Let’s be honest — life can be super stressful. You might feel overwhelmed with work or school. You might feel overworked or overbooked. Maybe you don’t get enough free time to just relax. Whatever your cause of stress, it’s an unfortunate part of reality that can be hard to deal with.
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Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people have realized just how much stress they really experience. Many people were going on walks around the park or neighborhood to unwind and get out of the house. When experiencing stress, you’ve probably been told to ‘walk it off’ before.
It’s true that walking is an easy form of exercise, and exercise is proven to improve mental wellbeing. However, exercise isn’t a cure-all. There comes a point when you might need to take more action for your mental health.
So, you’ve realized your stress might be a bit too much, and you’re ready to do something about it. But where do you begin? Here are some ways to put your mental wellbeing on your priority list.
1. Seek Professional Help
This might be the most obvious solution, but seeing a therapist is a wise decision. Sometimes you need an outside perspective to reveal where you need to make necessary changes. Plus, therapists are specifically trained to help you identify your problems and better yourself. Also, you won’t have to worry about your secrets being outed, like when you confide in your friends or family.
If you are in need of medication to help with your mental health, a therapist can help you arrange that. However, you don’t need to meet with a therapist to get medication. Fortunately, technology has gifted us with the access to mental health treatment online. This makes getting the care you need much easier. Not to mention, you won’t have to leave your house. You can fill out an intake form from the comfort of your home and get medication delivered to your door.
2. Spend More Time with People You Love
Being lonely is one of the biggest causes of stress and depression. Maybe your schedule has limited your ability to meet up with friends. Maybe you had to move away from your family for school or work. Fortunately, you don’t have to let these situations get the best of you. There are ways to work with what you’ve got.
If you’re limited with free time, maybe it’s time to make some necessary changes to your schedule. It’s not healthy to overwork yourself. You need space to unwind and relax, otherwise your stress will continue to build. Don’t let your worries take over your life. The best time to act is now.
If you’re far away from your friends or family, take advantage of technology and set up a virtual hangout session. Don’t let distance be an excuse for your loneliness. Even some spontaneous 15-minute phone calls to a parent can be beneficial. Plus, it shows you’re thinking about the people you love, which they’ll appreciate.
3. Say ‘No’ More Often
One of the biggest contributors to stress and anxiety is overloading yourself. Too much work, school, or a schedule that’s too jam-packed are all stressful scenarios. The key to lightening your load is just that — stop doing so much. Of course, you have to be realistic. You can’t cut out tasks that are absolutely necessary. But, don’t take on extra stress if you don’t need it.
Go ahead and start saying ‘no’ to obligations. It will be scary at first, especially if you’re used to taking on extra work. You might like to feel dependable to others, like your boss. But, putting yourself first is necessary to improve your mental health. Not to mention, if your boss asks you to take on more than what’s in your job description, they’re taking advantage of you. Stand up for yourself and allow yourself to get the relaxation you deserve.
4. Try Journaling
Another good way to take your mental health into account is by writing down your feelings. Taking your thoughts captive is an effective way to steer your thinking in the right direction. Journaling is a simple process that can bring successful results for those trying to become psychologically aware of themselves.
Writing down your feelings can help you realize your true thoughts. It can give you some clarity about a thought you’ve been dwelling on. This can also serve as a visual way to display your emotions, if you need to reflect on how an event made you feel. Journaling can help you process your feelings, which is important for understanding your own mind.
5. Take Up a New Hobby
Sometimes all you need is something new in your life. And unlike Hollywood’s depictions, that doesn’t have to be some exciting adventure across the world. You can have fun and add some variety to your life at home, just by trying new activities.
Having a hobby is a great way to use your free time for productive relaxation. For example, reading provides mental stimulation, but it’s not so much that you feel exhausted afterward. If you prefer to do something with your hands, taking up a craft is a good idea. Crocheting or knitting can offer a satisfying end result — show off that sweater you made yourself!
Remember that not all hobbies have to be physically active. Sports are a hobby, but that might not be your passion. Plus, joining a sports team can be very time consuming. They’re also known for not being relaxing, but rather something that gets you excited. It’s easier to stick with lowkey hobbies that you can enjoy from home, like cooking or yoga.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help or Try New Activities
You shouldn’t let yourself continue to feel anxious, stressed, or depressed. If you’re feeling more down or worried than usual, it’s time to do something about it. The sooner you catch yourself, the better you’ll feel in the long run. It can feel embarrassing to admit you need professional help, but don’t let yourself feel guilty or self-conscious. You should be proud of yourself for getting the assistance you need.
Also, remember a professional doesn’t control your life. You have to make the changes yourself, which means you’re responsible for your own wellbeing. It can be tough, but don’t be discouraged. Everyone is on a journey in life to figure it out and be the best version of themselves. You are not alone, and you can do this.
If you or a loved one are experiencing harmful or suicidal thoughts, call or text the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline anytime, 24/7 at 988.