5 Things Debra Bailey, Ph.D. Discusses How to Take Care of Your Mental Health and Well being
Actively taking steps to take care of your mental health and well being is important. Although sometimes life can get busy, and this gets forgotten, it is essential always to be mindful of your mental health and well being. It is, however, understandable that sometimes doing big things like taking a vacation or changing jobs can be stressful. We caught up with Debra Bailey, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist based in West Hartford, Connecticut and asked her what small things people can do daily to take care of their mental health and well being. She had five tips:
Talk to a Friend
It may sound simple, but this is one of the most powerful ways you can protect your mental health and well being, says Debra Bailey, PhD. As human beings, we are relational and rely a lot on social connections to cope with situations. When we become isolated and unable to talk to others, internal pressures start piling up, which can lead to mental health problems. Talking to a friend, especially about the challenges you are facing, helps you build up mental and emotional connections. These connections help you see problems from a different perspective and help you know that you are not alone.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation is closely associated with mental health problems. When you get inadequate sleep or sleep at irregular times, this could impact your mental health and well being negatively. When you sleep, your brain defragments and regenerates, helping maintain clarity and soundness of mind. Without sleep, your brain acts like a computer that’s never switched off — sooner or later, the computer gets overwhelmed and starts to malfunction. Debra Bailey, Ph.D., has this advice — try to sleep and wake up at the same time each day; this helps balance your sleep cycle, allowing your brain to rest, and try to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night.
Eat Healthy Meals and Exercise
You have heard this saying, “You are what you eat.” When it comes to mental health, says Debra Bailey, Ph.D., this is crucial. Healthy meals ensure your brain has all the nutrients it needs to function well. Such nutrients include Omega oils, B-complex vitamins, and micro nutrients like magnesium. Exercising is also essential to mental health and well being. At least thirty minutes of exercise each day can make a world of difference to your mental health and well being, says Debra Bailey, Ph.D.
Ask for Help
Asking for help can sometimes seem a sign of weakness. Many people suffering from mental health problems do not seek help because they feel it is a sign of weakness and an inability to “fix” their problems. When it comes to protecting your mental health and well being, asking for help when you get stuck, whether at work or in life, is essential to helping you cope. By asking for help, you enlist others to help you deal with the problems you are facing.
Take a Break
Downtime is important, says Debra Bailey, Ph.D. In those moments, when you feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, taking a step back can help you see things from a new perspective. When you do not take a break, you risk experiencing burnout, a condition where symptoms of depression, anxiety, and a general inability to cope can creep in. Keep in mind taking a break does not always mean taking a long vacation — it can mean closing your eyes for ten minutes and taking deep breaths to clear your mind.
There you have it, five small things you can do every day to protect your mental health and well being. As you practice these steps, remember to be on the lookout for others, to be available when they need to talk, to encourage them to get enough sleep, eat well and exercise, to be ready to help when they ask for it and to remind others to take a break when you see them pushing too hard.