Article submitted by Catalina Duarte, YMCA of San Diego County
Self-care is an integral part of overall health, happiness and success. Often, we make time to go to the gym to maintain our physical health but we neglect to take the time needed to maintain our mental health.
As a branch of the YMCA of San Diego County, Youth & Family Services provides an array of behavioral and mental health services for at-risk youth and families in San Diego County.
To help keep a healthy, happy mind, YMCA Youth & Family Services counselors June Carrington and Katie Demmler have pulled together seven essential tips to achieve and maintain an excellent mental health:
1. Learn stress reduction techniques.
Finding ways to manage stress is vital to maintain mental health. If you have trouble relaxing after a long day at work, try mediation or yoga. If you have trouble when fighting through traffic, try listening to classical music. Other techniques that may work for you include journaling, exercising or coloring.
2. Know when to say “no.”
Our lives are busier than ever, filled with family, work, school and countless other activities. It’s okay to take a break when you need one.
3. Practice self-compassion.
Show yourself grace when you make a mistake and remember that no one is perfect. Reframe your error as a lesson learned.
4. Maintain your physical health.
Physical fitness plays a large role in mental health. It’s important to take the time to exercise, plan for healthy balanced meals and get the right amount of sleep for your age and body type.
5. Build supportive relationships.
Your mental wellness can be significantly improved through developing and maintaining healthy relationships. Friends and family can provide much needed support, laughter, meaningful conversation or even a different perspective.
6. Understand anger and learn to let go.
Anger is a completely normal emotion but letting it build up will affect your overall health and emotional stability. Use appropriate outlets to vent if needed. Learn to walk away from situations you know will upset you and re-approach them once you’ve calmed down.
7. Make fun a priority.
Spend time laughing, playing and doing something you enjoy. You’ll be able to care for others better when you’ve taken good care of yourself.
June Carrington oversees Counseling Services for YMCA Youth & Family Services. She has over ten years of experience working in the mental health field in a variety of settings and is passionate about increasing wellness in San Diego. For more information about Counseling Services or to schedule a confidential session, please contact YMCA Youth & Family Services at 619-281-8313 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.