Learning how to manage the ups and downs of your mental health is more important than ever before. Today, two in five Australians have experienced a mental disorder of some kind, and one in four young New Zealanders has experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress.
Overcoming mental health challenges can improve your long-term health and well-being. A few small changes could make all the difference. Attending therapy, practicing positive self-talk, and finding a better work-life balance can improve your self-esteem and help you get more out of life.
Small changes to your lifestyle can help you manage your mental health. However, self-help and healthy living are no replacement for professional guidance. If you suspect that you are living with issues like generalized anxiety or major depressive disorder, you should seek professional help.
Starting therapy may even give you the boost you need to improve other areas of your life. The benefits of therapy include:
- Better communication skills;
- Better sleep;
- Increased happiness and life satisfaction;
- Improved ability to manage addiction;
- Feelings of empowerment;
- Greater mental clarity and productivity.
When working with a mental health professional, you may receive extra guidance and be prescribed medication to help you manage your mental health. Medication for mental health is often demonized, but finding the right treatment for you can improve your self-esteem and help you live a fuller life.
High self-esteem is an important part of healthy living. Having great self-esteem can help you navigate life’s challenges and ensures that you are able to bounce back from whatever life throws at you.
You can develop authentic self-esteem by setting realistic goals for yourself and reaching out to supportive friends. Repeat positive mantras while working towards your goals and try to adjust your expectations when you’re feeling low.
We spend a lot of our time at work. A recent time-use survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the average adult spends between seven and 10 hours working per day. This leaves little time for rest and relaxation and can quickly lead to burnout.
Working away from home can have a particularly harmful impact on your mental health. Working long hours away from home can lead to sleep deprivation, social isolation, and anxiety.
Finding a better work-life balance can be difficult. Speak with your employer and ask about opportunities for flexible hours and remote work. Being able to choose when and where you work allows you to practice greater self-care.
Spend the time you saved commuting on simple acts like morning meditation and decluttering. Avoid the temptation to spend your free time on social media, and focus more attention on yourself and meeting your own needs.
Living a healthier lifestyle won’t make conditions like generalized anxiety or depression disappear. However, you can make it easier to manage your mental health by making small, positive changes to your current lifestyle:
- Drink more water before each meal to aid with weight management;
- Replace sugary drinks with tea and flavoured water;
- Spend time outside when the weather is good;
- Make more regular conversations with people.
These small changes can improve your physical, mental, and social well-being. Just a short conversation with someone you love can make a big difference to your mood. Volunteering or donating to a local charity can help boost your morale and make you feel more connected to your local community.
Everyone experiences the highs and lows of mental health differently. However, you can improve your ability to navigate life’s challenges by working with a mental health professional. They’ll be able to suggest lifestyle changes that raise your self-esteem and help you work towards your goals. You should also reach out to your employer and try to improve your work-life balance. Even small changes, like hybrid working, can make a big difference to your health and well-being.
This article was kindly submitted by Katie Brenneman.