Hygiene and it’s connection to mental health is often taken leniently. In order to understand it, we ought to know the importance these two ‘terms’ hold.
When we talk about hygiene, it’s stated that “Hygiene is a series of practices performed to preserve health. According to WHO, “Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases.” Personal hygiene refers to maintaining the body’s cleanliness.
Many people equate hygiene with ‘cleanliness,’ but hygiene is a broad term. Every day, we do “hygienic” tasks like take a bath, wash our hands, brush our teeth, and exercise, all so we can stay happy and healthy. And while physical hygiene is important, we shouldn’t neglect our mental health hygiene. But what is Mental Health Hygiene?
Mental Health is a state of successful mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and the ability to adapt, change, and cope with adversity.
A person is considered mentally healthy if he/she looks at one’s self, one’s life, and others, in a relatively stable and grounded manner. Moreover, if a person can evaluate, think, feel and act constructively when faced with life’s situations, challenges, and problems. Most importantly, if a person can explore constructive choices in handling stress and making decisions, then one is said to be mentally healthy.
Mental Hygiene, on the other hand, is developing, maintaining and promoting necessary behavioural, emotional and social skills to sustain good, effective and efficient mental health. Like physical hygiene, mental hygiene routines are performed for the prevention of developing psychosis, neurosis, or other mental disorder, and for managing the existing ones.
If not taken care of these things which effect the whole well being of the body, it might lead to difficulties like:
- Problems relating to Impersonal relationships.
- Low self esteem
When it comes to thoughts and making up your mind, coping up is always a tougher job to do but when it tries to hold you back, you know, that it’s the time to let go or to gain control over it.
There are things which have been proven to affect one’s mental health to its healthy state are:
- NURTURE CONNECTIONS:
Humans are social animals, Surround yourself with friends who help you grow. Let go of the toxic people who hold you back. Laugh with others, share your emotions with them. You need those people because you need to know that you are not alone.
- PEN IT DOWN
Writing helps you translate your thoughts and feelings into something tangible. For those who do find writing cathartic, journaling can also help organize these thoughts and feelings into a broader perspective. However, if writing it down only stresses you, then don’t push it.
- SLEEPING ROUTINE
You can improve the quality of your sleep by setting a regular bedtime schedule. You should also cut out on the booze and screen time, as these disrupt your normal, healthy, sleep cycle. During deep sleep, restoration of the mind and body happens. It is during this time that your body works on its repairs. So lay down comfortably and get enough sleep every night.
Exercise is not only physical hygiene. It is also an important mental hygiene practice. When you exercise, your brain releases Endorphins and Serotonin. Moreover, group sports foster good relationship ties that help you improve on your social skills and contact sports are good for regulating or keeping anger issues and anger management in check.
- SELF LOVE
Only allow the right people to be present in your life. Get rid of the people who thrive on your loss or pain. There is not enough time in life to waste on people who want to take away your happiness. Set boundaries with others. When you set limits or say no to work or activities that deplete your physical, spiritual, or emotional energy, you allow yourself more time to practice positive thoughts.
Focus on Need
Accept what you need rather than what you think you want. Self-love is practiced by turning away from what may feel exciting and good to focus on what you need to stay centred, strong, and moving forward in your life. By focusing on what you need, you turn away from automatic behaviours that get you into trouble and keep you stuck in the past.
Stress has always been a major exacerbator of my anxiety and depression symptoms. By learning to take better care of the basic needs I have, I have learned to lessen the physical effects stress has on my body. If you take time to focus on what you need, you will love yourself more. People who nourish themselves daily through proper nutrition, sleep, exercise, and healthy social interactions have higher feelings of self-love.