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  • Writer's pictureRMTC Team

Mental Health Action Day: 10 Things You Can do to Improve Your Mental Health  


mental health, therapy, counselling, cambridge, waterloo, kitchener, ontario

May 16th was Mental Health Action Day! Mental Health Action Day was created by the Mental Health Action Network as a way to shift our mental health culture from awareness to action. The idea is that thousands of non-profits, brands, and companies just like us spread the message that like our physical health, we can take actions to improve our mental health! 

 

Check out our ten tips to improve your mental health! 

 

  1. Stay Active: Physical activity is known to boost endorphins, the body's natural mood lifters. Regular exercise can reduce stress, improve sleep, and enhance overall well-being. Activities like walking, jogging, swimming, or yoga can be particularly beneficial. Aim to incorporate at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise into your daily routine. Physical activity also promotes brain health by increasing blood flow to the brain and supporting the growth of new neurons. 

  2. Eat a balanced Diet: Nutrition affects brain function and mood. Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains provide essential nutrients that support brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and flaxseed, are particularly beneficial for brain function. Avoid excessive sugar and processed foods, which can lead to mood swings and energy crashes. Hydration is also crucial, as dehydration can affect concentration and energy levels. 

  3. Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is essential for mental and physical health. It allows the brain to process information, consolidate memories, and repair itself. Katarina Guillen MA, RP says “Getting enough sleep helps you to regulate your emotions by helping you process difficult emotional experiences in 'REM' sleep, by improving your ability to tolerate stress in your environment, and by decreasing your reactivity to difficult emotions as they arise.”   Establish a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Create a restful environment by keeping your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet. Avoid caffeine and electronics before bedtime, as they can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. 

  4. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation: Mindfulness and meditation can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. These practices involve focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. Techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery can help calm the mind. Karla Rivera MA, RP (Qualifying) says “A regular meditation and mindfulness practice creates more spaciousness in the mind, it extends the space between an action and a reaction… allowing you to respond to the world around you from a place that is more calm and clear.” 

  5. Stay Connected: According to one of our owners- Jason Carrasco MSc, RP, RMFT-SQ, “we are intrinsically social beings! Meaningful Social connections allow us to experience a sense of belonging, support and community that truly helps nurture our overall wellbeing. The flip side to this is that without meaningful relationships, we create an opportunity to foster a sense of loneliness and social isolation - which can take such a heavy toll - increasing the chances of experiencing depression, and anxiety to name a few. Investing time in cultivating positive, meaningful, and healthy relationships and feeling part of a caring network, or community, is an investment in your mental health.” 

  6. Limit Alcohol and Avoid Drugs: Substance use can negatively impact mental health by altering brain chemistry and exacerbating symptoms of anxiety and depression. Alcohol and drugs may provide temporary relief but often lead to long-term problems. Moderation is crucial, and seeking help for substance abuse can lead to better mental health outcomes. Healthy coping mechanisms, such as exercise or hobbies, can replace substance use. 

  7. Set Realistic Goals: Achieving small, manageable goals can boost your self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. Break larger tasks into smaller, more attainable steps, and celebrate each achievement along the way. Setting realistic goals helps create a sense of direction and purpose, which can be motivating and rewarding. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your goals can keep you on track and maintain your motivation. 

  8. Take Breaks and Relax: Regular breaks help prevent burnout and reduce stress. Incorporate short breaks into your day to stretch, take a walk, or practice relaxation techniques. Activities like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help you recharge. Taking time off from work or responsibilities to relax and unwind is essential for maintaining mental health. Prioritize self-care and listen to your body's signals. 

  9. Seek Professional Help When Needed: If you're struggling with mental health issues, professional help can provide valuable support and guidance. Therapists and counselors are trained to help you understand and manage your emotions, develop coping strategies, and address underlying issues. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Early intervention can prevent problems from escalating and improve long-term outcomes. 

  10. Engage in Activities You Enjoy: Pursuing hobbies and activities that bring you joy can significantly improve your mood and reduce stress. Whether it's reading, painting, gardening, or playing sports, engaging in enjoyable activities provides a sense of fulfillment and relaxation. These activities can also serve as a healthy distraction from stressors and a way to express yourself creatively. Make time for leisure activities regularly to enhance your quality of life. 

 

Taking action to improve your mental health is crucial for overall well-being. By incorporating these ten strategies into your daily routine, you can significantly enhance your mental health and quality of life. From staying active and eating a balanced diet to practicing mindfulness and seeking professional help when needed, each step plays an essential role in fostering a healthier, happier mind. Remember, mental health is just as important as physical health, and with intentional actions, you can create positive change. Let's commit to making mental health a priority not just on Mental Health Action Day, but every day. Take the first step today towards a healthier mind and a more fulfilling life. 

 

Relationship Matters Therapy Centre is a private therapy practice in downtown Galt, serving Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, and Guelph in-person, or Ontario-wide online. If you’re looking to book an appointment with any one of the therapists at Relationship Matters you may contact us via email at admin@relationshipmatterstherapy.com, or by phone at (226) 894-4112.    

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