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5 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health

Nowadays, there’s a growing awareness about the importance of mental health to one’s overall well-being. It involves our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It’s the part of us that takes the blow when we get stressed or overwhelmed by difficult situations life throws at us.

Taking your mental health for granted has negative ramifications, particularly in your physical well-being. On the other hand, positive mental health and wellness can help you cope when the going gets tough without turning to illicit drugs or alcohol. 

If you are newly recovered from addiction, focusing on strengthening your mental well-being can be beneficial in maintaining a life of sobriety. Check out these practical ideas on how to take care of mental health. 

1. Nourish Your Mind and Body 

Man preparing a healthy meal in the kitchen.

Eating a healthy and diverse diet of nutrient-rich foods plays a pivotal role in maintaining a happy outlook in life and managing the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Like our body, the brain also thrives on vitamins and nutrients. Certain foods can influence the “happy hormone” dopamine, which regulates the mood and pleasure system.

  • Hydrate. Dehydration results in lethargy, poor memory and concentration, and anxiousness.
  • Limit your sugar intake. While sugar gives you a sudden burst of energy, it also sends you crashing when the effect wears off, leaving you feeling exhausted, sad, and irritable.
  • Watch your caffeine intake. Drinking too much coffee or other caffeinated stuff can cause overstimulation, resulting in sleep issues and heightening stress and anxiety.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages if at all possible. In small doses, alcohol may have relaxing, even euphoric effects, but in the long run, it messes up your emotions, triggering and magnifying the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. If you are newly recovered, put your best effort to steer clear of social situations where they may be serving alcohol to avoid cravings and triggering a relapse.

2. Get Enough Quality Sleep 

Improving sleep health is a must-have in everyone’s “how to take care of your mental health” game plan. According to Harvard, sleep deprivation dramatically impacts one’s psychological state and mental health and is particularly common in patients with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Below are helpful sleep hygiene tips from the Sleep Foundation.

  • Transform your bedroom into a place for rest and relaxation only. Take away all distractions, like your television, and put up block-out curtains.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule with a fixed time for waking up and sleeping.
  • Reset your circadian rhythm by getting plenty of daylight exposure. Let the sunshine into your room by opening your windows. 
  • Avoid late-night dinners or midnight snacks. People can have trouble getting into a deep sleep after digesting a big meal of spicy and fatty dishes.
  • Wind down by putting down your electronic gadgets and turning off bright lights at least an hour before your intended bedtime. The blue light emitted from screens and bulbs disrupts the body’s natural production of melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone.

3. Surround Yourself with Sober People Who Are Good for You 

Group of happy friends taking photos at the beach.

Life is meant to be shared. It’s what makes the painful times bearable and happy ones unforgettable. Studies show that those who are more socially connected are generally happier, healthier, and live longer than those who are less connected. Building a support network filled with people with a pleasant disposition in life is one of the best-kept secrets on how to take care of your mental health. They have the power to influence you and steer you in a positive direction. 

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  • Walk away from toxic relationships. Many paths lead to addiction, and one of them is emotional trauma. 
  • Disconnect from people who may compromise your sobriety. During the early stages of recovery, encounters with connections from your former life can be triggering. 
  • Participate in family therapy or couple counselling. The shame and guilt of addiction and the pain that you’ve caused parents, siblings, or your significant other 
  • Join an addiction recovery support group. It’s an excellent way to meet supportive and sensitive friends who share a similar journey.

4. Practice Mindfulness and Intentional Living 

Mindfulness means being fully aware and present moment by moment. At the same time, intentional living is a lifestyle that encourages you to live your life according to your personal values, goals, and the things that matter most to you. Together, these two principles can help lower stress levels, ward off negative thoughts, enhance your emotional and mental well-being, and create a life of genuine happiness.

  • Say “no” more than “yes.” Learning how to say no to anything or anyone you honestly do not want and will not benefit you can prevent getting yourself in compromising situations.
  • Meditate. Do yoga or a simple breathing technique that you can do in a few minutes every day or whenever you feel overwhelmed.
  • Practice gratitude. Be thankful for everything you have and that’s going right in your life. 
  • Accept that life cannot be perfect. Acknowledging helps you make more realistic expectations and shifts your view when challenges come, considering them as opportunities for learning instead of roadblocks that’ll get you down.

5. Don’t Hesitate to Get Help When Needed

If you feel that things are getting out of hand and too much for you to deal with, ask for help. Open up to a loved one, or better yet, seek professional help from a mental health professional. 

The saying “success isn’t linear” can be applied to mental health, too. Struggling does not necessarily mean failing and in no way, shape, or form, invalidates accomplishments you’ve achieved along the way. In addition, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a bold and brave step towards getting the healthy and meaningful life you deserve.

Mental Health Support While in Addiction Recovery 

At Freedom From Addiction, mental health support is at the core of our continuing care and relapse prevention program. We offer evidence-based approaches that guide our patients on how to take care of their mental health positively. 

For more information about our concurrent disorders treatment, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. A member of our team will get back to you shortly. Contact us today!

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