Millennials have a lot going on, nowadays, and their challenges are quite different from their Baby Boomer predecessors. They’re exhausted, overworked, and constantly reprimanded by other generations, leading them to experience mental illness or poor mental health at a higher rate than others.
Sometimes, therapy is a big jump, and you need baby steps to help you care for yourself inside and out. Here are some essential mental health tips to help you keep your cool through all the chaos.
Focus on the present as opposed to revitalizing old failures and mistakes. You’ve learned from the past, so recognize that and take the rest with a grain of salt. Instead, focus on current goals and meals of achievement. This is a healthy coping mechanism for stress.
When you’re stressed out, stress eating can sometimes feel inevitable. But healthy foods often improve your mood and general physical feeling of well being. Instead of grabbing the Cheetos and ice cream, pick out your favorite fruits and veggies, with a sweet dip and savory dip to make them more appealing. Eggs, blueberries and salmon also boost mood and brain function.
Take a moment to breathe. This can be in the form of actual breathing exercises, a quick daily yoga session, or a meditation practice, either at home or in a studio. All of these practices help you cope with chaos and life’s drama, lowing cortisol levels and releasing tension with ease.
Remember to get out in nature once in a while, which can also do wonders for your stress and state of mind. With much of our generation glued to screens, this can seem difficult at times. Take a daily walk at your favorite park or choose a new hiking destination every weekend, as it can boost mental and bodily well being as well as increasing creativity and sharpening thinking. Even a good view does wonders!
Remember the importance of off-like social connections. Many mental health issues millennials face result in isolation and a false social narrative. We’re already called entitled snowflakes and don’t need to feel more guilty – we need to feel more of a support network with compassionate people who can empathize. In person connections can be made through workout classes or book clubs.
At the same time, understand the downside of social media. Social media can bring people together but also encourages a sense of perfectionism – the feeling that you’re never enough, and could be doing better. Instead, just strive to be your best self. Pulling an all-nighter might get you called a hard worker, but what effect does it have on your mental health? Help each other, don’t compare and compete!
Make an appreciation list. This consists of keeping a pad and pen next to your bed. Before falling asleep or doing your nighttime rituals, write out ten positive moments that happened throughout your day. This encourages optimism as opposed to a glass-half-empty mentality.
Make balance a priority. Many millennials overwork themselves to the point of dangerous exhaustion. Instead of pushing yourself over the edge to get that bonus or potential raise, take a moment to give yourself a mental health check and disengage form work to focus on self care.
Understand that saying “no” is ok. Millennials are known to experience #FOMO, or fear of missing out. Setting your own boundaries (see last note about balance) will do your mind wonders. You might miss out on that cool rave or a certain work happy hour you thought would help you get ahead, but you’ll get a chance to re-focus on you, which is the most valuable thing out there.
Don’t keep up with the news too constantly – a break doesn’t make you a bad person. In our current political climate which is set ablaze internationally, feeling a daily stress from the weight of the world has come to be a natural sensation. Staying updated and educating yourself on the news cycle is one thing, but getting too immersed in daily politics can start to take a toll on your mind.