Our government explains some of the mental disorders that people live with, noting: “Mental disorders comprise a broad range of problems, with different symptoms. However, they are generally characterised by some combination of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others. Examples are schizophrenia, depression, mental retardation and disorders due to drug abuse. Most of these disorders can be successfully treated.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a direct negative effect on the increase in the number of people who found themselves diagnosed with mental disorders.
WHO reports: “The Covid-19 pandemic has created a global crisis for mental health, fueling short and long-term stresses and undermining the mental health of millions. Estimates put the rise in both anxiety and depressive disorders at more than 25 percent during the first year of the pandemic. At the same time, mental health services have been severely disrupted and the treatment gap for mental health conditions has widened.”
Although family history, genetics and life experiences are some of the uncontrollable factors that play a role in one’s mental health, there are habits one cant adopt to influence their mental health for the better.
Here are seven practical ways to protect your mental health daily:
1. Get enough sleep
Healthline suggests that quality sleep is not only important for physical health but also for mental health. High-quality sleep involves avoiding caffeine after 15:00, having the same sleeping schedule and getting eight hours of sleep.
2. Be physically active
Just like sleep, exercise benefits one both mentally and physically. According to Better Health, exercise has the ability to boost your mood, concentration and alertness. It can also help to give you a positive outlook on life. And if the gym isn’t your favourite place, going for a leisurely walk or activities like stretching and yoga are some options to consider.
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3. Take breaks
Unwinding is an essential habit that will improve one’s mental health and plays a significant role in reducing stress and having fun in life. While eating out or spending time with friends and family are some good ways to unwind, taking breaks and going for a walk or doing yoga in between working or studying will help to reduce stress too.
4. Be mindful and be present in every moment
Paying more attention to the present moment has the ability to improve your well being and help you understand yourself better, according to NHS. A great way to do this is by starting your day by writing down a list of things you are grateful for, noticing your surroundings, accepting things for how they are and not what you want them to be and spending time with people who you feel happy and loved around.
5. Learn new skills
NHS also suggests that learning a new skill improves one’s wellbeing by helping you to build a sense of purpose, assisting in connecting with others and boosting self-confidence.
6. Pay attention to what you think about
The way we feel is greatly influenced by the way we think about things, therefore, it is important to be aware of what we think about and to try to always think positively so we can be in a better mood. Thinking positively also involves not being too harsh on yourself and avoiding self-judgements.
7. Limit the time you spend on social media
Social media has been proven to worsen the mental health of people because they constantly put pressure on themselves by comparing themselves with others. Effective ways of cutting back on social media usage is by keeping your phone in the drawer or far while you sleep, finding activities that will distract you and turning off notifications on your phone.
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