Tend to Your Mental Health: Diet and Relaxation Tips to Prevent Mental Illness

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical wellness. If you don’t tend to your well-being, you may start to develop some of the warning signs of mental illness. You may notice dramatic changes in your sleep patterns or appetite. Many people have a hard time functioning socially and withdraw into themselves. Problem-solving and performing familiar tasks end in exhaustion. People suffering from mental illness may feel disconnected from their surroundings and apathetic about things they previously cared about. Symptoms may also include nervousness, fear, paranoia, recklessness, and uncharacteristic behaviors.

Fortunately, you can prevent warning signs of mental illness from developing into a full-blown problem with a little self-care. Self-care isn’t just easy to do, it can seriously be enjoyable. These simple practices will show you just how easy it is to tend to your mental health.

Diet and Mental Health

Many Americans have problems when it comes to food. For years, we were taught that “healthy” was the latest fad diets. Millions of people would give up bread or slurp down disgusting chalky shakes in the name of health. However, diets aren’t just unpleasant, they also don’t work. People eventually gain back any of the weight they lose, and meanwhile, they are depriving their bodies and minds of essential nutrients.

Your brain needs a varied diet to function properly. Cutting out certain foods can lead to mental illness symptoms including anxiety, exhaustion, and agitation. That’s why it’s so important to ignore fad diets and instead focus on curating a diet full of whole, fresh foods. It’s also best to avoid cheap convenience foods that are full of salts, saturated fats, and sugars. If you’re not exactly a celebrity chef in the kitchen but you want to learn how to make healthy meals at home, look into a fresh food delivery service. These services mail fresh ingredients, perfectly portioned and prepared, along with step-by-step instructions on how to make the meal yourself. You learn more about basic cooking skills while getting used to a diet of fresh foods — so easy!

Relaxation and Mental Health

Taking time to relax is essential for your mental health. However, in today’s hustle-and-bustle society, we often feel pressured to work hard and play hard, but we hardly take a moment to sit still. However, relaxation is important. Without it, you risk experiencing burnout. Symptoms of burnout include exhaustion, cynicism, apathy, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Your mind needs time to unwind and reset itself. Even if you take out the possibility of experiencing burnout, it’s still a smart idea to relax. Taking breaks makes you more productive, more creative, and happier overall. What’s more, it can even help you lose weight.

If you feel your muscles becoming tense, get up and walk around for a bit. If you can, go outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Try some breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). If you have time, exercise to release stress with the help of feel-good endorphins. Or, you can try a relaxing activity like yoga (a drop-in yoga class usually costs $12 – $16), meditation, or tai chi. Sometimes, you need to relax mentally and emotionally as well as physically. If you need to ease the tension in your mind, start with some positive affirmations. Work toward being more mindful and optimistic by reframing your thoughts and identifying your cognitive distortions. It helps to have a healthy distraction — try reading, doing a puzzle, or writing in a journal to get out of your head.

Controlling external factors, like your environment, can also help you manage stress and reduce anxiety. At home, aim to eliminate clutter, a common problem for busy people that contributes to a feeling of near-constant overwhelm. Getting rid of stacks of paper, cleaning out your closet, and organizing your cabinets are all good places to start. When you’re done organizing, give your home a thorough cleaning. In this case, you’re better off delegating this task to a maid service. In Pasadena, you can expect to pay between $114 and $227 for a cleaning.

But you shouldn’t just clear your countertops, you should also clear the air. Scientists have already confirmed that clean air makes you happier. The thing is, indoor air can be full of dust, dander, and other irritants, especially if you have pets. You can remedy this problem by investing in an air purifier (can be purchased for under $80) and changing your air filters regularly. 

Neglecting your mental health can lead to serious symptoms that impair your ability to enjoy the things you love in life. Rather than getting to that point, embrace how wonderful self-care for your mental health can be. Instead of dieting, embrace a variety of whole foods that feed your brain and body. Taking time to relax isn’t lazy — it’s necessary. Relaxing prevents burnout while making you more productive and creative in the long term.

By: Brad Krause

I would like to thank Brad Krause for his submission. To find out more information about Brad, please follow the links below.

brad@selfcaring.info

selfcaring.info/

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