27 Ways to Improve your Mental Health Without Medication

While I am definitely a huge advocate against the stigma surrounding medications used to treat mental illnesses (seriously, if you have a mental illness it’s bad enough but if you DARE to take medication for it? Frig!) I do believe there are lots of things that individuals can do to improve (not fix!) their mental health.  For individuals who suffer on-and-off from depressive and anxiety symptoms, some of these tips may help pull you out of a “funk”.

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Eat healthier
  3. Get enough sleep
    • 7-9 hours recommended
  4. Do something you enjoy
  5. Hang out with friends
  6. Plan a vacation 
    • Even if you don’t know when you’ll be able to take it, planning it out will give you something to look forward to and something positive to focus your energies on
  7. Join a club
  8. Read a book
  9. Try journaling
  10. Unplug for a while
    • Phones are stressful!
  11. Meditate
  12. Take a bath
    • With candles and smelly bubble bath!
  13. Plan a weekend away
  14. Call up an old friend or a relative you haven’t spoken to in a while
  15. Tidy your living space
    • Seriously! You won’t believe how much better your mind can work in an uncluttered environment! (Ask me how I know!)
  16. Go to your local library
  17. Be a tourist for a day
    • Even in your hometown, there are probably lots of things that you’ve never seen/tried. Check out what your local tourist attractions are and go check them out!
  18. Go for a drive
  19. Do something productive
    • Check something off your to-do list, even something simple.  A sense of accomplishment is important to maintaining your mental health.
  20. Cuddle a pet
    • If you don’t have a pet, cuddle a friend’s pet
    • If you don’t have any friends with pets, go to your local pound
    • If you don’t have a rescue organization in your area, find a pet store
    • If you don’t have a pet store in your area, find an off-leash dog park
    • Barring all these things, go for a walk and don’t stop walking until you find a dog
      • Do whatever you must to cuddle that dog like it’s never been cuddled before
  21. Cuddle with a friend or significant other
    • Self explanatory. Cuddles are the best!
  22. Get a massage
    • This may seem like a weird suggestion but it made a HUGE difference for me. Physical contact with another human being is a great way to ground yourself and reattach to your life.
  23. Watch a favorite movie from your childhood
    • Who doesn’t wish that life could still be as simple and worry-free as it was when we were kids? Tap into that carefree mindset by watching and old favorite – Tarzan and Mulan are my personal favorites!
  24. Go people watching
    • Make up stories about the people you see – the quirkier the better!
  25. Get dressed up – for no reason at all
    • Do your makeup and hair super fancy – just for fun!
      • For added fun and ridiculousness, invite a friend to do it with you!
  26. Have a good cry
    • This may seem super counterproductive but just hear me out. Sometimes you just need to get the negative emotions OUT. So put on some sad music, or watch a sad movie and just let it go. You may find that you feel way better afterward.
  27. Volunteer!
    • I’m sure you’ve heard this before but, take it from me! Helping others is one of the best ways to reestablish your value to yourself. It’s also really nice to know that you do have an impact on the world around you and it’s not that hard to make life a little better for the people in it.
    • Even if you don’t join a formal agency or anything, you can still just be helpful to the people in your community. Something as simple as helping an older person with their groceries or giving a push to a stick vehicle can make a huge difference in your day as well as someone else’s!
If you find that you’ve honestly and truly tried the suggestions on this list and nothing seemed to help you, it may be time to talk to your doctor (if you haven’t already).  I know that idea can be very stressful, but it’s really not so bad!  Depression, anxiety, and other such illnesses are ridiculously common these days so if your doctor is worth their weight in salt, they likely won’t bat an eye when you tell them how you’re feeling. If you’re still not sure, you are very welcome to check out my post describing my mental health experience.
 
Finally, if you have any comments, concerns, suggestions, or just want to say “hi!” drop me a line in the comments section!
 
All my love,
 
Em

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