Are you ready to start 2021 in control of your mental health? Shana Feibel, a psychiatrist at Lindner Center of HOPE shares how you can start. “When assessing a new patient, I often ask, If you could fix three aspects of your mental health with a magic wand, what would they be?” Feibel says. “A patient might respond with anger, insomnia, and anxiety. Often, half the battle is understanding and acknowledging these feelings, then the real work can begin.” Feibel offers eight tips to help you work toward improving your mental health.
Explore CBT and DBT therapies.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” is when a person speaks with a therapist to explore and understand feelings and behaviors and gain coping skills. During sessions, a therapist helps the patient make connections while discussing certain topics. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are forms of psychotherapy to help with coping skills. “The tips found in CBT and DBT can be simple, easy to use, and, most importantly, life-changing,” Feibel says. “The more these skills are practiced, the more they are ingrained into your daily routine.”
“This cannot be underscored enough,” Feibel says. “The most important thing to remember here is that you do not need to run a marathon. Even a walk can do the job of getting your heart pumping faster. The results include a decrease in anxiety and depression and improvements in sleep and mood.” Walk in your neighborhood, join a gym, or take a stroll through your local mall. Feibel suggests finding a workout buddy to hold you accountable.
“There has never been a better time to try meditation as a way to relieve stress, regroup, and center yourself,” Feibel says. “I recommend doing it at the same time every day so it becomes a habit and journal your efforts after each session.” There are several apps like Calm and Headspace for beginners and other online resources to help guide you through your first sessions.
Experiment with aromatherapy.
People have used aromatherapy for centuries. Spend time experimenting with different aromas—you will be surprised at how much they can make a difference in your life. Feibel suggests trying lavender or rose on your pillow at night to help you achieve a good night’s sleep, and in the morning, try peppermint or lemon zest to help wake you up. “You can share this hobby with others and even make your own soaps or candles at home,” Feibel adds.
Carve out some alone time every day.
This can be in the form of a bath, reading, or simply spending time on your phone or tablet. It’s meant to give you the time you need to think about your day and organize your thoughts. “Many people have started journaling since quarantine started,” Feibel says. “This can become a vital new habit that helps you get your feelings down on paper, which can be a form of therapy in itself.”
Use positive affirmations as reminders to slow down.
These are little sayings that you can place in various places around your house to remind you to stop and take a breath. Some expressions Feibel suggests include, Slow and steady wins the race, Be grateful for today, Don’t forget to smile, and You are loved. Find books featuring positive affirmations or make up your own that you know will speak to you.
Adopt or foster a pet.
Dogs are often referred to as a man’s best friend, but did you know that pets can help people live longer and happier lives? They can also help boost your immune system, which is more important now than ever.
Seek professional help.
You do not have to tackle your mental health challenges alone. Seek professional therapy services to help coach you through your mental health struggles. The Lindner Center of HOPE is an award-winning mental health treatment center in Mason that provides treatment for anxiety, depression, and other disorders. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, contact a professional today by calling (513) 536-4673.