It’s no secret that mental health is a topic that isn’t always easy to talk about. But the fact is, mental health matters – for each and every one of us. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
Improve Your Mental Health With These Tips
Globally, one in seven 10-19-year-olds experiences a mental disorder, accounting for 13% of the global burden of disease in this age group. Here are some ways that can help you improve your mental health.
Get enough sleep
Most people need around eight hours of sleep per night. Consider going to bed and waking up at the same time each day to help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm. How much sleep you get depends on your age.
- 6-12 years old: 10-13 hours of sleep per night
- 13-18 years old: 8-10 hours of sleep per night
Eat a healthy diet
Eating nutritious foods helps your body to function at its best. A healthy diet is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar. For specific diets by age and stage of life, check out this article. Water is also essential. On average, a child or adolescent should drink 6-8 cups of water a day.
Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. A moderate amount of exercise is the key to maintaining good mental health. Get up and be active in any way. Exercise doesn’t always mean lifting weights, it could just be taking a 30-minute walk. As long as you are up and moving, that is all that matters!
Take Breaks when you need them
When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a few minutes to yourself to relax and rejuvenate. Taking breaks can help you stay focused and productive.
Connect with others
Spending time with loved ones, participating in activities you enjoy, or volunteering for a cause you care about can all help improve your mental health. These activities allow you to interact with others and feel connected to something larger than yourself.
Seek professional help if needed
If you’re struggling with mental health issues, don’t be afraid to talk to a parent about seeking out professional help. A therapist can provide guidance and support that can make a big difference in your life.
Spend time in nature, and allow yourself to soak up the beauty and peace that it offers. Research shows that time spent in nature can help reduce stress and improve mental well-being.
Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. It can help you focus on the present and let go of negative thoughts about the past or future.
Make time for activities you enjoy
Doing things you enjoy can help increase your overall happiness and satisfaction with life. Make sure to schedule time for activities that make you happy, such as reading, spending time with friends, or playing your favorite sport.
Be accepting of yourself
Accepting yourself for who you are is an important part of maintaining good mental health. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake or don’t meet your expectations. Remember that everyone is imperfect and that mistakes are part of life.
At Aware, we want to raise awareness for child and adolescent mental health. For more information visit aware.com/giving-back.