Health & Medical

50 of Our All-Time Best Mental Health Tips to Help You Feel a Little Bit Better

Over the final variety of years at SELF, we’ve offered no scarcity of psychological well being recommendation. Many of the tales our editors and writers publish intention to supply sensible, accessible methods to present your self the psychological well being care and assist that you simply want.

However, we all know that there’s a ton of psychological well being and self-care data to kind by way of on the web—and whereas you could have learn a few of our items, discovering the service you want in the mean time you want it’s a lot simpler mentioned than achieved. So for SELF’s Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health, we had an concept: What if we culled all of our greatest, most helpful psychological well being suggestions and put them collectively in a single single article? The result’s what you see under: an intensive however nonetheless skim-able and digestible listing of psychological well being suggestions for quite a lot of conditions and emotions.

If you’re having a nasty day, you’ll be able to decide a tip you’ve by no means achieved and check out it out. If you’re trying to concentrate to your psychological well being extra frequently, yow will discover a brand new ritual to include into your day by day routine. You may even print out this listing and hold it as a part of your self-care device equipment—stash it someplace you’ll be able to simply discover it so you’ll be able to expend as little effort as attainable to make use of it, particularly if you’re feeling low.

Now let’s speak about different finest practices when utilizing this information: If you see a tip you’re interested by, we’d strongly encourage you to click on by way of to the unique article on SELF we sourced it from. (These articles are clearly linked all through.) This will assist you to observe the tip in the best means attainable. Plus, you’ll be able to study extra about whether or not it’d really be a superb match to your wants.

We know that a lot of the following tips are simpler mentioned than achieved, particularly if you’re additionally coping with despair, nervousness, loneliness, or every other concern. You definitely don’t have to do all of this stuff suddenly. On the same observe: There’s no strain to do any of this stuff, particularly should you don’t discover one thing helpful. Self-care recommendation can really feel daunting and overwhelming, and the very last thing we need to do is add to that feeling.

If there’s one thing you assume is actually nice that we’ve missed, we’d like to study extra about it! Shoot us an e mail at [email protected]—we’re all the time searching for new subjects that may assist our readers really feel their finest.

And lastly, we need to remind you that the following tips can go a great distance, however they aren’t a substitute for remedy or medical care. If you might be involved about your psychological well being, are simply not feeling like your self, or assume you could be in want of extra therapy, contemplate seeing a psychological well being skilled should you don’t already.

Activities to Try When You Feel Down 

1. Check out a psychological well being podcast. Mental well being podcasts can present self-care in a number of methods: You may study one thing new about find out how to deal, really feel much less alone, or get a wholesome dose of distraction at a time when focusing your consideration on a guide or a film feels inconceivable. We compiled a listing of our favorites to get you began—try all of them right here.

2. Take on a small, doable, uplifting dwelling venture. Giving your house just a little improve can create a pleasant, comforting sense of management—particularly useful if you’re feeling anxious or unsure. Plus, on the finish of the venture, you’ll have a happier, more healthy house, which might do wonders to your psychological well being too. Read extra about this tip right here.

3. If you’d prefer to lean into distraction, may we propose doing so with foolish, entertaining, and downright engrossing TikToks? Yes, that is an ode to the social media platform taking on the web. And no, it’s not only for Gen Z’ers! Give your self the reward of scrolling (and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling) by way of a unending parade of nice, humorous psychological stimulation. “It’s the other of doomscrolling,” former editor Anna Borges writes. “It’s escapism scrolling.” Read extra about this tip right here.

4. Or…shade! Art may be therapeutic in some ways. You can use your creations to course of trauma or your feelings, you’ll be able to zone out from the world by doodling or scribbling, or you will get out your power by pouring it into one thing bodily. Basically, coloring is all the time a good suggestion. Read about coloring guide apps you’ll be able to obtain in your cellphone right here, grownup coloring books we advocate right here, and extra about artwork remedy general right here.

5. Dig into nostalgia, or the individuals, locations, songs, video games, and films which have comforted you previously. There’s all the time an opportunity that your self-care strategies of yore received’t floor you as a lot as they used to. But taking a second to recollect what helped you again then—whether or not it’s 5, 10, or 20 years in the past—can ignite a way of compassion to your previous self—and a way of hope that you’ll make it by way of to the opposite facet as soon as once more. We extremely advocate it. Read extra about this tip right here.

6. Jump round! Move in a means that makes you’re feeling joyful, even when it’s only for a couple of minutes. Yes, train can enhance your temper. But that doesn’t imply it is advisable to do a painstaking exercise should you’re feeling down. Put in your favourite tune and dance, stroll the canine on a barely longer route, or go for a swim. Finding an exercise you really get pleasure from is a wonderful piece of a self-care device equipment. Read extra about this tip right here.

7. Make a listing of issues to sit up for in each the close to and much future. Sometimes it could possibly really feel like there may be nothing to sit up for, so we’ll begin by saying we all know that that is simpler mentioned than achieved. That’s why we’re proponents of creating issues to sit up for too. That may imply reframing your considering (you’ll be able to sit up for one thing so simple as the subsequent heat sunny day, or entering into mattress with clear sheets) or including one thing to your calendar for subsequent week, month, or yr. Read extra about methods to create issues to sit up for right here.

8. Give meditating a attempt, even should you’ve by no means achieved it earlier than. Mindfulness meditation is beginner-friendly and a very good place to start out. It largely revolves round drawing your consideration inward to the current second, letting go of any judgment about what you’re considering or feeling. Research exhibits that it could be useful in combating nervousness, despair, and even continual ache. (We wrote an entire explainer on the science behind mindfulness meditation—you’ll be able to learn that right here.) Here’s your signal to present it a shot. Sit in a chair, lie on the sofa, and even attempt it on the subway. All you want is a couple of quick minutes. And should you’re undecided the place to start, you’ll be able to attempt a guided meditation. Here, we rounded up our favourite meditation apps, a lot of which have guided meditation choices.

9. If you don’t like meditating however are searching for that impact, attempt knot tying. It’s an lively approach to focus your thoughts when sitting along with your eyes closed isn’t your factor. It’s satisfying, it offers you one thing to place your whole consideration on, and it means that you can discover your extraneous ideas when and in the event that they do come up. Read extra about this tip right here.

10. Try an easy-to-follow guided respiration video. Breathing is so highly effective. It’s one factor that we do have management over, regardless that nervousness could make it really feel like we don’t. Harnessing your breath by way of a guided respiration video is an effective way to take a beat if you’re burdened or calm your self down in a second of hysteria. Plus, the advantages are confirmed by science—by slowing your breath, you’ll be able to change your physique’s complete parasympathetic nervous system response. See 17 of our favourite guided respiration movies right here.

11. Tap into your “unhealthy day plan.” When you’re within the throes of a nasty day, it may be laborious to take a step again and assume clearly. A nasty day plan will help you navigate what you’re feeling—even when which means absorbing your unhealthy day, however doing so in a means that’s a bit extra secure, snug, and hopefully results in a greater subsequent day. There are 5 key elements each unhealthy day plan ought to have—learn extra about them right here—then create one if you’re not feeling too down so you might have it if you want it.

12. Take a shower. It may really assist…just a little. It’s frequent rest recommendation—and it received’t repair each downside, however it could possibly really assist a bit. Rest is important, and if it’s laborious so that you can get your self to decelerate, a extra calming, sedentary exercise like a shower is a wonderful self-care expertise to pencil in your calendar. Read extra about this tip right here.

13. Turn off your social media notifications. This is a superb tip for anybody seeking to make their relationship with social media more healthy and extra optimistic. It’s pure to search out validation in feedback, likes, and replies—however these shouldn’t be the one metrics we use to really feel good. Turning off these notifications will help you work together along with your apps extra mindfully—checking them if you really feel prefer it, and never since you’re hungry for judgment from others. Read extra about this tip right here.

14. Make a listing of all of the laborious or unsure instances you’ve already gotten by way of. If you’re studying this, you’ve survived 100% of your unhealthy days. Surviving isn’t all the time simple—normally, it’s not—however reminding ourselves of this will encourage additional resilience. Plus, should you’ve gotten by way of that, who’s to say it’s inconceivable that you simply’ll get by way of this too? So write down the toughest instances you’ll be able to recall. Perhaps you should utilize a few of that very same resilience now. Read extra about this tip right here.

15. Create one factor you’ll be able to management and try this factor. Doing one thing you might have management over may be useful when uncertainty is firing up your nervousness. But generally, that isn’t sufficient—so create one thing you’ll be able to management, like a selected venture or exercise that exists for the only objective of serving to you concentrate on what you might have the ability to do. A brand new dwelling venture counts, as does knitting a brand new blanket, making a day by day dedication to doing all your hair, separating beads by shade, and so on. Read extra about this tip right here.

16. Read a psychological well being guide (or workbook) that may assist you to by way of your emotions. For many people, the scariest a part of feeling unfavourable feelings is realizing that we don’t know the place they arrive from and we don’t know find out how to “repair” them. Mental well being books and workbooks are glorious, budget-friendly methods to study new coping abilities and psychological well being practices that can information you thru these emotions. They’re like textbooks for self-understanding, if you’ll. We compiled a listing of our favorites—you’ll be able to verify them out right here.

17. Distract your self with a free cellphone recreation. Here’s one other distraction concept you’ll be able to attempt. “There’s simply one thing so soothing about zoning out to the pointless, repetitive remedy of tapping my cellphone display screen after I’m caught in an anxious loop—sort of like a barely extra participating fidget dice,” Borges wrote on this article from 2020. We put collectively a listing of 29 free cell video games good for quelling nervousness—see all of them right here.

18. Write down your whole unfavourable ideas. This tip comes up many times. The observe is helpful if you’re managing nervousness and training mindfulness; it’s additionally nice for emotional regulation and self-care. Using it could possibly assist you to establish patterns, discover larger distance or perspective from what you’re feeling, and extra. Read extra about this tip right here.

19. Reframe your regrets by writing them down as the teachings you’ve discovered. Regret may be upsetting, but it surely can be useful in instructing us classes about find out how to stay, act, and transfer ahead. If you are drowning in what you would’ve achieved or ought to’ve mentioned, contemplate itemizing what you’ve discovered and the way you’ve modified as a substitute. Or, if all you’ll be able to see is how life stinks proper now on account of your mishap, you should utilize the current second to search out the lesson. Read extra about this tip right here.

20. Make a brand new playlist to spice up your temper and assist you to mirror. Music is the perfect—and it’s loaded with emotion. Creating a playlist is a wonderful approach to mirror upon the way you’re feeling and but additionally stands as an awesome exercise to probably take your thoughts off the depth of what you’re feeling. If you’d like, you’ll be able to hear again to it and hopefully really feel a bit extra understood. Read extra about this tip right here.

21. Use a psychological well being app to manage, work by way of what you’re feeling, and perhaps discover some calm and launch. Like psychological well being workbooks, there are tons of psychological well being apps out there that may information you thru what you’re experiencing and even assist you to keep a daily self-care routine. Download any of our favorites subsequent time you’re in a rut and provides it a go—see a listing of nice choices right here.

22. If you’ll be able to’t go to sleep, don’t battle your self. Instead, do one thing soothing. Lying in mattress eager about how one can’t sleep can find yourself inflicting extra stress…that solely results in much less sleep. Instead, hearken to your physique and get away from bed. Do one thing stress-free, like studying or coloring, for simply 10 or 20 minutes. Then, give sleep one other go. Read extra about this tip right here.

23. Change your sheets. Why? It will assist you to really feel productive, it’s good to your hygiene, and it’ll make entering into mattress that rather more nice. You deserve clear sheets. In the identical vein, now we have a bunch of different low-lift concepts which may assist you to really feel higher, too. (Open your window! That’s it. That’s the tip.) See extra of them right here.

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Tips for Decoding Your Feelings (and Finding a Solution)

24. Have an actual out-loud dialog with your self. Another means to determine what you want: Ask your self out loud what you’re feeling. Try saying, “How do you’re feeling?” or “What do it is advisable to really feel extra relaxed?” Then take into consideration what your physique or thoughts would reply. You could be shocked by how having an actual dialog with your self will help. Read extra about this tip right here.

25. Decide whether or not you need to discover a resolution to what you’re feeling or if you wish to simply let the sensation run its course. This approach comes from the one and solely Kristen Bell. When her daughters begin to get upset, Bell will ask them, “Do you need a resolution to this downside you’re crying about, or do you simply need to let this sense move by way of you?” Sometimes our emotions are so overwhelming that discovering the appropriate resolution to them may be troublesome within the second. In these instances, it may be finest to only really feel them—cry, journal, and so on. Other instances, we could also be craving a extra concrete resolution or motion. Decide which of these you want and act accordingly. Read extra about this tip right here.

26. Remember that nothing lasts without end—not your finest emotions, however not your worst emotions, both. This too shall move. In reflecting upon residing alone in the course of the pandemic, former SELF editor Patia Braithwaite wrote about how remembering that nothing lasts without end helped her get by way of her hardest moments: “The solely factor I do know for positive is that nothing lasts without end. Every horrendous low has finally lifted. Every good feeling mellows out. The ups and downs are a part of surviving this pandemic.” Of course, this is applicable to every part in life—exterior of COVID-19 too. Read extra about this tip right here.

27. Give your self permission to distract your self from the way you’re feeling. Distraction isn’t essentially the identical as denial; it’s not all the time unfavourable or indicative of failure. In truth, it may be a particularly respectable approach to survive. A psychological reset also can assist you to return to what it is advisable to do—course of your feelings, confront the factor that’s making you anxious or upset—with renewed power and maybe a brand new outlook. So sure—it’s completely okay to take pleasure in a couple of nights of Netflix. Read extra about this tip right here.

28. When you’re being judgmental or laborious on your self, attempt a RAIN meditation: ​​Recognize, enable, examine, and nonidentify or nurture. Recognize your ideas and emotions as they’re occurring; enable the thought or emotion to exist with out pushing it away; examine by asking your self why you may really feel that means or what the emotion is making an attempt to inform you; after which take away that emotion out of your sense of self-worth—in different phrases, un-identify with it. Read extra about this tip right here.

29. When you begin to consider what you “ought to” be doing proper now, reframe your ideas by way of what you really need, would really like, or can do. “Shoulds” typically include judgment and guilt—not nice for psychological well being. Instead of telling your self “I ought to do X,” inform your self what you really wish to do within the second, need to do within the second, or can do within the second. It will assist you to meet your self the place you’re at, setting life like targets for your self that may, hopefully, result in you feeling a bit higher. Read extra about this tip right here. 

30. Remind your self that it’s okay to hit pause in your targets. In instances of disaster, it’s all the time a good suggestion to take off as a lot strain as we probably can. Doing so isn’t simple, however the reality of the matter is that life modifications, our circumstances change, and we alter—and generally, the plans we had or the targets we hoped to realize should change too. If you’ve been searching for somebody to inform you that it’s okay to hit pause on that nonessential factor you mentioned you’d do—properly, it definitely is. Read extra about this tip right here.

31. Pinpoint your triggers. This is useful if you’re working to beat anger that feels uncontrollable—although it’s useful in navigating different unfavourable feelings too. Write down the previous couple of instances you felt this fashion, and see if any patterns or hyperlinks emerge. Was there an overlap in language that ticked you off? A particular traumatic conduct from the previous? Knowing your triggers will help you keep away from them sooner or later, perceive why you’re feeling this fashion (which is all the time comforting), and talk to others why you’re feeling or appearing the way in which you might be. Read extra about this tip right here.

32. Don’t battle your urge to cry—let all of it out. Unfortunately, speaking your self out of crying typically received’t make you cry any much less—or repair no matter is making you upset within the first place. Crying may be cathartic, and whereas crying all of the time can definitely be an indication of a bigger concern that wants skilled consideration, having the urge to cry if you’re upset is a traditional and pure bodily response to our feelings. In truth, crying in and of itself can go a great distance in serving to you course of. Read extra about this tip right here.

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Things to Try When You’re Spiraling

33. Rely on a self-care guidelines to make use of in instances of disaster. In December 2020, former SELF editor Patia Braithwaite created this guidelines for Black individuals to make use of when the information cycle was an excessive amount of to bear. A baseline self-care guidelines or toolbox is all the time a good suggestion. If you’d like, you should utilize this lengthy listing as a part of yours!) It will help you bear in mind to deal with your self in crucial methods (like consuming and sleeping) if you actually simply can’t. Read extra about this tip right here. Then create one in a second you are not spiraling so you might have it if you want it.

34. Sit in your automotive. Bear with us: If you don’t have a automotive, attempt your toilet or your closet. Finding pockets of personal house away from spouses, youngsters, roommates, coworkers, and the remainder of the world may be instrumental in giving your self the psychological separation it is advisable to really decompress. Just take 5 minutes within the quiet and breathe. Sometimes, your automotive is extra of a blessing than you thought. Read extra about this tip right here.

35. Dip your face in chilly water. This grounding approach can go a great distance in shifting your temper—and there’s science to again it up. The temperature “helps to counter that sympathetic response to emphasize, and it helps convey your physique right down to a calmer place,” Mona Potter, M.D., medical director on the McLean Anxiety Mastery Program, tells SELF. Another concept: Take a chilly bathe. Read extra about this tip (and different grounding methods to make use of if you’re spiraling) right here.

36. Nestle your self below a weighted blanket. While the science behind weighted blankets isn’t precisely clear, specialists theorize that deep strain (like that from a hug, swaddle, or weighted blanket) will help scale back the physiological arousal related to nervousness by appearing on the autonomic nervous system (ANS). In different phrases, it calms the bodily nervousness response, which in flip can sign to your mind that it’s time to chill out. Plus, who doesn’t love being cozy and cozy? If you’re curious, we rounded up the perfect weighted blankets—you’ll be able to see all of them right here. And learn extra about this tip right here.

37. Disconnect from the world when it is advisable to. With the barrage of unhealthy information that’s come out during the last two years (good day, international pandemic), being consistently on-line can most definitely exacerbate emotions of hysteria and hopelessness. Staying knowledgeable is essential, however there are occasions when the doomscrolling does far more hurt than good. It’s all about discovering that wholesome stability. If it is advisable to delete Twitter out of your cellphone or steer clear of the information for a bit, that’s okay. Read extra about this tip right here.

38. Fact-check your self. Existential nervousness and different anxious ideas or fears can have us believing issues that merely aren’t true. When these ideas happen, attempt asking your self, “What proof do I’ve for this thought?” This will help you separate worst-case eventualities from life like conditions that you simply seemingly have extra management over. Read extra about this tip right here.

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Self-Care Habits to Consider Practicing Regularly

39. Try to not keep up late making up for misplaced free time in the course of the day. Staying up at evening for no purpose apart from rebelling in opposition to work and different commitments is named revenge bedtime procrastination. While indulging in it’d really feel nice at first, it’s not so nice for you. A tip everybody can use: Get the sleep you want if you’re in a position to get it. Read extra about this right here.

40. When you’re having hassle being productive, make a “achieved listing” as a substitute of a to-do listing. To-do lists are useful, however once we’re not feeling our greatest, they can be daunting. Reward your self for the entire issues you might have completed at work, dwelling, or elsewhere in life with a “achieved listing,” protecting monitor of every part you’ve completed throughout a sure day or week. This means, as a substitute of slowly chipping away at a mountain of duties—or not attending to any of them and feeling terrible—you’ll be able to acknowledge small accomplishments as they occur. Read extra about this tip right here.

41. Create a transition ritual, which may give you some room to breathe when going from one a part of your day to a different. Transition rituals are small moments that sign to our mind that it’s time to change gears. They turn out to be useful once we’re transferring between larger blocks of time. For instance, commuting to your workplace on a regular basis could be your transition ritual. Or perhaps it’s your afternoon tea, or your stroll across the block. These rituals can go a great distance in giving us time to unwind all through the day, whereas including construction and routine—and they are often particularly useful if you’re spending loads of time at dwelling. Read extra about this tip right here.

42. Make “downtime lists” so as to add some construction to your free time. This one is nice for people who find themselves “unhealthy at doing nothing.” Downtime may be laborious, particularly should you’re coping with nervousness, loneliness, or one other psychological well being concern. For many people, downtime can be laborious to return by, so once we do have it, we’re left feeling like we might all the time be spending it extra properly. If any of this is applicable to you, make a downtime listing—the to-do listing’s chiller cousin. Read extra about this tip right here.

43. Don’t fear about creating an elaborate morning routine. Instead, set your self up for a superb day by beginning off with a couple of small habits you get pleasure from and discover helpful. For many individuals, routines present essential construction. But they’re thrown round quite a bit in self-care speak, and creating one (and sticking to it) can really feel like yet another factor so as to add to the listing. Instead, choose a couple of easy morning habits that make you’re feeling good, like making your mattress. They can go a great distance in setting the remainder of your day up for achievement. Read extra about this tip right here.

44. The identical goes for bedtime—discover a couple of nighttime habits that make you’re feeling good and decide to doing them frequently. No hour-long bedtime routine, no downside. Dedicating a while to determining what habits assist you to chill out can finally assist you to get higher sleep. So spend a couple of nights experimenting, see what you want, and attempt to make a behavior out of it! Read extra about this tip right here.

45. Try one small approach to observe gratitude day by day, like spending a few moments earlier than mattress eager about what you’re grateful for or going out of your approach to thank another person for one thing they did. A 2010 meta-review revealed in Clinical Psychology Review discovered that individuals who have greater ranges of gratitude are additionally prone to expertise much less despair, larger well-being, and extra social assist, amongst different issues. There can be analysis suggesting that gratitude practices can result in actual, measurable advantages for our psychological well being. It’s nearly like…magic? Read extra about this tip right here.

46. Try to keep up your social relationships. SELF beforehand reported that once we really feel lonely and remoted, we’re much less prone to see issues as they’re. If you end up isolating from these round you greater than regular, take a step to attach with somebody shut, both nearly or in individual. Having a sounding board could assist you to really feel extra grounded—and also can convey you nearer to ending the difficulty that had you isolating within the first place. Read extra about this tip right here.

47. Make journaling a behavior to see its biggest advantages. To get probably the most out of journaling, it’s essential to do it frequently. Doing so offers you built-in moments to verify in with your self, helps you keep a bit extra clear-headed between journaling classes, and means that you can monitor how the behavior really helps you. Read extra about this tip right here.

48. Schedule a psychological well being day—and really unplug from work if you do. Just like the way it’s finest to take a sick day when your physique isn’t properly, it’s finest to take a psychological well being day when your thoughts wants one. That could be for any purpose—you’re coping with a psychological well being situation, grieving, feeling burned out, going by way of a breakup…the listing goes on. When you do take a psychological well being day, you’ll want to take advantage of it by really unplugging from work. Even although it could be laborious, you’ll reap extra advantages. For extra recommendations on find out how to take a psychological well being day that truly helps, learn this.

49. Write down a to-do listing on the finish of your workweek. This will help you keep away from these dreaded Sunday scaries. Make positive you get every part down—from unfinished duties to ideas or emotions you need to come again to later—so that you simply don’t spend your off time mulling over every part in your thoughts. You’ll really feel extra ready to your return to work and hopefully much less anxious too. Read extra about this tip right here.

50. Put relaxation and rest time into your calendar. When we don’t schedule issues upfront, we are inclined to move over them extra simply. So should you wait to chill out till you might have time to do it, you may end up having means much less relaxation time than you really have to really feel wholesome and properly. Whether it’s a weekly chunk of time or a 15-minute break in the course of your day, put that point in your calendar. It can go a great distance. Read extra about this (and different intelligent methods to get your self to chill out extra) right here.

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See extra from our Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health right here.

As we talked about above, the following tips present helpful, accessible methods to deal with your psychological well being. However, they don’t seem to be a substitute for medical care or the direct steerage of a psychological well being skilled. If you’re in disaster or in want of pressing assist, try a few of the helplines under.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 (Available 24/7)
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233 (Available 24/7)
  • Crisis Text Line: Text SUPPORT to 741-741 (Available 24/7)
  • Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network: 800-656-4673 (Available 24/7)
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness: 800-950-6264 (Available Monday–Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET)
  • The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386 (Available 24/7)

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