Fellas, taking care of your mental health on a daily basis may sound like a lengthy task. But the truth is, taking the time to look after your state of mind doesn’t have to take all day.
With everyday stress coming at you from left and right, it’s essential to have solid coping skills and go-to stress-relieving activities to fall back on. The reason why is that Black men and other men of color in America experience similar rates of mental illness as their White counterparts, but the problem is that men of color are less likely to seek help.
Prevention is the best form of treatment for mental health issues, so if you aren’t practicing self-care every day, it’s time to change that. Taking care of yourself daily by practicing healthy habits doesn’t just help you deal with everyday stress better, but it can also help you shoulder the tough mental health days too.
So if you need some inspiration on ways to take better care of your mental health as a man of color, here are six for you:
1. Take a daily walk.
If you’ve ever noticed yourself feeling extra refreshed or upbeat after spending time outdoors, it’s not just in your head. Being outdoors can do wonders for your mental health by reducing stress, increasing feelings of happiness, and, overall, promoting a better mood.
Whether you get your nature fix by walking your dog or shooting ball outside, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re outdoors!
2. Make a to-do list for the next day.
Do you find yourself overwhelmed every time the evening comes around because you’re worried about the day ahead? Then do yourself a favor and relieve some of that stress and anxiety by getting prepared and making it a habit to plan for the day ahead.
3. Unplug for a short period every day.
Plenty of research proves that being tapped into our peers’ lives 24/7 with social media can lead to adverse mental health outcomes, so take a break to reconnect with yourself. You can use your true “me-time” to be present with yourself and quiet your busy mind.
4. Dump your thoughts into a journal.
If you’re still on the fence about therapy or don’t feel like you can confide in anyone around you about your feelings, expressing yourself on paper does just the trick.
It can feel so relieving to let your thoughts flow out as they come. The next time you need to get something off your chest, put pen to paper and let it flow!
5. Look good to feel good.
One survey among young people found that taking care of personal hygiene helped alleviate some of their symptoms of depression or anxiety. So clearly, there is some weight to the saying, “when you look good, you feel good.”
6. Get a workout in.
You may not want to hear it, but exercise is a scientifically proven mood booster! It helps reduce stress, increases feelings of self-confidence, and promotes better sleep.
There are so many ways to get your exercise in, so get creative, and don’t feel limited to going to just the gym if that’s not your thing!
Taking care of your mental health matters
For men of color, it doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with a serious mental health issue or not because daily self-care is essential. Hopefully, you’ve already been thinking of ways to implement these strategies above in your life, and remember that self-care looks different for everyone.
Use our strategies above as a guide, and create your own self-care ritual that works for you!