Five-Step Mental Health Checklist
Now more than ever, the struggle with mental health is coming to the forefront of our everyday lives. 2020 has been one of the most challenging years for all the world, and the fear and worry has thrown most everyone into a mental health warzone. Here at Foods Alive, we believe that mental health is just as important if not more important than physical health. This guide may help you to reduce stress and take better care of your mind on a daily basis.
Sometimes you may feel like something is wrong or off, and you may not be certain why. This method may help with that feeling of being “off” and get back to feeling good. As humans, there are five basic needs that must be met, but with the craziness of life, we often forget these things. They are food, water, sleep, exercise, and connection.
The first two problems may seem simple, but they can easily go overlooked. “Hangry” has become a common phrase, but hunger may not always cause anger or irritability. It may cause tiredness, stress, or discomfort as well. Something as simple as a nutritious snack can turn your mood around for the better.
The same goes for drinking water. Your body may feel sluggish or uncomfortable if you are dehydrated, so a glass of water may work wonders on your day. Depending on your body’s needs, the recommended amount of water for you may be different than for someone else. You can see the article here for more hydration information!
Sleep is an integral yet mysterious component of mental and physical health. Lack of sleep or poor sleep can contribute to any uneasiness you may be experiencing. To feel better, there are a few long and short term things you can do. For a boost of energy right now, you can take a nap to get your day back on track. Be careful that you sleep for the correct amount of time, or it may hinder more than it will help.
To help you sleep better during the night, you could try to avoid screens 1 to 3 hours before bed or employ the use of blue light blocking glasses, more on those here. You can start a new practice of relaxation techniques before bed such as reading, meditation, or journaling. There are even certain foods that may promote a good night’s sleep, which you can read about here. If your sleep problem is interrupting your daily life, talk to your doctor for more help.
Exercise is also an important factor in mental and physical health. That does not mean that you have to spend hours in the gym every day. Whether your schedule is too busy, or your body cannot handle vigorous workouts, physical fitness looks different for everyone. Exercise can be whatever you want, from a fifteen-minute walk around the block to an intense HIIT workout at the gym. Just get up and move your body for a few minutes, and it may release some feel-good chemicals in the brain to lift your spirits.
Finally, the last of the five and possibly the most easily overlooked is connection. Now more than ever, this is difficult to fix for some. If you have done the other four and still feel off, simply ask yourself, “have I talked to someone I love today?” If the answer is no, you may need some connection in your day. Humans are social creatures and even the biggest introvert needs to feel connected to another person.
With the global situation right now, you may not be able to grab a coffee with an old friend or go to a relative’s house for a visit. Luckily, modern technology helps with this predicament. Take some time to call or video chat with someone you care about. A connection could take the form of emptying the dishwasher for your roommate or even texting someone hundreds of miles away. Something as small as a ping on your phone can brighten your day.
These five things are a great way to check up on yourself and help to take care of your mental health. Every time you use them, they will become a habit, so eventually, you won’t have to think about them. They’re a great way to center yourself and feel grounded during a busy day. If you have gone through your five things and you still feel off, there may be a bigger problem going on. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional for larger or ongoing problems.
Mental health is incredibly important, and it is crucial to know that you have resources. Below is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or you can online chat with a provider. This service is available 24/7 including holidays. You can also call 911 for any emergency situation.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 or https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
You are never fighting alone. Reach out if you need help, and be sure to take care of yourself as well. This list is a good starting point for mental health, but be sure that you listen to your own unique needs. Living a healthy life starts from within, and that means mental health too. Never ignore the signs of a mental health crisis. Together, we are stronger. Foods Alive is here to support you on your mental health journey.