Talking about Mental Health: Staying Mentally Healthy
In our project to talk about mental health, we also gathered information from experts on the best tips and practices to stay mentally healthy and maintain our own mental well-being.
“Some of it is really simple,” says Sue Abderholden, executive director of NAMI, or the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Find a routine that works for you.
Make sure your everyday routine includes good sleep, a healthy diet, and exercise.
“Sleep is actually extremely important. They’ve been doing a lot of research about bad sleeping habits and people not getting enough sleep,” says Abderholden. “We also know that nutrition and exercise play a huge role. Exercise gets the endorphins moving in your brain, which really helps us as well.”
One of the young women we spoke with who practices good mental health is Brandy Martin. The 21-year-old exercises regularly as a way to cope with everyday stresses that might otherwise spiral out of control. “It releases endorphins and it’s really healthy,” says Martin. “You are staying fit and in the fresh air.”
Keep social media in perspective.
Find strategies to step away from social media. Whether it’s scheduling time away from your smart phone or temporarily disabling a social media account, be intentional about disengaging.
“Limit social media and being on your phone,” says Abderholden. “No one needs to be on it as much as they are.”
Abderholden says limiting phone and social media use is especially important for teenagers, who can experience bullying through social media at all times of the day and night.
Find a group of people you can engage with socially. This can be a group of friends, family, or even a special club.
“Basically, what we are looking at is how people are functioning,” explains Dr. Lisa Herman, a psychologist from Maple Grove. “If you feel like you are able to handle your emotions well, both the good ones and the bad ones. And if you feel like you have great, healthy, and social relationships or family relationships, then that’s a really good thing.”
Want to learn more about Mental Health? Check out “The Silent Struggle: Talking about Mental Health” where we talked about many of the issues surrounding the subject of mental health and illness.
NAMI Minnesota provides free classes and information for crisis responders, medical and mental health professionals and the general community. If you are concerned about someone or are having thoughts of suicide yourself, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or **CRISIS, or text MN to 741741.