about. Have you ever been at home and all you can think about is all the work that you have to do which leads you to staying late at work the next day to get all of your tasks done? You pour all your energy on these tasks and now your exhausted and still have to go to work the next day. Overworking your body and mind can deteriorate your mental health, if work is becoming overwhelming its okay to take time off to give your mind some rest.

3. Go for a walk by yourself or with your family

A walk in the park is not just for the elderly. A walk in the park or on the beach can be soothing. With the pandemic going on, a lot of kids and family have only been to the grocery store and back to their home. Having a change of scenery can be refreshing for both parents and children. For those who are interested in taking a walk on the beach I would recommend early morning or right before sunset. The weather is cooler, and the sand isn’t as hot. For a walk in the park, I would recommend mid-morning to right before sunset. The goal is to enjoy your walk with less sun and leave before the mosquitoes come to enjoy you as a snack.

4. Yoga and meditation

When we wake up in the morning meditating is a great way to relax the mind and get our day started. If you are waking up and continue to hit snooze, you will most likely be extra tired and will need a lot of coffee to get your mind in gear and ready to start the day. Yoga has been a useful tool for some people to help them relax, not just their mind, but their body as well. For years I thought that yoga was just a thing women do, but as I researched, I learned that more and more men are becoming interested in yoga. Yoga and meditation are great ways for us to relax and improve our mental health.

5. Stop staying up late

We all know that things we do catch up to us eventually. Poor eating habits will catch up eventually, not getting enough sleep is also one of the things that will catch up with us as well. Lack of sleep can put a strain on the mind and body, especially when lack of sleep is coupled with a high amount of caffeine in the morning. It’s best to get at least 6 hours of sleep a day especially if you have an 8–12-hour shift that needs to be performed. Lack of sleep deteriorates our mental health overtime. If you suffer from insomnia, please speak to your doctor about some changes you can make.

6. Diet and exercise

Having a great diet and exercise routine keeps our bodies in peak condition. Watching what we put in our bodies is very important and can reduce the amount of doctor visits we have and keep the risk of getting some illnesses low, even if they are hereditary. For example, the onset of Type II Diabetes can be delayed if we eat healthy and exercise regularly. Maintaining a healthy weight can help with our mental health because we can reduce the mental strain that is associated with illness and body image caused by being overweight.

7. Don’t be afraid to see a therapist

In certain communities, therapy is sometimes seen as something that isn’t good. Seeking therapy can help us talk through our issues and begin the healing process some of us need. It’s not worth it to hold on to pain and frustration. Holding on to pain and frustration leads to unnecessary stress and unwanted health consequences like a stroke.

8. Don’t let work take over your home

I know that this is easier said than done but now that most of us are going back to work in the office after working from home for over a year, keeping work in its respected time slot can help us not to stress and worry about the job when we are at home. Stressing and worrying about the job can affect our families and friends because it becomes the central focus of your life. Keeping work at work can help us to relax when we are home, and not let it interfere with our personal life.

9. Don’t take on the stress of other households

As stated before, a stressful home is a something we should all strive to avoid. Home is supposed to be where family can find peace. When the stress of life enters our homes, it can create a toxic living environment. Do not bring another household’s issues into your home. Also, we have to learn that some issues outside the family are not our job to fix. Protect your peace and your household’s peace.

10. Try something new and experiment

Have you always wanted to learn how to bake, knit, make a candle, start a blog, or side hustle? Doing something that we are interested in can help us to continue to grow and enjoy life. Anything that can help us to continue our personal growth is a plus and can improve our mental state.

11. Take a break from social media

Social media can stress us out a lot. We can see and hear things that upset us and next thing you know you’re on Instagram going back and forth with someone in the comment section on a particular topic. Sometimes we have to cut social media from our daily routine and take a break from it for a while. Social media can be a good resource, but it’s not good if we allow it to influence our actions and thought process. Taking a break from social media can help us to relax and improve our mental health.

12. Forgiveness and moving forward

Holding a grudge is just not worth it. Life is short and as I mentioned earlier, we don’t know when our last day on earth is. Forgiveness can be hard, but one thing that I learned about forgiveness is that moving on from the situation is better than thinking about it all the time and having the issue keep us from growing and progressing in life. If you are having a hard time forgiving someone, speaking to a therapist can help tremendously. Our health insurance sometimes covers the cost of therapy. Forgiveness and moving forward is a great step toward improving our mental health.

Thank you for reading my post “12 ways we can relax and improve our mental health”. Our mental health is so important, and we need to make an effort to take our mental health seriously. Recently a friend of mine who is in her 30’s had a stroke. When I spoke with her, she mentioned that she stressed a lot about her job, worrying about her future, and being scared that her life will always be the way that it currently was. The stressing led to her having a stroke and now her worrying, anxiety and stress are higher than before. If a job stresses you to the point where you are jeopardizing your health, that job is most likely not a good fit for you. We have to take care of our minds.

Are there anymore ways that we can relax and improve our mental health? If so, what are they? Please feel free to share below. Also, feel free to share this post and if you are new to Millennial Oaks please subscribe 😊!

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