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Take Care of Your Mental Health

From fear to loneliness, frustration, and grief, it’s safe to say that we face a wide range of emotions every day. We often consider these feelings as weaknesses or shift them to the back of our minds to move through our days.

It’s time to check in on how you are really feeling. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself every day.

1. How Am I Feeling Today?

Checking in on your mental health starts with assessing how you are feeling. Do you notice feeling stress, anxiety, worry, sadness, or other challenging emotions?

Use a scale of 1 to 10 and take note of how you feel at the same time each day. If your number goes down, that’s a sure sign you need to pay attention to your mental health.

It is also important to notice how you’re feeling physically. Some ways mental health concerns can show up physically include:

· Stress: Headaches, body pains, skin rashes, or worsening of chronic health problems

· Anxiety: Headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension, or frequent urination

· Depression: Appetite changes, weight loss or gain, loss of energy, and unexplained aches and pains.

2. What's Been Worrying Me Lately?

Take time to access what’s been weighing. Is it work, family, friends, money, or COVID-19? Maybe it’s one, two, or even several different things that are worrying you. Whatever it is, it’s important to notice how these potential triggers make you feel — and to do your best to address them.

For instance, if you’re worried about COVID-19, take breaks from the news and social media at least a few times a day. Also, try journaling, meditation, or taking a warm bath.

If work is on your mind, try tracking your stressors in a journal to see what situations cause you the most stress. Then, start to develop healthy responses, like taking a 10-minute break or establishing clear boundaries.

3. Am I Providing My Body with Its Basic Needs?

Sometimes, we get so busy that we forget to focus on the basics — food, exercise, and sleep. These are simple but critical ways to ensure you’re staying healthy both mentally and physically.

Make sure you:

· Eat nutrient-rich meals full of fruits and veggies and drink enough water.

· Get moving at least once a day, whether you take a brisk walk or do an online workout video.

· Sleep between 7 and 9 hours each night.

Not caring for your body can be a sign of a mental health concern. For instance, trouble sleeping could be a sign of depression. Or, not feeling hungry, could be a sign of stress.

Your mental and physical health are deeply intertwined — pay attention to both for overall wellness.

4. What Am I Doing to Bring Myself Joy?

Taking time to be happy is important. Ask yourself what you’re doing to bring yourself joy. If you can’t think of anything, that needs to change.

Some ways to incorporate joy into your life include:

· Keep a gratitude journal and write three things you are grateful for each day.

· Plan a mini getaway, like a camping trip or staycation near your home.

· Watch a funny movie or television show.

· Visit with loved ones who make you smile.

· Spend time with your dog, cat, or another loving pet.

· Sit outside in the sun for 15 minutes.

5. Who Do I Have in My Corner?

Having a strong support system is essential. Ask yourself who you consider trustworthy and loving that you can turn to when you need it most.

Whether it’s a partner, sibling, healthcare provider, faith leader, or other trusted individual, make sure you have at least one person in your life who:

· Gives good advice when you ask for it

· Is respectful and trustworthy

· Allows you space to make decisions, grow, and even make mistakes

· Listens to you

· Has your best interests at heart

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