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Mental health tips to help you start 2024 off strong

Mental health tips to help you start 2024 off strong

You may have resolved to become a healthier version of yourself this year by exercising more and eating more fruits and vegetables. Did you also resolve to take good care of your mental health this year? Keep reading as the LCMC Health team shares mental health tips to support your well-being.

7 ways to boost your mental health

Let’s face it: Life can be stressful and overwhelming at times. Do what you can to take good care of yourself:

Move your body more. In today’s world, most people spend hours sitting at a desk in front of a computer each day. We can all benefit from moving more. Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, just more than 20 minutes per day. That regular exercise will benefit your mental health in multiple ways, releasing positive endorphins that promote a better mood.

Don’t do it alone. Did you know that research has shown that loneliness and social isolation can be as dangerous to health as smoking? It’s particularly dangerous to mental health. Carve out time to spend with family members and friends, working to stay connected with others even if you can’t be physically near them.

Fuel your body in a healthy way. “You are what you eat” isn’t totally accurate, but what you eat does affect your mental health. Eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water can help you stay focused and energized throughout the day. Certain foods are especially beneficial for your mental health. Skip processed foods when you can, and choose whole foods, including fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains and healthy fats like those found in fish or avocado.

Find healthy ways to manage stress. When we’re stressed, it’s quite common to turn to unhealthy ways of coping, such as eating fast food, smoking or skipping workouts. Instead, make sure to exercise, meditate, spend time with a friend or indulge in a hobby to help ease stress.

Prioritize your sleep. When you don’t get enough quality sleep, particularly on a regular basis, your mental health can suffer. Fill your cup, so to speak, by getting enough sleep. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimal health.

Talk it out. Bottling up your feelings and experiences can cause problems of its own. You don’t have to shoulder all the worries of the world alone. Share your thoughts and feelings with someone, whether it’s a friend, a family member, a religious leader, a mentor, a therapist or another trusted person. Simply talking about what you’re experiencing can boost your mental health.

Remember that mindset matters. Mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, are rooted in chemical changes in the brain. You don’t have control over that facet of your mental health, but you may get a boost by reframing your thoughts in a positive way. Maintaining a positive mindset can help you navigate challenging situations, allowing you to move on instead of dwelling on the negative.

What to do when you’re struggling

If you’re experiencing sadness, anxiety, apathy, mood changes or other signs of a mental health problem, check in with your primary care provider. Your PCP can provide you with a better understanding of what you’re experiencing and refer you for further care as needed.

Don’t let fear or embarrassment keep you from seeking the mental health care you need. One in five American adults has some type of mental health condition, and even more are affected at least occasionally by diminished mental health. You are not alone—and help is available.

Your mental health matters! If you’re not feeling at your best, turn to a LCMC Health behavioral health specialist for help.