Spring is in the air and many are thinking about ways to get outdoors and increase their physical activity. Whether they start walking, biking, or even roller blading, all are ways to help improve their physical health. How many of them have thought about improving their mental health though? According to the World Health Organization, “Mental health is an integral part of health; indeed, there is no health without mental health.” There are some easy ways to improve your mental health and well-being, so you are able to take on whatever spring may bring!
Following a healthy, balanced diet is not only beneficial to physical health, but also mental health. As the Mental Health Foundation states, “Your brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body.” Adding more fruit and vegetable portions per day plays a role in improving mental well-being. While consuming foods and drinks that contain sugar, artificial additives and caffeine has the opposite effect on mental health.
Along with diet, regular exercise is an important factor in improved mental health. Simply walking daily, when combined with nature and friends, can bring about positive emotions and can even help with mild forms of depression. Creating and achieving fitness goals can also boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Getting enough sleep each night and managing stress are additional factors for good mental health. Trying to go to bed and wake at the same time every day, establishing a bedtime ritual, and a good sleep environment contribute to a better night’s sleep and better well-being. Stress can sometimes affect our sleep, so finding ways to manage it is important. Yoga, meditation, and staying positive or smiling during difficult times may reduce stress. It also helps to have a network of support made up of family, friends, or co-workers.
Improving your mental health can be done at any time of the year. Think broadly about your mental well-being and aim for realistic changes that contribute to it. Good mental health comes from realizing your own abilities, coping with normal stressors in life, working productively, and contributing to your community.
Lori Atkinson, Operations Director for The Kim Foundation
Lori Atkinson joined The Kim Foundation in May 2015. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in Middle Level Education. She was an 8th grade English teacher in the Omaha Public Schools from 1992 – 2000, a stay at home mom for several years, and then started a small non-profit in her husband’s memory during 2010. Lori carries out many duties for The Kim Foundation which includes: scheduling presentations in the community, hosting booths at conferences, managing the Art & Creative Writing Contest, coordinating the School Resource Fair, organizing the Suicide Prevention PSA Contest, assisting with the annual luncheon, and participating in the coalition’s community outreach group. Lori is the proud mom of three children and is actively involved in her church.