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The Importance of Mental Hygiene

This past year has taught us a lot about how resilient we are in the face of what seems to be ongoing challenges. The sudden shift of working remotely; sudden uncertainty of our job security; reliance on technology more than ever; - just to name a few. All these changes suddenly and concurrently can (and probably have) put quite a load on our minds. One thing that we were all taught from an early age is the importance of physical hygiene – wash your hands, brush your teeth, take showers – all those items are now simply a reflex for us. But what about mental hygiene? How often do we take care of the mental part of ourselves? Here are some tips on how you can care for the emotional and intellectual part of you.

Get Your Alone Time

This is usually easier said than done but when working with people all throughout the day, communicating, speaking and presenting it’s good to try and balance that with time that is spent just for you, whether it’s before, during or after your work day. Depending on how much of an early riser you are, maybe it would work to go for a walk with just you and your thoughts. Or perhaps on a lunch break to just veg out on the couch completely disconnected. Or after work, just taking the car out for a 20-minute drive around town to clear your mind. Whatever it is, it’s important to take time just for you where you don’t need to be responding to or managing or coordinating anything. This will help recharge those batteries for when you really need them.

Physical Activity

This has been said so many times it feels like old hat to say it again here, but it really works. Physical activity will stimulate mental acuity and help relieve stress. Take the time and make it a priority to get physical a few times throughout the day to help keep you focused. Besides the physical benefits of getting active it’s crucial that you also get that break from behind the screen and get away from work for even a brief recess of time.

Positive Self-Talk

So many of us get under a load of stress that we start to internalize a lot of the issues we face and instinctively blame ourselves. When we start doing that we tend to get into a spiral of being negative to ourselves and convincing ourselves that we’re not going to get out from under it. Be cognizant to give yourself a pep-talk occasionally to validate to yourself that you can do this, that you will succeed. Positive self-talk will help shape your overall perspective and keep you feeling confident.

Mental hygiene has become such an important aspect of our lives, now more than ever. Following these and other tips to keep the intellectual and emotional sides of us healthy is just as important as making sure we eat healthy and exercise regularly


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