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  • Sara

Setting up a Good Mental Health Routine

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

Maintaining mental health and well-being much like training for a marathon – it is a long process, there will likely to be bumps in the road, and we need to check in with ourselves along the way. Training for a marathon takes grit and determination, which is exactly what we need to preserver in our journey.


When working on your mental health, it is important to have a strong foundation. You’ll need to set up a good routine that focuses on improving your mind, body and soul holistically. Routines help us feel more in control of ourselves and our well-being. They also allow us to feel accomplished at the end of each day because we have a mental check-list to manage and can more easily celebrate our successes.


When routines become second-nature, we can move through the motions, taking care of ourselves without even putting in the mental effort it might take in the beginning. It takes 21 days to create a habit. So, in theory, if a routine is following for at least three weeks, it will reach this point, and it will be simple to stick to for a long time to come.


When we consider mental health routines, of course, we want to work in activities that feed the mind, body and soul. We want to make space for things that fill our cup so no matter how unpredictable life can be, we'll know how we'll be able to stay cool, calm and collected, minimizing anxiety wherever possible.


Of course, routines aren't perfect. Because people aren't perfect. But having one in place helps take a lot of the guesswork out of what we're going to do each day to take care of ourselves. A good mental health routine has five core tenants: sleep, diet, exercise, self-care, and support.


Get Enough Sleep – Sleep is at the very core of any healthy body. If you don’t get enough sleep, you will be more susceptible to illness and less able to take on the challenges of the day. Cognitive functioning and decision-making suffer, it's difficult to remember to do things, and you'll have no energy to take care of your mental health. Basically, not getting this part of the process down will keep you from being able to take on the rest.


Make sure that you are giving yourself enough hours each night and that you are also getting quality sleep. Disrupted sleep, such as it taking a long time to drift off, not staying asleep through the night and even sleeping too long are all insufficient.


Some ways to ensure that you get a good night’s rest is to avoid screen time before bed, have a consistent nighttime routine, stick to a regular sleep schedule, and stop hitting snooze. You may also want to go for a nighttime walk or jog, take up some evening yoga or Pilates or get into the routine of drawing a warm bath before bed. These are all ways to relax the mind enough to get sleepy. Making those small changes will be much easier said than done, of course, so take it one day at a time and set small goals for yourself to improve.


Stick to a Healthy Diet – Our gut health is linked to our mental health, which means that what we eat has an impact on our emotional well-being. Eating the right balance of foods and staying properly hydrated can go a long way. Cooking with friends, family or a romantic partner can make things more fun and offer the extra bonus of spending time with the people you care about.


Exercise Regularly – Having a consistent workout schedule increases overall happiness through endorphins. It also helps with regulating sleep and giving you much-needed energy to get through your day. You might plan to split up your workout routine, doing half an hour in the morning and half an hour of a lower-key plan at night to unwind. However you're able to fit in exercise, it's better than not doing it at all.


Practice Self-Care – Self-care is meant to be anything that you can do for yourself to take time to breathe, relax, and alleviate stress. For some people, setting aside time to work on chores around the house and cross off things on a to-do list is their form of self-care. For others, taking a bath, reading a book, or going for a walk serve as better options.

Find Support – As you move throughout your mental health journey, you will need support. It can be helpful to have an accountability partner that checks in to see how you are doing with your goals. It is also beneficial to have people in your life that you can go to when you need to talk about something.


Remember, strong mental health starts with putting into place a solid foundation. You can do this by focusing on the five tenants above. Find ways to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle and your mind will thank you.

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