Health Advisory

9 Practical Tips for Protecting Your Mental Health

Taking care of your mental health needs doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with these simple steps.

A 2021 survey found that more than one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness, ranging from mild to severe. As this Mayo Clinic overview explains, mental health issues can begin at any age. Left untreated, they can lead to severe emotional, behavioral, and physical health problems.

Many of the following steps for protecting your mental health are common sense, but it’s easy to overlook the basics when you’re unusually busy or traveling. We compiled this list as a helpful reminder. 

9 Practical Mental Health Tips

  1. Slow down. Practice gratitude and mindfulness through calming activities, such as meditation, stretches, and deep breathing exercises.
  2. Take good care of your body. You’ll feel better mentally if your physical self is healthy. Things like eating right and exercising help keep your brain healthy. Get plenty of sleep and stay up to date with your routine medical care.
  3. Check in with yourself. Take a moment to self-reflect. If you are feeling anxious, depressed, numb, having trouble sleeping, or experiencing other mood or behavior changes, consider seeking mental health treatment — especially if you’ve been feeling that way for a while.
  4. Limit your screen time. Too much screen time isn’t just unhealthy for kids; research shows it also affects adult health, contributing to poor sleep quality and increased stress and anxiety. Feel like you’re addicted to your phone? You can use the device settings to establish some boundaries.
  5. Avoid self-medicating. If you find yourself turning to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to manage a mental health issue on your own, be aware that they can worsen the problem, and you may become dependent. An expert health advisor can help you find the appropriate treatment.
  6. Be proactive. Seek help early on rather than hoping things will improve on their own. Don’t wait until you’re in crisis.
  7. Work with an expert. To determine the best course of treatment, you’ll need an accurate diagnosis. If you don’t already have a trusted mental health professional, finding the right provider and building a relationship may take time. The CDC has a list of mental health tools and resources. To find great mental health providers who take your insurance and are accepting new patients, consider working with a health advisor.  
  8. Connect with other people. Human connection is vital for wellness. Spending time with friends and others in your community will help you avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation. By regularly checking in with relatives, friends, and co-workers, you’ll support your mental health — and theirs, too. 
  9. Be patient with yourself. It can be challenging to recognize the problem, locate the right resources, and access treatment, especially when you are struggling. Set realistic goals, and approach them in small, concrete steps.

At Better Health Advisors, we recognize that mental health is an important component of your overall health. If you or a loved one need help accessing mental health support, including treatment programs for eating disorders and substance use, don’t hesitate to reach out. Managing your mental health is a lifelong endeavor, and it’s worth the effort.

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