Most people have probably heard of personal hygiene — especially if we’ve shared an elevator with someone who’s not very good at it! Personal hygiene is something we tend to take for granted as a part of our daily routines: brushing teeth, showering, and maybe adding a spritz of cologne behind our ears. You may have also heard of “sleep hygiene,” which is all about taking steps to develop a before-bed routine that encourages better sleep, like avoiding screens before bed, steering clear of caffeinated beverages, and getting enough exercise. But not as many people are familiar with the concept of mental hygiene. Mental hygiene is — you guessed it — the practice of being proactive about maintaining good mental health. How? Read on for three easy ways to improve your mental hygiene.
Self-Care is part of a good mental hygiene routine
Good mental hygiene is all about caring for yourself and doing the things you need to do in order to stay calm, focused, and content — in other words, your best self. This kind of routine will look different for everyone.
You might be the kind of person who needs a lot of physical activity and time outdoors in order to feel your best. That means that your mental hygiene routine should include regular exercise, walks, and sunshine to keep your vitamin D and endorphin levels high. Maybe your Self-Care for mental health looks more like getting enough sleep, visiting with friends, and regular meditation practice.
Whatever you need to do to keep a healthy balance, the important thing is to stay consistent. Healthy habits are built over time, and your mental health won’t change overnight.
How can you give your mental health a boost?
If you’re looking to start a Self-Care routine to positively impact your mental hygiene, try these easy tips to get you going. You can build on these suggestions and add your own personal methods for staying on an even keel and making sure you’re getting the things you need to maintain good mental hygiene.
- Connect with friends. Positive relationships are a big part of good mental hygiene. Think about the friendships you have in your life and whether they are truly serving you. Make sure you have individuals, whether it's family or friends, who you can count on to talk to and connect with on a regular basis.
- Shut down your screen. Too much online time can lead to a decline in overall health, as well as mental hygiene. Try to turn off your phone, computer, and television at least one hour before bedtime to give your mind a chance to rest and calm down after the hectic rush of the day.
- Write it down. Getting your emotions — good or bad — out on the page is a time-tested method for improving mental health and establishing a good mental hygiene routine. Try journaling first thing in the morning or before you go to bed at night. You don’t have to write a lot — even one page or a few lines is a good way to help center yourself and is a great part of a mental hygiene routine.
No matter what you choose to do for your mental hygiene routine, think about the things that make you feel good and incorporate them when you can. If you’re consistent and mindful about your practice, you’ll start to see improvements in your mood, sleep, and overall contentment.
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