With all that’s going on in our nation and local communities right now, our mental well-being is being tested. However, there are steps you can take to keep yourself “sane” and strengthen your mental health.
A few habits that can help you build your inner strength and solidify your peace and health include getting proper sleep, practicing daily mindfulness or meditation, daily journaling, practicing gratitude and seeking help. And just like there are devices and apps to support your physical health, there are apps that can help you establish better mental health.
Getting a good night’s rest is critical for our mental well-being. We all know when we get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis, our moods are better and we feel more energized. In fact, science tells us getting ample sleep and good quality sleep can improve your mood, boost your energy level, lower stress levels, and improve your memory and focus. If you’re not sure how much sleep you’re getting each night, tracking it can help you build a better sleep schedule.
You’ll find apps like Pzizz offer a way to help you track your sleep. Pzizz also offers guided sleep sessions. For instance, tap on the sleep session and find yourself lulled to sleep with a spoken guide and soothing sounds. You can choose which type of session works for you. This app also offers guided sessions and tracking for naps and focus time.
Practice meditation and mindfulness
Practicing meditation or mindfulness is another great habit to establish. Research shows meditating regularly improves your mental and physical health, reduces symptoms of anxiety and lowers blood pressure. If you’re not sure where to start, there are several apps that can walk you through a personal meditation session. Headspace, Calm and Breathe are apps that we recommend and can be accessed by some members as part of the Vitality program. Similar to sleep apps, these apps offer guided sessions to help you take a break to meditate at any time, and help you unwind and fall asleep.
Journaling is a healthy way to cope with your feelings as it offers a way to help you process your thoughts and emotions and the events and circumstances of your daily life. Additionally, many people find that keeping a gratitude journal makes them feel better mentally. Research shows people who have a grateful outlook also have better physical and mental health. Try these popular apps to help you document your innermost thoughts: Day One, Diarium or Grateful.
Reach out for help
Reaching out for help is a key part of your mental well-being and is especially important during times of heightened stress. Betterhelp and Talkspace allow you to do just that. These apps provide the opportunity for in-app messaging and other electronic, telephonic and video means of communicating with licensed therapists. If you’re curious to learn more, see this article for a thorough description of both apps.
It takes time to find the tools and habits that help you strengthen and maintain your mental health. These tips and apps offer a good place to start. Answer our occasional surveys in the Vitality program or find us on social media and let us know how you’re doing!
Tonja Dodd, MPH, is a Senior Health Strategy Analyst at Vitality Group where she translates clinical guidelines into risk appropriate health promotion strategies to engage members in healthy behaviors. Her background is in public health with 25 years of experience designing, developing and delivering health and wellness programs and products. Tonja finds her healthy place is being active outdoors and spending time with family, friends and pets.