With what feels like a trying year behind us and unsteady ground before us, many have found themselves in positions of profound self-exploration. It is a challenge to the human spirit to question your habits, thoughts, and even beliefs. What you used to know no longer brings clarity, and the life you thought you wanted seems out of touch. If it feels like your body’s check engine light has been on for far too long, here are some easy, self-controlled considerations to better your mental health.
They say that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. The upside to routines is the habit-forming behaviors of meeting the needs in our lives. The downside to routines is we build habits that are not conducive to our mental health. A few beginning steps to ensuring your day-to-day practices align with stronger mental health include:
- Re-evaluating your daily habits
- Breaking old habits—do not perform the “bad” habits for at least 21 days
- Setting or making new habits that you know you have slacked on lately
Our daily habits spill into nutritional ones. Our nutritional intake pulls the strings that make us tick internally. If we cannot fuel our mind, body, and soul with the things they need, we operate on low efficiency, triggering the check engine light. Understand that nutritional habits are not one size fits all, as we all have different demands. Some great pointers to begin:
- Measure half your body weight in ounces for daily water intake
- Worry less about calories and more about the food source
The relationships and dynamics we set for ourselves and ultimately engage in are directly linked to our mental well-being. Everyone comes with a different set of luggage, with each bag filled differently from the next. When we take the time to understand the contents of our bags, we better understand just how much or how little the next person carries around.
Self: The relationship we have with ourselves is arguably the most imperative relationship one will ever have. Understanding the luggage, setting firm boundaries, and our overall wellness create a solid connection with oneself’s mental health.
Interpersonal: Interpersonal relationships fall next in the order of importance. Our family, friends, and even acquaintances are all interpersonal. We know these dynamics as our “support system.” This relationship dynamic tests our boundaries the most due to the closeness of the bond. Finding the balance between respect and personal boundaries builds the bridge between allowing your mental health to stay above water and not sinking to the expectations of your grandma or best friend.
Intimate: The level at which we choose to engage with another person comes and goes as our day-to-day lives move. If you struggle with the relationship between yourself and your family, chances are this third, more optional connection will not survive. Or even worse, consider if this relationship is toxic and abusive.
Gaining control of our mental health feels daunting. But we owe it to ourselves to show up every day as our best version. There is no right or wrong way to begin, as the considerations to better your mental health will look different for everyone. Start anywhere, set a goal, follow through for yourself, and the check engine light will turn off eventually.