Taking care of your mental health is just as important as maintaining your physical health. When you’re feeling down, stressed, or strung out, it can take a major toll on your overall well-being.
The Effects of Depression on Your Health
Depression can occur in just about anyone and everyone. We all get down sometimes, especially after a major tragedy. In fact, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that more than 16.1 million adults in America struggle with Major Depressive Disorder.
Depression affects not only your mood, but your appetite, sleep, sex drive, cognition, and ability to concentrate, according to research published in Current Neuropharmacology. It is also associated with an increased risk of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), dementia, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy, osteoporosis, and even cancer.
The Effects of Stress on Your Health
Stress is even more common than depression. A Gallup poll found that almost 80% of Americans report feeling frequent – if not daily – stress.
The American Institute of Stress lists some of the most common signs and symptoms are frequent headaches, grinding your teeth, stuttering, tremoring, back pain, and dizziness. Stress can also present itself as insomnia, an inability to concentrate, and frequent crying.
Just like depression, stress can have major effects on your physical health. An article published by Future Science OA found that chronic stress compromises the immune system, in addition to potentially causing long-term damage to your organs. This can lead to a number of illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other mental health conditions, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
The Real Way to Plan a Mental Health Day
Planning a mental health day is revitalizing. It gives you a day to just focus on you; clearing your mind, relaxing, and taking care of yourself. Taking a mental health day is like going for a well-visit at the doctors. It gives you the opportunity to check up on yourself and prevent feeling overworked, overwhelmed, or burnt out.
Decide on What You Need
Do you need a day to reflect on your life, or a day to unwind and take your mind off of things for a while? Perhaps you need a little fun or pampering. In any case, decide on what you need.
If you need to reflect, take time throughout the day to write out what’s on your mind and think as objectively as you can. Don’t hold yourself to your past – consider where you stand in the here and now and how you would like to go forward.
If life’s been piling up or you feel like you’re in constant motion, take a day to just relax. Put on your pajamas, kick your feet up, watch your favorite shows, listen to your favorite song, or keep your hands busy with some arts and crafts.
If you’ve been caught in the daily grind and the days are starting to blend, treat yourself to a little fun. Go out to your favorite restaurant for lunch, indulge in a little reasonable shopping, spend the day at the park, get your nails done.
Treat Yourself to a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is the most underrated yet most important key to good mental and physical health. Despite the adverse effects sleep deprivation has on your health, weight, safety, brain, and heart, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 35% of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of sleep, which is at least seven hours per night.
Start your mental health day off right by getting a good night’s sleep prior. Your brain and body will thank you. After all, they don’t tell you to “sleep on it” before making an important decision for the heck of it. Proper rest is essential to your cognitive abilities.
Lay Out Your Objectives
Writing a to-do list can help you clear your mind. It allows you to get everything out of your head and onto paper, alleviating the constant whirlwind of reiterating your chores and errands in your mind. Crossing items off of your to-do list helps you to keep track of what you’ve accomplished. It also motivates you to get more done, as it is satisfying to check off what you’ve completed.
However, it’s important not to hold yourself too closely to your to-do list. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Cut yourself some slack if you’re not able to complete everything you set out to do, and don’t base your self worth upon what you’ve accomplished. Laying out your objectives should be a healthy way to destress, not another source of stress.
Food is vital to our survival. A lack of food or an imbalanced diet can cause symptoms of depression and lead to additional stress. Chronic, unhealthy eating habits can affect your weight and ultimately cause diseases such as diabetes.
Start your day off right with a delicious, nutritious, balanced breakfast. Eating healthy doesn’t mean a boring diet. It just means getting the vitamins and proteins essential to surviving. Eat your veggies and opt for lean meats over red meats whenever you can. Nuts are also a wonderful source of protein and healthy fats, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan.
Exercise has wonderful, profound effects on both your physical and mental health. Don’t worry, you don’t have to drop and do twenty sit ups or pull ups if you don’t want to. Even going for light walks, a jog, or doing yoga is enough to get yourself up and active. According to Harvard Medical School, yoga helps you lose and maintain a healthy weight, lowers blood pressure, and lowers blood sugar. It can also help with depressive disorders and even cancer.
Give Your Friends and Family a Call
Even if you’re not feeling social, a little human interaction goes a long way. According to Medical News Today, face-to-face interaction reduces stress, pain, and increases the “feel-good” hormone dopamine in our brains. It also increases longevity and improves the overall quality of your life. So what are you waiting for? Give your friends and family a call! It’s probably long overdo, anyways.
Mental health is at the foundation of good physical health. Just like a well-visit at the doctors or a routine dental check-up, taking a mental health day is just another form of maintenance and self-care. Stress and depression are alarmingly common and have incredibly adverse effects on your wellbeing.
Both stress and depression can affect your weight, which can cause you to feel even more depressed or distressed over your figure. This can lead to a self-perpetuating cycle of bad habits and a slew of health conditions.
Head on over to our blog for more about fitness and physical health. If you are interested in learning more information about how we at Simonds Metabolics and Weight Loss can help you reach your ideal weight, please contact us.