19 Tips to Improve Your Mental Health in 2019

It’s days like this, when I am beaten down, unmotivated, questioning, irritable, and my demons are getting to me that I seriously take a look at what I am doing to improve, or at least maintain, my mental health. We are all guilty of at least a few bad habits, or we wouldn’t struggle as much as we do. One of those habits is beating yourself for every ounce of weakness or hurt. That hurt is beautiful and powerful. Every bit teaches you something, so listen. Weakness is also a lesson; a lesson reminding us of our strength. Even those tears we are so afraid to shed and that ache in our heart that we push away with everything in us is an asset, a tool, a spark, a journey, a blessing.

There is so much we do to push against these beautiful things. We continue to compare ourselves to others. We succumb to the pain, and stay in bed all day when we need it the least. We smile, and hide the battle from those who could help us most. We even lie to ourselves about it; however, you cannot mend or heal something you do not acknowledge. Sometimes that hard, ragged, snot-draining cry is what we need most, and we need someone to hold our hand while we do it. Sometimes, we need them to see the pain and we need to feel them embracing you with all your cracks exposed. Let them acknowledge the beauty in that moment of intense vulnerability. It is scary as hell, but it is worth it. You are worth it.

With all the pain and hurt we feel every day, it can be hard to remember to keep up with our emotions and take good care of ourselves. We forget that there is something good in every day, including the worst ones. You may have to look hard, and you may have to remind yourself, time and time again, but there is something good there, something helping you or a lesson to learn, something to cherish. This is hard for everyone. You are not alone. No, really, you are not alone. I promise, but you must do the work to believe it. It is okay that that is hard sometimes, but push past it, and remind yourself every moment you need it, because we often forget that it is the little things that add up to the big ones. It is the little bumps and dips in the road that make a journey worthwhile.

For days like this, the harder ones, and the days of relief, here are some tips to help you keep improving every day, because you are worth it.

  1. Smile. I cannot stress the incredible power of a smile enough.
  2. Open the windows! Let the light in and feel it warm up your heart.  
  3. Get some plants! Flowers, succulents, cacti, little house bushes, it doesn’t matter, but try it out.
  4. Straighten up every once in a while. We live hectic lives but taking the time to do a little Spring cleaning sometimes can be so liberating. It can help silence the chaos and ease the mind.
  5. Keep a journal. There is so much clarity to be found within the scribbles on a journal page. I encourage you to write with a pen; just let the words flow and let go of the need for perfection. Your journal is a safe place for your fears, dreams, grievances, and whatever else you need.
  6. Unplug for a while. Logging off social media occasionally is a great way to reconnect with the present moment and take a breath.
  7. Find an anthem. Some songs just jive with us. Find yours and play it when you need a boost, you have a bad day, or just to get your body and mind moving!
  8. Start your day with an intention. One of my favorite parts about a yoga practice is the meditation at the beginning when you set your intention for that session. It gives the practice purpose and power. Imagine starting every day like that!
  9. Mediate. There is something inspiring and calming about sitting in silence and living presently. I struggle with finding a quiet mind, but I have learned to modify my meditation practices. I have learned to listen to my breath, the sounds around me, repeat a mantra, and let whatever thoughts enter my mind drift by without dwelling on them. I return to the present each moment.
  10. Physical activity. I know, everyone says running, working out, or even going for a walk is a great way to increase endorphins and help promote mental health, but take it from someone who won’t even run to greet her friend, that it is worth it. The key is to find the right activity for you. For me, yoga has been the best thing to help me find peace of mind and improve my mental health.
  11. Take the chance and open up to someone. There is nothing better than feeling someone’s love as you fall apart and knowing, without a doubt, that they are there for your and they see you. To share that vulnerability is to share pieces of your soul, which is terrifying, but gratifying.
  12. Read or go to school; invest in your future and mind. Take free classes. Learn a language. Read a mystery and try to guess the ending. Hell, do a puzzle. Unplug and reengage your mind.
  13. Take the right kind of time for you. Retail therapy isn’t always therapeutic, sleeping too much can be unhealthy, and a lot of alone time can be detrimental. Look for balance and ask yourself what you really need, not always what you want.
  14. Invest in your emotions. When you come across pain, terror, guilt, and any other emotion that scares you –even intense joy –investigate and allow it to come over you, but then let it go. Emotions are powerful and worth validating. To accept and release your emotions is to live presently, vulnerably, and powerfully.
  15. Acknowledge when its time to let something or someone go, no matter how painful it is. Be brave and strong enough to choose what is truly best for you. 
  16. Greet the darker sides of your mind with understanding, forgiveness, and intent to work through it. This may be hard, but to love yourself means also embracing the mistakes, the black spots, and the demons.
  17. Set short-term goals leading to your major long-term goals. Setting small goals overrides your brain and triggers the reward system, providing you with more gusto and will to go after your dreams.
  18. Celebrate the little accomplishments whenever you can, because they always add up.
  19. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion. As far as we know, this is the only life we have, and it is a time to make mistakes and grow.  
  20. All these tips take strength and courage in some way or another, but all of them are worth it because you are. Never tell yourself overwise.

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