Try These 4 Tips for Better Mental Health and Wellness
There comes a time (or several) in your life when you start to reflect back on your goals and accomplishments and think about how far you’ve come since then. We’re talking about all your life experiences including your education path, your interpersonal relationships (family, friends, peers, mentors, and lovers), career prospects and work expectations, and everything in between. Evaluating your experiences can actually be super beneficial for your mental health, as long as you can also come up with solutions to tweak or improve the aspects you are not happy with.
As living breathing humans, our basic needs include “physiological satisfaction,” “safety,” “belonging,” “esteem,” with “self-actualization” sitting on top of an all-too familiar looking pyramid. (Hello, Psychology 101. Bonus points if you can name the psychologist who came up with this developmental theory!) According to the theory, people are always striving towards that final “self-actualization” step, seeking to unlock their full potential. It is not easy to reach that final level, which may explain why often hear your friends complaining about a “mid-life” or “quarter-life” crisis. In honor of Evaluate Your Life Day (recognized on October 19th), we’ve come up with some tips to direct you to the track towards better mental health and wellness.
Set SMART Goals
It’s easy to feel overwhelm with life at times, especially when you’re a fresh grad out of school with no idea what you want to do! There are so many different routes you can take, so how do you know what’s the right one for you? Let’s work on that by taking a moment to come up with a list of your short and long term goals. Currently on the job hunt? Start by looking at open positions in your field of expertise and move up from there. Itching to get that promotion at work? Stop waiting and ask for that evaluation! Be proactive in your request- even if you get turn down this time, you’ll know what to do better for next time. Got an eye on that special someone? Plan a sweet date and make your move before they’re no longer available!
Make sure your goals follow the SMART guide (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based). The more details you add to your goal, the easier it will be to follow actionable steps in making it a reality.
2. Practice Gratitude
Everyone should be doing this constantly, and not just once a year (side note: Yes, we know October isn’t over yet… but who’s EXCITED for Thanksgiving?). We recommend taking 3-5 minutes each morning OR if you’re stress on time, do it once a week on Mondays to jot down all the simple things that make you happy, things you’re looking forward to in the week, people you’re excited to see, and etc. For example, if your morning pumpkin spice latte, taking your dog to the park, and/or happy hour with your friends makes you happy, then by all means, write it down! Why is this helpful? This doesn’t take long to do, and it’ll put you in a good mood for the day! Hang up your list on the dresser or kitchen refrigerator so you’ll always get a glance every time you leave home.
3. Find a Good Relaxing Hobby
Okay, so maybe you already have a decent job you’re happy about. You have a great group of friends that you see once a week or a couple of times a month. But for some reason, you still feel unfulfilled. What’s missing? How about time to yourself!? According to research from the Society for Personality and Social, valuing your time can leader to greater happiness. Stop focusing on the monetary or materialistic aspects and do an activity you enjoy. We recommend an outdoor activity like gardening or bird-watching, taking that dance class you’ve always wondered about, settling in and reading an adventure novel– or better yet, write your own piece, cleaning up your home and decluttering the junk lying around, a peaceful mediation, and/or even opening up a coloring book and let the colors fly off the page.
4. Quiet Your Mind
Taking naps is no longer for babies. Sometimes when things become really stressful, its time to turn off your brain and take a quick power nap. A power nap is an sleep session that happens during the day usually between 12:00pm to 4:00pm, and lasting anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. The timing of the nap is important, because sleeping for too long (or much later in the day) can interfered with your regular sleep routine. Research has shown that power naps can provide a quick boost of energy, restore alertness, and improved quality of work. And a quick rest is much more healthier than drowning down yet another cup of coffee for energy.
We also recommend getting enough sleep each and every night. Experts recommend a strict 7-9 hours of sleep each night!
Life isn’t a straight-forward path, so expect plenty of twists and turns. And don’t be scared– these are the very same things that make our lives one big amazing adventure. Sometimes maintaining your cool isn’t easy, but if you’re ever feeling overwhelm, it’s best to take a step back, take your mind of the problem temporarily, before going back in and figuring out what the best solution is.
Got more suggestions and tips? Let us know what methods work for you!