Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety have been on the rise in recent years. The World Health Organization recently reported a 26% increase in mental health disorders due to COVID-19, as millions of people are now living with grief and loneliness.
Mental health treatment can be costly, too. In Australia alone, the public spends $9 billion per year to treat and manage their mental health.
If you suspect you are living with a mental health condition, you should speak to your general practitioner or a licensed therapist. They can help diagnose you and create a plan for a healthier future.
You can also make use of some holistic methods to enhance well-being. These simple changes can steer you away from spirals and help you adhere to the plan that your GP or therapist has created for you.
Your diet can have a profound impact on your mood, energy, and mental well-being. Researchers from Deakin University even speculate that gut bacteria and nutrition-based treatments may help alleviate symptoms related to mental and neurological conditions.
Try to avoid highly processed foods that contain refined sugars and artificial additives. These foods can lead to inflammation and may unsettle your hormone levels.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to eat perfectly to have a good diet. Rather, you should focus on building healthy habits by eating three times a day and drinking plenty of water. This will help you fill up mood-boosting staples like grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
Regular exercise can help you break out of a funk and rediscover your passion for life. People who exercise regularly report better mental health and lower rates of mental illness. Working up a sweat can sharpen your mind and help you focus on your daily responsibilities, too.
It’s important to note that exercise doesn’t have to be extremely strenuous. You don’t have to become an Olympic swimmer or triathlete to reap the rewards of moving your body — you just have to raise your body temperature and move in a way that suits your abilities.
Exercising can strengthen your social bonds, too. Joining a fitness class or sports society can help you meet like-minded people and increase your chances of sticking with it.
If you’re unsure of how or where to start exercising, speak with your GP or an accredited physiotherapist. They’ll be able to suggest routines and help you connect with local clubs. If you’re goal-oriented, you can follow up on these sessions by keeping a diary to record your progress and maintain your motivation.
Connecting with nature can mitigate feelings of anxiety and rumination, too — this is particularly helpful if you struggle with thoughts. Even a short trip into nature can reap serious rewards and help you break negative thought patterns.
You can plan a larger, restorative nature trip, too. For example, if you’re planning an overseas holiday, you may want to consider a road trip to iconic US national parks like Capitol Reef, Glacier National Park, and Big Bend. You can also choose to explore national parks in the Australian bush, too. Popular destinations like Kakadu, Cape Range, and Great Sandy National Parks can help you reconnect with nature while you focus on your mental health and well-being.
Taking a holistic approach to your mental health and well-being can improve your quality of life and help you manage the symptoms associated with mental disorders. Even simple changes, like eating more berries and grains, can have a profound impact on your mood. Just be sure to work with a GP or accredited mental health professional who can help you create a treatment plan that works.