Mental health, the term used to describe a person’s state of mind and their emotional well-being. Mental health is just as important as physical health, which means it needs to be taken care of too! It’s easy for anyone to get out of hand with school work or stress if they do not practice exercising their mental health. I personally suffer from anxiety, depression and high levels of stress. Although it can sometimes be hard to get things done that I need to because of my mental state, there are things that I can do in order for me to help myself everyday. Here are some ways you can help yourself mentally:

1) Exercise: Exercise helps relieve stress and anxiety by releasing endorphin’s into your body, which gives you the feeling that everything in your life is okay. This will also release any built up anger or sadness that might have been building up inside you over time. The best exercise for this purpose is working out at a gym or going on a run outside (if it isn’t raining). If you don’t like working out at gyms or running outside then try doing yoga (don’t hate!). Yoga will take a lot longer than working out, but after an hour long yoga session I feel so much better about myself and my day than if after an hour long workout session! You could also try playing sports such as volleyball/soccer/tennis. You need to watch your mental health just like you watch your physical health.

2) Talk to people: It’s so easy to shut yourself out from the world when you feel alone, but it isn’t healthy! I know that during my hardest times with my mental illness that it is almost impossible for me to talk to a stranger about what’s going on in my life or how I’m feeling. That was until I started talking more and more about it. Talking can be such a relief and will help bring up your self-esteem if you’re having problems with this at all (which we all do sometimes). You can also talk to friends, family members, professionals or anyone else who’s willing to listen. If someone is saying something that gets under your skin try not think about it too much and just let them know how they are making you feel; this will help them understand what they said was hurtful in a way so they’ll be more careful next time. It’s okay to get mad. You don’t have to be a “professional” or “everything is fine” all the time. Just let it out and move on.

3) Take a break from social media: I know that a lot of us love our social media, but sometimes it can be really distracting and addicting! I personally go on my phone way too much but I’m working on putting my phone down more during the day so that I can focus more intently on school work, drawing/painting projects, etc… It’s okay if you want to use it for 30 minutes instead of an hour or if you only check social media once every few hours instead of every half hour; just try to slow down and take breaks from it. Social media can sometimes be toxic and it is very easy to get caught up in drama or arguments that aren’t even your own. Be careful!

4) Have a hobby: Hobbies are amazing because they give you something fun to do, but also something productive. It’s easy to become unproductive with school work, hobbies will help you keep on top of things and make you feel like everything is okay when it isn’t. You can paint/draw/write/play video games or even just watch a movie if that’s what makes you happy; the point is just doing something other than studying! I find that painting helps me so much during my hardest times with anxiety and depression because I’m able to express myself on paper instead of verbally (I’m terrible at expressing myself verbally). If there’s one thing my therapist taught me, it was how important self expression through art is for someone who suffers from mental illness or any kind of trauma. Try not to feel bad about this because everyone needs some kind of self-expression once in a while! Art has been proven time and time again by studies as well as personal experiences that art therapy really does help people heal themselves mentally (and physically too.)

5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help: This is so important for all people, especially those with mental health problems.

I am a huge advocate for mental health and I think we should all be more open to talking about it. At the end of the day, it’s okay not to feel okay. It’s okay to feel sad or angry or anything else you’re feeling. You can talk about these things with anyone you want and they’ll understand because everyone is going through something too!