There are many habits to improve mental health and as someone who’s suffered from depression I have worked on these habits over time to support my mental wellness when I’ve need it most.
For me the best way to improve mental health is through daily repetition and this all starts with habits.
Tips To Help You Stick To Your Mental Health Habits
Before jumping into the specific daily habits to improve mental health, let’s discuss ways to help you stick to your habits.
Small steps first
This means choose 1 or 2 things you can focus on and only do those.
You can always add more habits over time, but doing too much at once will make it more difficult to stick to a healthy habit.
Get support from family members or friends
Share what you’re doing and why. This way you can be more accountable and people can support your efforts to create health habits
Focus on your emotional health
Meaning think about what you really need right now.
If you’re trying to create a new habit that doesn’t improve your mental health – what’s the post?
So, choose a habit that is solving a problem you have today – that way you’ll see results faster, which will help you keep going.
Let’s get into it.
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1. Practice saying no
Especially to those who are asking too much.
Being a yes person can cause a lot of undue stress, especially if this means saying no to your own needs.
2. Be strong about your boundaries
Be mindful of your personal boundaries in all relationships whether at work, at home or with your partner.
By knowing your personal boundaries you can stand up for yourself and stay true to what’s important for you.
3. Do one thing everyday that makes you feel good
Start by making a feel good list and write down everything (big and small) that puts a skip in your step.
Here are a few examples:
- Cuddling my dog
- Picking my kid up from school
- Drinking a hot cup of tea
- Facetiming with my dad
- Watching home reno shows with my husband
- Chatting with strangers
Once you make your list, think about how to incorporate some of these things into your day.
4. Do some physical activity
No matter what you like to do, getting regular exercise and focusing on your physical health is critical to increase your energy levels and improve your overall mental health.
Whether it’s a brisk walk around the block, digging up your garden to plant flowers, or riding a stationary bike – find something you can do everyday.
It is truly a dopamine booster that pumps out more feelings of pleasure and reward.
5. Create an evening routine you love
A good evening routine can be essential to having a good night’s rest, prepping for the next day and giving yourself some self care.
So, I encourage you to look at your current evening routine and think about ways you can enhance it for the better.
6. Get Dressed & Ready for the Day
This is for all of you who work from home or are stay at home parents.
It’s so easy to bum around in sweats and old t-shirts but if you do this you might feel a little blah after a while.
So have a shower, get dressed in something that makes you feel good – even if you’re not leaving the house.
7. Communicate your feelings
Share how you feel with someone who cares or speak to a mental health professional.
You can also journal about your feelings to release negative thoughts.
8. Try some positive affirmations
Using affirmations for mental health is a powerful way to create positive thoughts about a situation even if you’re feeling stress and anxiety.
These thoughts in result can lead to positive emotions to help conquer stress and anxiety.
9. Practice Gratitude
There are so many ways you can practice gratitude.
Here are some great examples:
- Use gratitude journal prompts
- Focus on the simple pleasures in life – the sound of birds chirping, the taste of your coffee first thing in the morning, the little things your spouse does that you might take for granted.
- Write a gratitude list
10. Reduce Social Media Use
Continuous scrolling can have a serious impact on your mental health.
According to HelpGuide.org…
“Multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.”
I’m sure you can think of a time you felt perfectly fine and then you went on Facebook and saw one of those updates that made your heart drop.
11. Focus on your healthy relationships
Being grateful and dedicating more time to your healthy, strong relationships is a lot more rewarding and supportive to your mental health than trying to fix a poor relationship.
Sure, there are some relationships that are important to fix. However, creating more space to connect with people who make you feel good is extremely beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing.
12. Try Self Love Journaling
Loving yourself more is a way you can support your mental health starting today.
Examples of self love prompts:
- Think about a challenge you faced and how you became stronger because of it.
- I am worthy of happiness because…
- What is a goal you set and didn’t achieve? Now, write about what you learned from the process of trying.
13. Eat a Healthy Diet
Consuming foods that nourish your body as opposed to processed foods make you feel physically good.
This means eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
14. Listen to Feel Good Music
Whether it’s nostalgic tunes from your teens, or current feel good music, listening to happy tunes can literally lift you out of feeling down and help you boost your mood – pretty quickly.
15. Notice Your Negative Thoughts
Do you notice your mind swirling in rumination and negative thoughts?
If so, notice what these thoughts are and write them down.
Not only will writing these thoughts down give you perspective on what they are, but you can also identify recurring thoughts that might be weighing you down.
16. Track Your Mood
Mood tracking is a powerful tool that is great to add to your daily routine.
It can help you pay attention to your moods throughout the day and connect feelings to your activities.
This will help you identify things that trigger certain moods so you can avoid them in future.
Try my mood tracking journal to get started.
17. Escape with a good book
Escapism doesn’t help you solve your problems, but creating a daily habit of reading a good book that helps your mind escape can be soooo good for you.
Read a brilliant memoir, a fantasy, a romance novel – whatever makes you feel good in the present moment.
18. Get some fresh air
Sometimes just 5 minutes outside soaking up some vitamin D is all you need to recharge, refocus and feel better.
Some ways you can get outside, even if you don’t think you have time:
- Take a work call while you walk
- Have a 5 minute coffee break on your back deck
- Write your daily to-do list outside at the beginning of your work day
- Walk to pick up a coffee
19. Learn something new
When you support your brain and learn something you’re passionate about this means you are giving yourself a new sense of accomplishment.
20. Laugh everyday
Finding ways to have a good laugh is a game changer.
You can search for funny YouTube videos, call up a friend who gives you the giggles or watch some standup comedy.
No matter what challenges you might be going through at the moment, giving yourself a happiness boost through laughter and make your day that much better.
21. be a glass half full person
You can always look for things that could go wrong, and if you think this might be the case for you, try looking at a situation and of an alternative thought that is positive.
The more you do this, the easier it will become and it may even become second nature.
22. Practice Self Care
We all know why now that self care isn’t about spa days and bubble baths (although if it is for you – go for it!) but self care is anything that you can do to feel good.
For me that’s making a hot cup of tea and watering my plants in the garden.
For you that might be listening to a podcast while jogging, or playing with your dog.
Access my printable self care planner worksheets to get started.
23. Get some quality alone time
We all need time to ourselves so focus on getting a little alone time everyday.
While you do this you can add in another habit form this list – self care, a hobby, learning something new or getting exercise.
24. Work Towards a Personal Goal
Having a personal goal you can focus on daily is a great way to do something for yourself that is meaningful to you.
Choose something that either brings you joy or supports a long term goal.
25. Create good sleep habits
Getting enough sleep is a big contributor to good mental health.
Try to maintain a regular sleep cycle by going to bed and waking up around the same time everyday.
If you have trouble sleeping… make sure you’re not doing other activities in your bedroom that are related to daytime activities – working in bed, watching tv, eating.
Condition your body to associate your bed with sleeping only.
26. Try a New Hobby
The great thing about trying a new hobby is you can do a little of it everyday.
Learning how to draw, dance, reading, yoga, stargazing… think of something you’ve been wanting to try and have fun learning more about it.
27. Try Colouring
When I was going through group therapy for depression the one daily habit I had was using my adult coloring book on a daily basis.
Being creative is really important for me and expressing myself through simple colouring was extremely relaxing.
If colouring isn’t for you, try something else creative you might love – crocheting, photography, writing, etc.
Check out my favourite books for adult colouring.
28. Ask Yourself – What Do I Need Today?
By asking this everyday you’re able to carve out a little time (even 5 minutes) to focus on supporting yourself.
Giving yourself time to unwind and just be helps you rejuvenate yourself, especially in stressful times.
Just make sure to give yourself permission to rest.
Not only is it 100% okay to build rest into a healthy mental health routine but it’s imperative for work life balance and happiness.
30. Be Social
This could mean having a short chat with your neighbour, talking to a friend on the phone or if you have more time getting together with friends or family.
Social connections are part of the human experience and we all need it – even those of us who consider ourselves to be introverts.
31. Bored? Don’t Get Sucked Into Binging TV
When you’re bored especially in the evenings it can be so tempting to veg and binge watch tv – but if you notice you’re feeling low, it’s a good time to rethink how you’re spending your time.
Check out this fun list of things you can do at night when bored and choose something different than TV.
32. Practice Mindfulness
There are so many mindfulness activities you can do (other than traditional meditation) that help you be in the present moment.
This can reduce stress levels, support depression symptoms and even improve memory.
33. Focus on your strengths
It’s a lot easier to work on things you’re already good at than trying to improve things you’re not great at.
This is the premise of the book Strength Finders which helps you uncover your talents.
Focusing on your strengths also means celebrating your achievements – even if they are small.
34. Boost Your Confidence
Feeling more confident has so many benefits to your life – improved relationships, feeling more authentic in your choices, being more resilient in tough times.
35. Be kind to yourself
If you have a day that isn’t going your way, don’t beat yourself up. Give yourself grace and be kind to yourself.
You deserve support and that starts with you – how you speak to yourself, think about yourself and how you love yourself.
What Habits Are You Going To Try To Improve Your Mental Health?
Share in the comments below! Xo