Conversations surrounding mental health often lean toward prescriptions or therapy sessions. Although these can be great ways to learn how to cope and live with a diagnosis, there are other ways to improve your mental health.
Many people don’t realize the impact of the environment on mental health and how it can help or hurt you. Whether you’re at home, work or school, what you surround yourself with changes your quality of life. Anyone can make these changes if they know where to start.
1. Start With Cleaning Products
Look around your home and pull out all your cleaning products. Laundry detergents, stain removers and even toilet cleaners all contain chemicals that harm your health, some of which you can feel right away. It’s the dizziness you feel after scrubbing your shower for more than a few minutes, but the effects can continue long afterward. Some solvents even alter your body’s hormones and cause an imbalance in your brain chemistry.
Opting for organic or all-natural cleaning products could go a long way in reducing indoor air pollution so your mental health improves.
2. Assess Your Diet
What do you typically eat every week? If you don’t buy sugar-free foods that are low in carbs, you’re likely making any mental health illnesses worse. Studies have shown that sugar increases your risk for mood disorders and worsens symptoms.
Reassess your diet to remove sugars and complex carbs like pasta or baked goods. After you get through the initial detox, you’ll feel more grounded and at peace.
3. Give Back To The Earth
When you give back to the Earth through community volunteering or even taking care of a garden in your yard, you’re helping the planet and yourself. Teamwork and the positive change that comes from it will instill pride and a sense of worth in your heart.
Sometimes a boost in your self-confidence is what you need to cope with anxiety and depression. You can feel this immediate environmental impact on your mental health whenever you get your next opportunity to go outside with friends or family members.
4. Enjoy A Walk
If you feel yourself getting lost in anxious thoughts or a depressive spiral, go for a quick walk. Being outside, breathing fresh air and taking in nature will decrease your anxiety symptoms and improve your cognition. People dedicated to sustainability often spend more time outside because it’s a reminder of the Earth’s beauty and why you went green. Now you can go outdoors to do that and help your mental health at the same time.
5. Learn Something New
Anxious thoughts and obsessive or destructive behaviours often stem from a state of panic or uncertainty. Striving to learn something new every day gives you more power over mental health behaviors. As you learn about eco-friendly lifestyle choices, like making homemade laundry detergent or growing a vegetable garden, you’ll regain control over your thought processes and daily life.
6. Improve Your Home
You spend much of your time at home, so it’s crucial to ensure a healthy environment for your mental wellbeing. If you’re a homeowner, you can consider eco-friendly home renovations like switching to metal roofing or installing solar panels. Renters can use light-blocking curtains to regulate their home’s temperature or replace air filters to reduce electricity bills.
When your home environment supports your eco-friendly lifestyle, it will also help you achieve the health and wellness goals you set for yourself.
Do Your Research
Depending on the mental health challenges you face, you can do some research to determine which of these tips would help you the most. The impact of the environment on mental health is a crucial part of learning to live with your diagnosis and enjoy every day.
Emily is a freelance writer, covering conservation and sustainability. You can read her blog, Conservation Folks, for more of her work.