You know the importance of caring for your physical health, but did you know that your mental health is just as important?
The brain is the most important organ in the body; if it’s not in good shape, the rest of the body can’t work effectively either. Just as we work to maintain strong muscles and a fit cardiovascular system, we must demonstrate the same commitment and discipline to caring for our mental wellness as well.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, observed in May of each year, here are some simple ways you can prioritize your mental health.
Simple ways to care for your mental health
- Express yourself creatively. Paint (remember finger painting when you were a child?). Color in an adult coloring book. Start a craft. Sing in a choir. Dust off that musical instrument that you haven’t played in years. Releasing your artistic self (it really is in all of us) without judgment or concern for the outcome can be incredibly uplifting—and fun!
- Take a power nap. You probably remember naptime in kindergarten. We’ve never really outgrown our need for a midday rest-and-reset. If you’re struggling to stay awake in a late-afternoon class or work meeting, check out these quick tips for a powerful power nap. Just 20 to 30 minutes can do wonders for your mood and memory.
- Plan a getaway. The past year has been tough. But with vaccinations rolling out and restrictions beginning to relax, travel will soon become a much-awaited possibility. After all, nothing helps raise our spirits like looking forward to a vacation or trip to see loved ones we haven’t seen in far too long. Short on money? Try a staycation with a twist! Explore your city like a tourist, visiting the attractions that people come into town to see (they’re likely in need of visitors due to the pandemic anyway).
- Reframe negativity. It can seem difficult at times, but we can often find a positive way to think about unfortunate experiences. For example, if you came into extra cash and then had car trouble, instead of being bummed about having to use that windfall, you could appreciate having the additional funds to cover the repair.
- Add good fat and chocolate into your diet. Yes, you read that right! Omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to lower incidence of depression, come from flax seeds, wild-caught salmon, walnuts and fish oil supplements. Dark chocolate is a powerhouse as well, with caffeine to increase mental alertness, and flavonoids to help lower blood pressure.
- Do something for someone else. Run an errand for your neighbors while you’re out—drop off their packages at the post office, or pick up a couple items for them at the grocery store. Acts of service are a great way to show concern for others—and a great way to give yourself an emotional lift.
- Get back into nature. The Japanese practice known as “forest bathing” is a growing trend in the U.S.—and for good reason. It’s all about trading in rigorous hikes for slow-paced walks in the woods to connect with nature. The concept is simple: Head into a forest, walk about slowly under the canopy of trees and enjoy the multi-sensory experience. It isn’t about getting to a destination but, rather, being mindful—a sort of moving meditation—among the trees. No forest nearby? You can reap the same benefits with a mindful walk around your neighborhood.
- Talk it out. When you’re stressed, sometimes you just want to talk with someone who can understand what you’re going through and help you manage. Depending on your benefits, you may be eligible for mental health counseling through Teladoc. With Teladoc, you can schedule a visit with a therapist or psychiatrist seven days a week for challenges like depression, anxiety, stress, not feeling like yourself and many others.
Getting mental health support through Teladoc
If you have access to Mental Health through Teladoc, just follow these steps to start your confidential visit:
- Set up your account and fill out a brief medical history.
- Select from our list of providers (therapists, social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists).
- Request preferred dates and times that work best for you.
- Fill out a brief emotional health questionnaire. After that, your therapist will select which time and date fits in their schedule and confirm it with you.
Once you begin working with Teladoc, you can stay with the same therapist or counselor as long as you want. No office visits necessary.
Updated May 21, 2021