Mental health is just as important as physical health. Putting “prioritize my mental health” on the top of your to-do list every day isn’t just a good idea, it’s a necessity. When you make your mental health a priority, you’re better able to deal with life’s unexpected twists and turns.

How to Make Your Mental Wellbeing a Priority

1. Nurture Your Relationships

Make time to call and visit your friends and family. Cultivate the relationships in which you can be yourself and loved. If you have no one nearby, join a local church, synagogue, or community organization and get involved to create new connections.

2. Make Time for Exercise

Woman on a morning hike looking out on the water

It doesn’t have to be a killer workout. Even five minutes of exercise improves how you feel mentally, as well as physically. Take a walk or ride a bike. Bonus tip? By getting outside, you’ll also soak up your daily dose of Vitamin D, which will help your mood too. (Remember to apply sunscreen.)

3. Take Time to Grieve Your Losses

2020 was tough on everyone. Likely you or someone you know has recently been affected by a loved one’s death. A sense of loss can accompany even positive events like moving to a new house or retiring. Grieving is a completely natural and necessary ritual.

4. Invest in Your Rest

Lack of sleep can contribute to a variety of physical and mental ailments. On average, a person needs about 8 hours of sleep per night. Find out how many hours work best for you and break out your inner mama bear if anything tries to get between you and a restful, restorative night’s sleep.

5. Stay Mentally Stimulated

A camera and car key resting on a road trip map

Consider volunteering or taking a class in an area that interests you. Explore new hobbies like photography, learning another language, or reading a really good book.

6. Burst into Laughter

A positive attitude and laughter can boost your mood in a matter of minutes. Get out and spend time with people who make you laugh. More of an introvert? Watch all your old fave funny movies or shows. Not only will this make you smile, but some say reruns help us feel calm in an increasingly anxious world. Nothing coming to mind? Try these funny animal YouTube videos.

7. Cuddle with a Pet

Man hugging dog

A pet can be an excellent companion, as you probably saw in the videos. Plus, pet owners get more exercise and have more social interactions than those without a pet. (See where this is headed?) Don’t have a furry friend of your own? Look at your local shelters for adoption or fostering options. It’s a win-win for both of you!

Don’t Be Ashamed to Seek Help

Admitting you’re struggling can be challenging, but there’s absolutely no shame in it. Try confiding in a trusted friend or family member. Talking to someone about your concerns can help process your feelings and may help reduce some of the stress you’re feeling.

If you’re concerned about your mental health, you should seek help from a medical or mental health professional. A great place to start is by connecting with your primary care doctor.

 Stay Calm and Breathe On

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