15 tips to boost your mental health

Susanna Kahr

Good mental health not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to better physical health, too. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, when you have optimal mental health, you sleep better, perform work and school tasks more easily even lower your risk of physical illness. Even small changes can result in a boost in mental health and an improvement in how you feel, physically and emotionally every day. Here are 15 of our favorite tips for improving your overall mental health – each will give you a little boost and help you feel better at work, school or play.

Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep is not only a sign you are not feeling your best, it is also a leading cause of poor emotional and mental health. If you are tired, cranky, unmotivated or sluggish, you may not be ill – you could just be sleep deprived. Committing to a good night’s sleep for even a few days can help you discover if you simply need more rest – then make that a permanent habit.

Get some sun

Even 15 minutes a day can boost your mood and ensure you don’t fall victim to seasonal depression. Take a walk in the sunshine or sit outdoors for a short time each day and get the natural benefits of sunlight.

“There are wooded areas to walk around on your lunch break.” – anonymous employer review at Computershare

Start your day with coffee or tea

The caffeine in coffee or tea not only helps you become alert first thing in the morning, experts at Psychology Today say that a small amount of caffeine each day can help ward off depression and give your mood a lift. You don’t need to overdo, but a morning coffee can actually improve your mental well being.

Pet a dog

According to Newsweek, just 10 minutes a day provides significant stress reduction – so visit the shelter or spend some time with your own pet (or office dog) and reap the mental rewards.

Looking for a company where you can pet your dog even at the office? Check out these pet friendly companies in the U.S.!

Make time for a hobby

You don’t have to start a model train collection or take up knitting (unless those are things you truly enjoy) but making time for a hobby that you enjoy each week is essential, particularly if you work long hours or cope with a lot of stressors. From board gaming to reading and crafting, engaging in an activity you enjoy will keep you in a positive mood and allow you something to reflect on and look forward to.

Try something new

A novel new experience stimulates your curiosity and gives you a natural boost of energy – and elevates your mood. Something as simple as a new craft or activity can give you a lift that lasts for days.

“Very open minded to trying new things and continuing to learn and try new ways of working to be successful.” – anonymous employer review at TOPSHOP

End self criticism

If you’re your own worst critic, then it’s time to silence that nagging inner voice. If you are hyper critical of how you look, what you do and how well you perform, you’ll constantly feel run down. Instead of letting that inner voice get you down, replace negative thoughts with positive ones. It may feel strange to add affirming statements or positive messages to your own inner monologue, but over time it will become natural and you’ll feel far more positive.

Surround yourself with positive people

You are influenced by the people around you – if they are cheerful and optimistic you are more likely to be as well. Depressing, pessimistic people who complain about life are likely to trigger the same reaction in you.

“My colleagues are the best: We share great moments and work becomes easier!” – employer review at Intuit

Reflect regularly

Keep a blog, journal or other record of the things you are proud of, grateful for and that you want to examine. You’ll find that the quiet act of writing can help settle your mind and quell your concerns.

Eat well – most of the time

The occasional indulgence or “in a hurry” fast food meal won’t derail your mental health, but too many carbs and low-quality meals will make you feel sleepy and sluggish. Work in some protein, drink plenty of water and you’ll feel better both physically and mentally.

PwC provides free meals for their employees. Check them out on kununu!

Get some exercise

You don’t have to train for a marathon, but regular exercise a few times a week is ideal for decreasing both depression and anxiety. Exercise also gives a near immediate energy boost, making it an ideal way to start the day.

Plan ahead

If mornings are a source of anxiety, you can beat AM stress by planning ahead. Make sure your clothing is ready, anything you have to bring with you is by the door and you have a plan for breakfast – you’ll start the day right, not in a rush, and avoid excess stress.

Need some tips for a healthy morning routine? Check out our list!

Skip the alcohol

Alcohol is a party staple, but it is also a natural depressant, making you feel tired and unwell, according to the University of Michigan. Even worse, the hangover the next day will leave you dragging your feet and possibly even feeling guilty – stick to non-alcoholic beverages to bypass these uncomfortable effects.

Get a checkup

Adults need a well check once a year, but if you are feeling overwhelmed, tired all the time or anxious, it is a good idea to see a doctor. She can help determine if you have anything physical going on and give you some objective advice to help you feel better.

“You get annual medical checkup at company’s cost and also a good health insurance where deductible is very low when you compare it to health insurance you buy personally.” – anonymous employer review at ACCC

Take a break

Working hard is a virtue, but if you are on the go non-stop, you’ll start to feel burned out, fast. Build breaks into everyday tasks and give yourself time to relax every day. You’ll still get plenty done, without the excess stress.

Stay in touch

Your family and friends are a powerful support network, and if you make the commitment to spend time together, you’ll benefit emotionally too. No family nearby? Consider joining local activities and meet new people for a powerful mood elevator.

 

Mindfully focusing on one or more of the above tips can help you convert it into a healthy habit – resulting in better overall mental health. Taking the time to reflect on your feelings and emotional state can help you ward off some of the most common problems caused by less than stellar mental health and ensure you feel your best.

 

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Do you feel like you have enough time to reflect on your emotional wellbeing? Do you feel like you have enough support on offer to help you through your workday? Tell us all about it in a review for kununu, one of the world’s largest employer rating platforms.  

 

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