Keeping Your Mental Health Happy

Keeping Your Mental Health Happy

By: Samantha Steiner


In order to maintain stability with your mental health, there are a few things that you need to do on a regular basis to keep yourself healthy in mind and body. I have put together a simple list of the things that I believe are the most important to keep your mental health happy and well balanced and most of all to keep you happy too!

  • Medications:
    • Take only as directed.
    • Make sure you always have enough refills.
      • Ask your doctor before you mix your medications with drugs or alcohol.
      • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before drinking or eating grapefruit juice products with your medications because it can interact with the way your meds work in your body.
  • Sleep:
    • Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.
      • Limit caffeine products.
      • If you take stimulants try not to take them later than 4-5pm.
      • Try not play on your phone, tablet, computer or watch TV within 60 minutes of going to bed because those items produce a blue light that can increase your brain activity.
  • Keep up with your Appointments:
    • Only cancel your appointments in emergency cases and make sure to reschedule them right away.
  • Your Feelings:
    • Let out your feelings and don’t bottle them up.
      • Talk to someone you trust.
      • Journal
      • Call the warmline (for Lehigh County Call 610-820-8451)
      • Text the Crisis line at 741-741
  • Know Your Triggers:
    • Make a list of your known triggers and the things that you can do to cope with your known triggers if you are faced with them.
  • Practice Different Kinds of Coping Skills/Relaxation Techniques:
    • Use and practice them often so that when you need them the most they are the most effective.
    • You will be able to recall more strategies under times of great distress.
    • You will be able to tell which ones are the most effective.
  • Eat Healthy, Well Balanced Meals:
    • Choose healthier options.
    • Less fast, fried and greasy foods.
    • Foods lower in fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar.
    • Drink lots of water, less soda, and less sugary sports drinks.
    • Smaller portion sizes.
  • Don’t Isolate:
    • Isolating is a major warning sign of an oncoming depression episode.
      • Even if you really don’t want to, try to talk to at least one person a day. Or leave your house at least once a day when you feel like isolating.
  • Take at least 30 Minutes a Day for Yourself:
    • Treat yourself to something you like even if it’s something small or seems silly. You have to take that YOU time to maintain your sanity and mental health especially if you are surrounded by people all day.
      • Take a bath.
      • Take a walk.
      • Play with a pet.
      • Read a book.
      • Listen to the music.
      • Or for the busy mom’s out there; sit on the toilet in peace!

Work vs. Life Balancing Tips

workbalance

Balancing a number of roles can be difficult, whether those roles are being a parent, partner, friend, employee, student, sibling, child or whatever else. At times, these different roles can compete for your time and attention.
I have listed some tips and strategies here that you might find helpful.

Tips for work-life balance

If you have taken on a new position (paid or unpaid), remember to pace yourself a little – it is easy to be enthusiastic and do more than is required, particularly when starting something new.  It is not unusual to want to please your boss and co-workers, or to be so excited about a new project that you become totally obsessed with. Again, try to pace yourself.  This will help ensure that other roles in your life are not neglected.

  • Use structure to provide some boundaries and routine.  For example, maintain some separation between work and home and try not to take work home with you. This will also give you a chance to wind down more effectively and relax after work.
  • Keep your regular sleep-wake cycle, that you have during your workdays, the same on your days off as well. To help keep your internal clock regulated, continue to get up within an hour of when you do during the week.
  • Plan to exercise, and go out with friends in the mornings to help keep this routine.  This can also help reduce feeling frustrated over having done nothing for the weekend.
  • Review how you are spending your time.  You might already keep some sort of a diary, or you could just note down how you spend your time over a 2 week block.  Look back at where your time was spent – it might show that there are important areas of your life that you would like to dedicate more time to.
  • Work and home life demands can fluctuate from time to time.  Being aware of the need for flexibility can be important in maintaining a healthy balance.
  • If you have been asked to take on some additional task (such as more work), think about what that will mean for you. How will you fit that in with your other tasks and roles?  Writing down the advantages and disadvantages of keeping things as they are vs. taking on the extra work can help.
  • Try to make schedules regarding things that you want to get done in a day. Be realistic though. Don’t put something like, “Monday from 6:00PM to 8:00PM; Read entire ‘Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy.”  instead write something like, “Monday from 6PM to 7PM; Read 30+ pages in ’50 Shades of Grey.”
  • Figure out what you want your priorities to be, not what you think they should be. Ask yourself, “If I could only focus on one thing in my life, what would it be?” That answer is your top priority. What would you focus on second? Third? Fourth? Fifth? You’ve now identified your top five priorities.
  • Try taking an hour out of every day to focus on yourself and just relax. Take some “Me” time.