Alright folks, going full force into the new year!
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been really focused on ways in which I can improve my overall mental health. From reading different blog posts online and searching personal practices of how this can obtained. I’ve heard a few common trends repeated, which I’ve tried to accomplish, but haven’t quite mastered. The most common I’ve heard is that you need to sleep earlier and sleep longer.
I’ve struggled with getting a good nights sleep for over a year now. When I was at my lowest point in my mental health, I was sleeping maybe 2-3 hours per night, and then trying to sleep during the day to make up for it. This was so obviously unhealthy, but I had no idea what to do to sleep more or what was causing me to stay up with the sun.
Of course, going to sleep earlier and sleeping longer is good for your physical and mental health, but they’re not that easy to do! As soon as I started sharing with others that I couldn’t sleep well at night, I kept hearing “well then turn off your phone,” “stop watching tv,” and “just lay there until you fall asleep!” Let me tell you, these are not the most encouraging things and something you definitely don’t want to hear. It’s not a simple fix!
There is no one or two step process to “tackling” your mental health challenges, and not every process works for each person. This is why I call this a journey, and everyday I try to better myself in someway, even if it is miniscule. There is no one off fix to strengthen your overall mental health immediately, and even if there was, I don’t think I would be open to. There’s no on/off switch and everything’s a process, and it takes hard work and dedication to solve any problem you may be faced with. Just as with medication and therapy, they go hand in hand. I’ve found it difficult to work on one without the other.
Here are some ways that I have tried to focus on achieving this:
To fall asleep sleep earlier, I try to…
- Set my alarm clock before I get into bed, so I have no reason to be on my phone once my head hits the pillow
- Disconnect from my electronics (laptop, phone) so I’m not caught up in the endless cycle of social media
- Take a warm shower/bath before bed
- Close my door so the tv/lights from other rooms doesn’t disturb me
- Pack my bag so I am well organized for the morning, and lie awake worrying
- Open a book and try to read a chapter
- Make a list of the good things in your day. This way, you can fall asleep reflecting on what made your day so positive, and how you can aim for to accomplish more positive attributes the next day
I’ll be the first to tell you, that these don’t always work and sometimes you’re not in the right headspace to utilize them. There are definitely times I fall asleep watching Netflix or am scrambled in the morning packing my bag and trying to remember which class and if I’m working that day. However, just as this journey continues, these are little things I’ve tried that actually have helped me, and I am trying my best to continue on with them, and even find other tasks to help me improve with this. I try to be as organized as possible before I physically get into bed to minimize any unfinished stresses. If I am more organized for the next day, then there isn’t much stopping me from closing my eyes and thinking towards the positive for tomorrow!
I’d love to hear from you, and how you improve your mental health! What are some things you focus on? Does getting more sleep/ a better sleep benefit you? Or, has sleep affected your overall mental health at all?
Until my next adventure,