The following contribute to overall health and are essential for all people in maintaining strong emotional health, but especially for those who have a mental illness or a substance use disorder.
- Seek proper medical care: Get routine check-ups and visit your doctor when you are not feeling well. Develop a relationship with your health care professional.
- Manage stress: Stress is a normal part of life but you can take steps to manage it in your life. Investigate stress reduction techniques and find those that work for you.
- Sleep enough: Lack of sleep can affect your mood and your ability to function. Scientists suggest at least 7 hours of sleep each night are required for maximum performance.
- Eat right: “You are what you eat” is true. A healthy diet heavy in fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains will help you to feel strong and to control weight. Foods high in saturated fats, chemicals and calories are a drain on your system and can cause heart problems and other diseases. Your doctor can help you to develop a nutrition plan.
- Exercise: Regular exercise has been shown to be an effective mood stabilizer. It can increase self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep and control weight. Any kind of exercise program is beneficial and many do not require expensive equipment – you can start with short daily walks. Talk to your doctor about designing an exercise routine that fits into your daily life.
- Relax: It is important to take time for yourself each week to do something that you enjoy, whether a hobby, a book, a bike ride, or a favorite TV show. Leaving the stresses of daily life behind for a little while gives us strength to deal with them effectively.
- Socialize: Connection to the wider world around us increases self-esteem, reduces stress, and adds to a positive outlook. Spending time with people we care about helps in overall well-being and is essential to good emotional health.
- Substance control: Smoking puts you at risk for cancer and heart disease. Your doctor can help you explore ways to quit. Or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. If you find that you are using drugs or alcohol to cope, it is important to seek help. You will not be able to stay well and healthy if you have addiction problems. Call 1-800-662-HELP.