Over the last two years, mental health has had a significant decline. The COVID-19 global pandemic forced everyone to stay at home, isolating themselves from their loved ones. Life as we once knew it had changed for the foreseeable future.
According to a recent article, depression rates in the United States have more than tripled since the pandemic. They jumped from 8.5% to 32.8%. This means 1 in every 3 adult American suffers from some form of depression.
While the world is beginning to open back up to some type of normal, it’s been heavy on our minds to find ways to change our lives and improve our mental health.
Let’s take a look at some of the lifestyle changes you can start making to help improve your mental health.
1. Reduce Levels of Stress
Stress is a huge factor when it comes to our mental health. It can lead to burnout, which causes both mental and physical reactions.
It can impact your immune system, cause acne breakouts, increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke, and induce the overall aging process of the body.
There are several ways to help reduce your levels of stress. Meditation has been incredibly beneficial for many people. Taking an online yoga class or moving your body with regular exercise can help, too.
2. Work On Your Confidence
Depression and other mental health symptoms can take a toll on our confidence. It causes us to withdraw from others. Now is the time to do things for yourself to help improve your confidence levels.
Experiencing a lot of acne? Try a tretinoin cream so you can feel confident about your skin again. Hate the way your clothes fit? Treat yourself to a new outfit that makes you feel great about yourself. Have trouble speaking on work Zoom calls? Take an online masterclass on the art of public speaking.
3. Try Therapy
Everyone can benefit from a little therapy in their lives, especially if you feel like your mental health is on the decline. Professional therapists, psychologists, counselors, social workers, and psychiatrists are trained to help others with their mental health.
While finances can be a bit of a hindrance, there are several affordable ways to obtain help. Platforms like Talkspace and Betterhelp offer affordable, easy access to different types of therapists around the country.
Plus, they now work with many insurance companies, which can save you even more money on your regular visits.
4. Switch Up Your Diet
Foods that are high in sugar like sweets, soda, and even carbohydrates are linked to increasing levels of depression and anxiety. If you’re feeling low, it might be time to switch up your diet.
Instead of eating excess red meat, switch to foods high in omega-3 like salmon or tuna. Rather than eating high-fat dairy products like milk, switch to almond or oat milk instead.
5. Get More Sleep
Have you ever woken up from a terrible night of sleep and felt unable to control your mood?
Feeling tired due to a lack of sleep can cause anger, frustration, and irritability. It can also impact your ability to concentrate on a task as well as decrease your memory.
To help you sleep, try getting a diffuser for your bedroom and use lavender oil. It induces melatonin in the body which is what helps you to rest. Make sure your bedroom is rid of any excess light and noise so it’s distraction-free.
Also, avoid using your phone for thirty minutes to an hour before you intend to go to sleep. The blue light from the screen causes your brain to be more active, which makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
If you’re experiencing multiple nights without sleep, consult with your doctor as this could be a more severe issue.
There are several lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your mental health. Staying active, meditating, and getting a good night’s sleep is just the start. You have to be proactive with your mental health as it’s a constant part of your livelihood.
If your mental health continues to decline, make sure to speak to a mental health professional as soon as possible. Sometimes it requires additional assistance with medication or extra therapy beyond small lifestyle changes.