Updated: Dec 2, 2020
“Mental wellness is defined as a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community (americanmentalwellness.org).”
Being mentally healthy is not about the absence of a mental disorder; it’s about taking steps to create positive mental well-being. Whether you are dealing with feelings of depression and anxiety or not, creating a routine has been shown to have various health benefits – mental, emotional, and physical.
“People with more daily routines have lower levels of distress when facing problems with their health or negative life events (Mental Health America).” Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries is sharing ways to improve mental wellness that can be incorporated into your daily routine.
Whether you do this at the start or end of your day, practicing gratitude allows you to reflect on the things you are thankful for. Studies have shown that individuals who practice gratitude sleep better, have more energy, express more compassion, and have stronger immune systems.
The act of practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be large or extravagant. While we are all grateful when positive, life-changing things happen to us, those events don’t tend to happen every day. Some days you struggle more, deal with more stress, feel more worn down, and that’s okay. On those days, focus on the little things – being grateful that your favorite song came on the radio or that your coffee order came out just the way you like it.
Starting a gratitude journal and writing in it every day can be a powerful addition to your routine. And, when days are extra hard, you can reflect back on all the beautiful things you have to be thankful for.
Take Time for Self-Care
Many people tend to associate self-care with an act of selfishness. We’ve all heard (or said) it before – “I don’t have time to get my hair done.” or “I never have time to [read, play golf, sew, play guitar, etc.] anymore.” But self-care needs to be prioritized – whether it’s a part of your daily, weekly, or monthly routine.
Of course, self-care shouldn’t be done in a narcissistic or unhealthy way, but as a way to focus on things that matter to you and make you feel good. Self-care can be going for a walk before work, taking time every night to read, or scheduling a weekly round of golf with a neighbor. These activities allow you to focus on yourself, clear your mind, and relieve feelings of stress that build up over time.
Set Aside Time for Worship & Prayer
Just like we set aside time for bathing, eating, and cleaning, you should set aside time each day for prayer. This can be different for each person, and as your life changes and evolves, your prayer routine will, too. For some, it may be listening to worship music and reflecting; for others, it may be reading and taking notes in a journaling bible.
How long you set aside is up to you, but this addition to your routine will not only bless your life but become embedded in your daily life, encouraging positive mental well-being.
These are just some examples of ways to add structure and positive experiences to your life. “By creating routines, we organize our days in such a way that taking care of tasks and ourselves becomes a pattern that makes it easier to get things done without having to think hard about them (Mental Health America).”
We encourage you to develop a routine that focuses on the positive and promotes mental wellness.