It’s World Mental Health Day and we are excited to kick off this global conversation and help you make time for yourself with all new content geared around topics like “10 Ways to Have More Free Time”, “How To Stay Mentally Strong When Raising Kids”, “5 Reasons Why You Should Meditate” and how all these things relate to mental health.
We will be talking this week about the different human services available, how to deal with mental health conditions, mental illnesses (and how to get treatment), your physical health, trauma and how to overcome it, resources of things you can do within your communities to get out of the rut, and even treatment programs that may be available.
If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or just need more free time to take care of yourself, it is important to keep in mind that there are many things you can do to have free time and take care of your mental health.
You may be thinking “I don’t have any free time” but the reality is that everyone has 24 hours each day – how we spend those hours determines whether they will be productive or not.
Take care of your physical health:
Our body is a vessel for our mind and any neglect will eventually lead to an unhealthy lifestyle which impacts the free time we have available to us.
Taking care of our physical needs includes not skipping meals, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated with water, getting regular exercise, and maintaining good hygiene.
Take care of your mental health:
It is important to take the time each day for our mental health. Self-care of your mental health can include anything from reading a book, meditating or praying, spending quality time with friends and family members you love, listening to music or a podcast that makes you happy, exercising in some way (even if it’s just a brisk walk), or even laying down to just be in the moment.
The National Institute of Health states that things like regular exercise, eating healthy, and making sleep a priority affect your mental health just as much as your physical health.
Spend quality time on your social well being:
Whether it be lovers or friends, spending time with those who are important to us strengthens the relationship and improves our mental health, while taking free time away from using social media or other negative influences.
Get rid of distractions:
Some things that might be distracting and play a negative role in our mental health are TV, nail-biting/chewing fingernails, and scouring the internet for hours on end.
Keep in mind that the more distractions you have in your life, the more your mental health can suffer in some cases.
Learn to identify irrational thoughts:
When we have irrational thoughts or severe mood swings it can be difficult to come up with a plan that makes sense for our mental health and this may be a diagnosable mental illness. This is because it is so easy for our irrational thoughts to take root when they provide us with a sense of justification for our mental health problems. It’s okay to seek help.
One way to combat this is by working on replacing these beliefs with rational ones. You’ll know you’ve changed your belief when time is spent productively.
Don’t be afraid to say “no”:
Being able to identify your priorities in life will help prioritize tasks so that “no” becomes easier when necessary and you’re able to better perform daily tasks that actually matter.
Not being afraid to turn down free offers can lead to more free time and better care of our mental health! It may be hard saying “no” initially, but once mastered this skill can benefit many areas of life.
Take up a new hobby/learning something new:
Whether learning anything from how to use excel spreadsheets, taking up photography, or learning a new language – free time is free for something!
Take advantage of online resources like Udemy or Youtube Academy – seriously I’ve learned some pretty cool things from watching YouTube videos. Focus on featured topics that revolve around what you’re interested in. Even the National Institute of Health put out a piece talking about how doing leisure activities we enjoy are associated with physical and psychological well-being.
Learn what self-care means for your mental health:
While one person’s idea of self-care might be getting away on the weekend with their loved ones, another might find that sitting alone at home watching Netflix helps them relieve tension after a long day at work.
There are many different ways we all like to focus on our mental health so make sure to identify what works best for you (and schedule this into your life!)
Take things slow:
Life has taught us that there isn’t always enough time in the day which leads us to try to take on free time-killing tasks so we can check them off our list.
But this isn’t always the best plan of action because it leaves us feeling overwhelmed and overworked which takes away from free time during the weeks to come. NIH talks about how
Take a step back for your mental health:
Sometimes we get so caught up in free time-killing activities, our mental health suffers.
If this happens, take some free time for yourself and think about things from a different perspective – whether it’s seeing something with new eyes or taking an extended period off (without feeling guilty).
We all go through things throughout our lives that mold us into the person we are, and allow us to grow into who we will become. The most important piece of anything when it comes to developing a strong sense of self-care towards our mental health is identifying issues and knowing that there is helping out there. Your mental health problems don’t have to bring you down. A mental illness is not something that we control or have any say in, but we can work towards improving ourselves to live a happier and healthier life.
There are human services that exist that can not only provide the care you need, but they help to get there.
Feeling Sad is Not a Mental Illness:
Feeling sad is a normal emotion that everyone experiences, but it should go away after an hour or two. If you are feeling down and haven’t been able to shake those feelings for more than 24 hours, seek help from a mental health professional about your concerns. Talking to someone helps determine the issue so you can start working to resolve it.
Addressing Mental Health Problems
To take care of our mental health, we need to take care of ourselves first. Seeking the proper help from someone who is trained to help you can drastically shift your mindset from believing things cannot get better and help you learn to handle stress more productively. Your true thinking can be shifted by just taking on some of these daily tasks, getting involved in school or out in your communities.
There’s no shame in seeking mental health treatment as many people have been able to find relief from their problems by doing so. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
We all have free time, it’s just a matter of what we do with that free time. Whether you want to spend free time doing things for other people or taking care of yourself, your mental health relies on the balance between helping others while also caring about yourself.
You have only so much time in the day to do each of these, but take it in strides and you’ll see how it can impact your life.
The important thing is understanding that your mental health is more important than anything. Take care of it!
Josh Chretien is the boyfriend of Josh York, and a founder of the organization. After spending a little over 5 years in the Marines, he decided to get out and fulfill life, which led to later meeting Josh York, and he now runs his own company, Priceless Consulting LLC and this foundation, The Joshua York Legacy Foundation.