Mental health tips can sound like a grueling ritual of self care that's particularly hard for those in recovery from any kind of addiction. Feeling good, feeling serene, being happy are emotional states that have been missing during substance and alcohol use. But also missing have been the ability to take care of everyday tasks and stay in a positive mood. Self care in every form has be recovered over time.
It takes practice to find ways to experience pleasure and feel serenity. I struggle with keeping up. I’m not ashamed to admit that sometimes my fridge is full of groceries and sometimes I run out and it takes me a week to refill. Sometimes I can’t work out for a few days, or a week, sometimes I’m too tired from work and life to act on other recovery activities that help me. So, what are some small things I do when I need a quick mood pick-me-up, and I have to find the easiest thing possible? I’m glad you asked.
These are my favorite mental health boosts that require little effort but make enough difference to notice.
1. Laugh, a lot is the number 1 mental health tip
Laughter is my favorite medicine. I’ve survived many, many heart-wrenching times in my life by binge-watching sit-coms, watching funny movies old and new or reading something hilarious. These days we have Netflix comedy specials, youtube everything, and even specific Instagram accounts will have me amused for a while. Force yourself to at least turn on the tv or computer and start something great. In my experience, I’m out of my head and into something better quickly. Here’s a list of great Netflix shows if you need help.
2. Spend time with a furry friend
I have two dogs, so it’s easy. If you have a pet, take a few minutes and focus on them. Your animals know when you're happy and sad. Even more, your emotions can affect them too. Almost every healthy dog wants to be walked, fed and cuddled. Maybe take the scenic route for your next walk and you can both smell the flower, share mealtime with him or her, and a nice cuddle with a furry friend never hurt anyone.
3. Practice forgiveness with all your heart and soul
Practicing forgiveness is weird, no doubt. However, I have a practice a ritual where I include into my prayers and meditations the people I thought had done me wrong. By wishing them everything I wanted for myself, I found myself happier and healthier. In case you don’t believe me, here’s an article on why forgiveness is vital from the Mayo Clinic.
4. Sit in the sun
I live in Southern California so finding sunshine is not hard for me, and I don’t mean to make it sound insensitive to those in harsher climates. But, it's Memorial Day Weekend. Summer's here for everyone, so there’s a ray of hope for everyone to find that beam of gold to enrich us. Obviously, you should wear sunscreen and a hat. But sunshine is healthy for you, and here’s an article from Forbes that tells you why.
5. Treat yourself to something delicious
When I say treat yourself to something delicious, this means different things to different people. If you’re maintaining a healthy diet, I don’t recommend doing something that will make you sick. But, when you think comfort food, what comes to mind? Sometimes a lovely Matzoh Ball Soup does the trick, and sometimes I need an ice cream cone. Depends on my mood, but small amounts of safe self-soothing with food can be quite nice. Here’s a link to our very own Co-Dependent in the Kitchen’s Cookbook. It’s got lots of fun recipes in there if you’re looking for something new.
Give one, or all a shot, and let us know what you think. We're working on our healthy lifestyles, and we want to know what works for people.