Mental Health throughout Your Twenties, Thirties, and Beyond
Sadly, mental health is still a subject we don’t talk about enough.
True, things are beginning to shift, and more and more people are speaking out about their own struggles, slowly lifting the stigma we associate with mental health challenges.
As Matt Haig would so much more eloquently put it, our minds can’t keep up with our lives, and we often succumb to anxiety, panic disorder, depression, OCD, and a whole other assortment of mental illnesses.
In order to allow your brain to cope better, you need to start protecting your mental health as soon as you can: as soon as you become aware of it. Which is most often in your twenties.
The twenties: An age of confusion
Our twenties are rarely an age where we have anything figured out. We often feel lost, alone, and like we have no clue what we are doing with our life, or at this very moment for that matter.
Here is what you can do to boost your mental health at this age:
- Surround yourself with the right people. We are more influenced by others in our twenties than at any other time in our life.If you make sure these people are good influenceswho have a positive impact on your life, chances are you will be able to cope with it better.
- Know that you are not alone and that you are not the first person to feel what you are feeling.
- Talk about what you are struggling with: to a friend, a family member, someone online, a therapist – talking about it helps.
- Stay active: exercise is a great wayto help improve mental healthand work through some of the thoughts you are coping with. Whatever you enjoy doing, make sure you find time to do it at least a couple of times a week or more.
- Limit your bad habits: bad food, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are all a breeding ground for anxiety and depression. Try not to base your diet around them, and make sure your body gets some healthy and delicious fuel too.
The thirties: Putting it all together
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Your thirties are to learn the lessons, as Carrie Bradshaw would put it.
And true enough, this is some of the best times of your life: where you start to realize who you are, what you want, and how to get there. But in order to keep your mental health in check, try to:
- Monitor your stress levels: careers, family and kids often hit us in our thirties. No matter what you have going on in your life, make sure you areaware of how stressed you are. Do what you can to minimize it as often as you need to, as opposed to letting it get out of hand.
- Prioritize your goals: now that you know what life can be about, make sure you don’t try to chase every dream you have at the same time. Make priorities and make them willingly and wisely. That way, you won’t allow yourself to pull yourself down when you can’t accomplish everything in a day.
- Sleep: don’t forget that you need your rest. And that you can’t sleep as little as you used to a decade ago.
And beyond: mental health at any age
Once you get through your turbulent thirties, you will realize that mental health is about staying calm in a storm, not letting the stress get to you, and figuring out your own ways to deal with it.
Here’s what can help:
- Meditate: while it sounds like a boring cliché,it really does help, so try it.
- Read: it will not only help you relax, but it will also boost your cognitive functions and help you realize others have been where you are, albeit in different worlds.
- Know what to expect: as we get older different diseases can creep up on us. Make sure to educate yourself about diseasessuch as Alzheimer’sthat are becoming increasingly more common. That way, you will know what you can do to prevent or monitor them.
- Stay connected: make sure you keep your human connections alive and well, and stay in touch with friends and family, no matter where life takes you.
Prioritizing your mental health over the course of your entire life is not selfish: don’t let anyone tell you that. It’s ensuring you are living your best life, and becoming the best version of the person you can possibly be.
By Sarah Kaminski
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