When it comes to our overall well-being, all of the therapists at Cohesive Therapy NYC agree that taking care of our emotional health is just as important as taking care of our physical health.
Our emotional and mental health impacts every aspect of our life, including our energy level, how well we sleep, our motivation to participate in our daily routine, and our bodies. We would like to offer you 5 simple ways to improve your emotional health:
Get Your Body Moving
Any exercise can have a significant, positive impact on your life, even a leisurely walk or bike ride. Exercise can help to relieve stress and anxiety, give us more energy, improve our mood, enhance the quality of our sleep, increase our self-esteem, and improve our memory.
You don’t have to run a triathlon to get the benefits that exercise can bring. Incorporating low-impact moves such as stretching, power-walking, and basic yoga will help you to feel an improvement in your quality of life.
Don’t have much time? We get it! The good news on that front is that you don’t have to leave your home to start. There are many free videos online that can help you develop a 10-minute or less routine with simple household items.
Build a Support Network
It can feel really lonely to be going through a tough time without the support of others. It’s important to have people in your life that you trust and can open up to. Companionship and connection are vital to our emotional well-being and overall happiness.
If you’re currently feeling isolated, consider reaching out to old friends or family members you may have lost touch with. Join a support group. Find clubs or events to meet others who share your interests.
Make Time for Things That Give You Joy or Pleasure
With the busy routines of our daily lives, it is easy to forget to make time for ourselves. And even if you realize you are not doing this, it’s often hard to prioritize fun or relaxation.
Some people feel “selfish” when they set aside time for themselves, or reject plans with others to have time alone. A key aspect of emotional health is pleasure. It‘s necessary for you to think about things that bring you joy and make time for them. Even if you can only find time for a few small things a week.
Make sure that you are prioritizing yourself. Find a balance between taking care of yourself in addition to the other responsibilities and roles that you fill. It can be as small as taking a walk, having sex, watching a television show, reading a book, or taking a bath.
If you are finding that it is too hard to naturally incorporate this into your routine, schedule these activities into your calendar as you would any other appointment or commitment.
Eat a Healthy or Healthier Diet
The connection between what you eat and the profound impacts on your energy, mood, sleep, and self-esteem are not commonly known. It is normal to indulge sometimes. But, it is important to recognize when your general eating habits are more focused on indulging and include little to no healthy habits.
The secret to starting on a healthier eating habit is to begin small! For example, you may add a little more of the healthy veggies that have vibrant colors and that you like (tomatoes, different color peppers, peas, and carrots, etc) and at the same time, decrease the amount of the less healthy options. As you get your body used to having these visually pleasing and more healthy options on your plate, you may be surprised that you miss having these on your plate when they are not there!
Starting with small changes to incorporate healthier foods can make a big difference in how you feel overall.
Work With a Therapist
Sometimes, it may feel overwhelming to cope with what you are going through on your own. You might engage in what is referred to as “emotional eating”.
Comfort foods make your brain produce dopamine, which comes from the reward and pleasure centers of the brain. This is the reason why a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream may seem like a good idea at the time, and may temporarily make you “feel better”. But, it is important to note that this is just a bandaid. It often results in you feeling worse.
During times like these, it’s important to seek guidance from a therapist who can help you understand your behaviors and reactions to events, as well as offer tools to help you cope with your experiences.
Whether you are in a space where you realize that you cannot do it on your own, or perhaps you are ready to learn new skills to better manage the stressors in your life, working with a licensed therapist can be the first step towards making the changes that you want in your life.