One of the greatest commitments we can make to ourselves is embarking on a mental health career, which begins with taking care of our own mental health. It's estimated that 1 in every 7 Australians will face depression during their lifetime, yet not everyone will seek the help they need. Sometimes prioritizing our mental well-being seems more challenging than it should be, particularly when we’re swamped or struggling with mental health issues; here are ten strategies to nurture your mental health, even when the journey feels steep.
1. Take care of yourself first
It is much easier to take care of yourself before you find yourself anxious, depressed, or experiencing other mental health issues. The idea of self-love (or self-care) is quite popular right now, but for a good reason! If you spend time focusing on yourself and seeking out enjoyment, your stress levels will decrease. This might mean enrolling in a gardening course, meditating, reading a good book, getting a pedicure, or simply sitting outside with a glass of lemonade after a long week. Consider seeking out a new hobby. Always wanted to write songs? Take our singing and songwriting course, and spend time doing something you love.
If possible, each day, perform a small act of self-love to remind yourself you are valuable.
2. Talk about your feelings
Instead of keeping things bottled up inside, communicate how you are feeling. This may mean with a partner, a friend, or even a psychologist. This can help you cope with a problem you’re experiencing, rather than just internalizing it.
If you find that you enjoy speaking with your psychologist and are interested in a career in psychology, you can study psychology online with our psychology courses.
3. Keep active
How many times have you dreaded putting on your exercise clothes, only to feel like a new person thirty minutes later, once you’ve worked out? There’s a reason for that! Endorphins course through your body after raising your heart rate, and help you feel better about life in general. Aim for thirty minutes of exercise a day, even if it’s as simple as walking through nature to clear your mind.
4. Care for others
Devoting time and energy to others can be inherently rewarding. Remember those moments when a simple act of kindness brought about a profound sense of well-being? Engaging in altruistic actions not only reduces stress and releases those feel-good endorphins but also provides a broader perspective on one's own challenges.
If you find yourself consistently drawn to helping others, why not consider making a career out of it? For those who enjoy lending an ear and providing emotional support, counseling could be a fulfilling path, and Music and Art Therapy Courses offer a creative avenue to augment traditional counseling techniques. Interested in exploring this avenue further? Check out our post on how to become a counsellor for a comprehensive guide.
Instead of sitting behind your television, make a phone call to a friend. The Mayo Clinic notes that socialising “helps sharpen memory and cognitive skills, increases your sense of happiness and well-being, and may even help you live longer.” Even a five or ten minute chat with a friend can help you care for your mental health.
6. Ask for help
Nobody is a hero all the time. Instead of feeling like you need to be the one to care for others and yourself, ask for help. You may want to seek out a counselor or therapist, or you may simply need to ask loved ones to help you with some duties you can’t do easily yourself.
Another option to consider is finding a support group to help you make changes in your life. There are many low-cost or free resources to consider, such as the Better Access program, so don’t be ashamed to take advantage of it. Seeking help for mental health issues should not make you feel guilty, but empowered.
7. Make big changes in your life
If you are repeatedly experiencing the same mental health problems, they may very well be due to stress. When your job or career causes excess stress, it may be time to consider making big changes in your life. Brainstorm what you can change. Do you need to relocate to a different environment? Or maybe you feel like you’re in a dead-end job and need to completely change your career pathway, perhaps by enrolling in a child care course.
Changing careers doesn’t need to be stressful; instead, you should feel inspired and energized at the idea of a new pathway if the current one you’re in doesn’t provide fulfillment. Did you know that studies show that jobs that are most fulfilling are those in which you care for people? From careers in psychology to teaching children, Allied Health Courses can open doors to multiple ways to find fulfillment and reduce your stress to care for your mental health.
8. Get outside
Studies show that spending time in nature reduces stress and increases feelings of well-being. If you want, combine spending time outside with getting exercise, and you’ll be well on your way to improving your mood while you care for your mental health. You don’t need to spend hours each day outside but aim for 10-to-15 minutes in nature if possible. Walk through a local park, or sit outside in your garden area.
9. Reduce your alcohol consumption.
If you are feeling depressed or anxious, you might be turning to alcohol to self medicate. Ideally, limit your alcohol consumption to less than 10 drinks a week, and no more than 4 in one given night. Self-medicating with alcohol can actually increase your level of depression and anxiety.
10. Get enough sleep.
We’ve all had rough days after a severe lack of sleep. It affects our moods and even our physical health. To make sure you are taking care of your mental health, aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Sleep regulates chemicals in our brains to help manage our moods and emotions, and oversleeping can be just as detrimental as undersleeping. If you find that you’re sleeping too little and suffering from symptoms of depression, increase how much you are sleeping to see if this improves your mental state.
Your mental health should not be taken for granted. Make sure to spend time caring for your mental health so that you can continue to help yourself, and others around you.