The last year has been tough. Feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress have increased dramatically for most people. With America’s mental health in such a dire place, it’s important to find ways to reduce stress and improve mental health.
Impact of Stress on Mental Health
Stress has a huge impact on mental and physical health. Memory, attention, and the way a person reacts to their surroundings are all directly affected by stress. Brain fog and the feeling of being easily distracted and unable to concentrate are signs that you’re under too much stress. Stress also affects physical health. Being under chronic stress means poor sleep, inability to lose weight, and increased bloating.
You Can Improve Your Mental Health
When you’re in a bad place mentally, it feels like much is out of your control. Therapy is always a good option. There are other changes you can make in your life that will reduce stress and have a positive impact on your mental health.
Go on a Vacation
One of the best things you can do if you’re feeling overly stressed and looking for ways to improve your mental health is to go on a vacation. Because a vacation removes you from the environment that causes you stress and takes away regular stressors in your life, vacations can significantly and quickly improve mental health. They also lead to improved productivity and better sleep after you get home.
Plan a Cruise
One of the best vacations you can take if you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress is a cruise. Cruises offer relaxation and a chance to really get away. All meals are planned for you, you have a place to stay and you can choose from relaxing activities at many different ports. Plus, the internet is scarce when you’re out on the ocean, making it even easier to unplug! Try conveniently located cruises from NYC or other American ports to make your experience even more seamless and hassle-free.
Go to a Spa
Another option is to try an all-inclusive resort or spa. Resorts offer restaurant choices, cocktail bars and pools for a relaxing and fun getaway. Plus, you can luxuriate in the spa or play a game of golf. It’s fun to get away and see local attractions too and often beaches or other natural wonders are only a short drive away.
Get a Massage
If you can’t fit in a lengthy getaway right now, a massage or day at the spa is another great way to improve mental health. Massages lower the heart rate, relax your muscles and increase endorphins. Facials offer many similar benefits and will add a glow to your skin that will make you feel renewed and confident.
Visiting a spa that is centered around yoga and mindfulness has the added benefit of incorporating these activities into your routine. Yoga incorporates relaxing poses, breathing and mindfulness into an experience that has so many benefits! Yoga can actually decrease the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol. It can also improve sleep quality and promote better sleep.
Finally, if you’re looking to make changes that will improve your mental health for the long-haul, consider adding exercise to your routine and making positive changes to your diet. Aerobic exercise, such as jogging, biking or swimming, have been proven to reduce anxiety and depression. Regular exercise also improves sleep, which can contribute to reducing stress. Specifically, high-intensity cardio training creates an environment where your brain can only focus on the exercise you’re doing, effectively shutting it off from thinking about everyday stressors.
Pair your new exercise routine with better eating habits, and you’ll be on your way to better mental health in no time. Food has a big impact on your body and how you feel. Simply put, if you eat healthily, you’ll feel better. Good eating habits can even improve brain health and function, as well as your mood.
Give yourself a break and incorporate some de-stressors into your life for better mental health. You deserve it!