This is a guest post written by Melissa Howard from http://stopsuicide.info/
For years, people ignored mental health and dismissed it as an issue only relevant to individuals living on the fringes of society. However, mental illness is far more prominent than many people initially assume. An estimated one in four adults in America experiences some sort of mental health struggle in any given year, with 400,000 suffering from an anxiety disorder. Furthermore, 800,000 people globally die by suicide each year, and 90 percent of those people were diagnosed with a mental health disorder.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, the most important thing to do is to reach out for help. Your physician or a counselor can provide you with tools and techniques that can help you cope with feelings of anxiety or despair. Your doctor may also be able to prescribe medication that corrects the neurochemical imbalances contributing to mental illness.
Of course, you may not have any issues with your mental health today, but there is always the chance on the horizon. By taking good care of yourself both mentally and physically, you can help prevent the onset of serious illness while promoting a happier lifestyle. Use the following self-care tips to reduce stress and be proactive when it comes to caring for your mental health.
Get Enough Sleep
The current president may brag about only needing four or five hours of sleep a night, but the rest of us would do well by catching more sleep than that. Sleep deprivation can have a seriously negative impact on your overall mental health, especially if you are already struggling with an issue. Practice good sleep hygiene and establish a bedtime routine that helps you relax by creating healthy habits that facilitate rest.
Take Time to Relax
Scheduling relaxation may seem counterintuitive -- after all, how relaxed can you be when you’re still adhering to an itinerary? However, making room in your schedule for relaxation helps establish the habit as a priority in your life. Start each day with meditation and carry that peaceful feeling with you the rest of the day. Make time before bed for a soothing soak with muscle-relaxing Epsom salt. Also, pamper yourself every now and then with a healthy massage that reduces pain and improves immunity.
Declutter the Home
A messy and cluttered home can make you feel anxious even when you don’t have much on your plate. Spend a weekend decluttering and releasing yourself from items that no longer serve you and your happiness. If you have items you just can't part with, find an inexpensive self-storage unit where you can put things until you're ready to decide if you can let them go. Just be sure to budget accordingly: the overall average price of a New York self-storage unit over the past 180 days is $93.28.
Just like you should take time to relax, it’s also important to make some space in your schedule to break a sweat. Exercise may not seem relaxing, but being active is essential for your mental health. It helps regulate neurotransmitters and blasts feel-good endorphins through your body to release stress and pain. It’s also a great way to improve your physical health and maintain weight, two things that are great for self-esteem.
Make Room for Loved Ones
Spending time with those you love may seem like a priority low on the list when you have a schedule full of work and responsibilities. However, friends and family make up a support system that provides a sense of security while preventing anxiety and depression. When you fail to spend time with loved ones, it’s easy to start feeling stressed and stranded. So, set up that dinner date with your best friend and call your mom -- for your health!
One in four adults in the United States struggles with their mental health. To prevent serious illness, it’s important to be proactive in stress management. Getting enough sleep, taking time to relax, decluttering the home, exercising regularly, and making room in your life for those you love are all great ways to prevent mental illness and promote a happier and healthier life.