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How to Unwind & Improve Your Mental Health This Spring

Happy young woman practicing meditation on blue backgroundSpring is a time for new beginnings. Many people dread winter and its dreary weather, finding themselves stuck inside to avoid the snow. When the warm weather arrives, it’s a popular time for exercising outside, losing weight, and deep cleaning your home. However, many people fail to acknowledge the root of their problems – stress. Stress can lead to a handful of issues like anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and heart disease. Setting aside time to make a wellness plan can help you obtain your goals in the new season. Here are a few ideas on how to improve your mental health this spring.

Stay Active

Physical activity not only increases stamina and promotes weight loss, but also has a great impact on your mental health. Exercise is considered natural and effective for anxiety, depression, and ADHD treatment. People who exercise regularly feel more energetic throughout the day, have better memory, sleep better at night, and have a more positive outlook on life. No matter your age, any amount of moderate physical activity can make a significant difference.

One study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. Just about any form of fitness will make a difference, so it’s important to choose an activity that you enjoy. Examples include walking, dancing, yoga, and swimming. For those rainy spring days, there are also fitness apps available to set yourself up for success.

Organize Your Finances

According to Help Guide, studies have shown a link between financial worries and mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. The stress of debt and financial issues can leave you feeling irritable and depressed. With a decline in mental health, it may be harder to manage your money, worsening your financial situation even more and continuing the cycle. If you don’t have a good grip on your finances, start off by creating a budget to learn what your current circumstances are. Write out what money you have coming in and what your expenses are each month. Educate yourself on your balances and the interest rates you have on your debt.

If you’re looking to save up, there are plenty of ways to earn extra cash on the side. You could take up a side hustle like starting an online store, tutoring, or even shop around for lower interest rates for your phone bill or car insurance. If you’re a homeowner, taking out a home equity line of credit is also a helpful way to take out cash from the equity of your home and use it toward bills.

Eat Clean

Stress can have a huge impact on your diet and eating habits. Some people lose their appetite and ignore hunger cues, while others turn to fatty and high-calorie foods. According to the Cleveland Clinic, when we’ve stressed our brains send out cues to our bodies as a part of our fight-or-flight response. The stress hormone cortisol is sent out, which is known for increasing cravings for sugary or fatty foods. Understanding how your body responds to stress is the first step to controlling the eating habits it creates.

Your diet can help relieve stress in many ways. Foods high in vitamin B, protein, and magnesium all promote anti-inflammation and are linked to stress reduction. Eating well and eating consistently is half the battle. The key is to avoid skipping meals and to eat every 3 – 5 hours to help balance your blood sugar.

Declutter Your Space

For many of us, spring cleaning is an annual ritual. Not only is it a chance to declutter and refresh your living space, but there’s also a connection between spring cleaning and your mental health. It’s been discovered that clutter has a negative impact on your stress and anxiety levels. A healthy home equals a happy home, meaning messy spaces can lead to messy relationships. People have a range of tolerance to clutter. Some people are natural clutter “purgers” while some hang onto things for a longer period of time.

Organizing your things can help you clear your mind and avoid irritability and frustration around clutter. You don’t have to get things done in one day. Making a cleaning schedule can help organize your thoughts and not feel pressured to achieve unattainable goals.

Improving your mental health is a personal journey, so understanding your stressors and how you respond will help you better understand yourself and how you can focus on your wellbeing this spring. Utilize this change of season to put yourself first and prioritize your mental health.

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