Setting Mental Health Goals

Posted November 4, 2021

A healthy young woman celebrates completing a hike as the sun is setting as part of her mental health goal setting planHenry Ford is quoted as saying, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs,” and Confucius is claimed to have said, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” Both of these quotes have to do with the importance of setting goals as well as the value of making them realistic and attainable.

Mental health goals are no different. Just like other types of targets you might make in life, mental health goals are vital to staying happy and healthy. What are mental health goals, and how can you achieve them? Here’s how to establish objectives and stick to them.

Setting Daily Mental Health Goals

It’s key to set targets that you can work toward daily. Here are some kinds of daily mental health goals that you may wish to improve upon if you want to be your best self. If you live near Apple Valley, MN, a network of professionals can help you with goals like these.

Maintain Regular Exercise

Your mental health is directly connected to your physical health, so taking care of your mind also means taking care of your body. One type of goal you might want to make, then, is to create a fitness routine.

There is a strong correlation between exercise and mood. If you’re under a lot of stress, going for a run or doing any other type of cardio activity will almost certainly make you feel better. In addition to the short-term benefits, regular exercise can also ease long-term depression and anxiety.

Ideally, you should aim to do 30 minutes of exercise every day for five days a week, but if you’re not ready to commit to that, a little exercise can still help improve your mental health. If you’re setting a goal of exercising more, it’s best to start slow, keep your targets achievable, and work your way up.

Get Quality Sleep

If you’re going to set targets, be sure they’re going to help you improve and stay with you for the long run. Improving your sleep is something you might want to consider.

Sleeping well is vital to maintaining one’s mental health. It may seem like a catch-22, but sleep problems make mental health issues more likely, and mental health issues make sleep problems more likely. In any general psychiatric practice, sleep problems are common among patients: 50% to 80% suffer from sleep issues compared to 10% to 18% of the general adult population.

Aiming for the target of better sleep can do wonders for your mental health. This requires good sleep hygiene, which includes doing things like writing down concerns and worries so you can deal with them the next day, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, avoiding screens before bed, doing something relaxing to lead up to sleep, and avoiding caffeine or alcohol.

Setting Weekly Goals

While your weekly mental health goals are naturally tied into your daily mental health goals, it’s vital to set targets that you don’t necessarily have to attend to every day.

Utilize a Therapist

Therapy can be extremely beneficial for your mental health, even if you don’t have a mental illness. A therapist is a trained professional who can help you achieve your objectives by offering you a safe and confidential space to discuss what you want to happen in the future and how to get it. A therapist can also help you work through your past, manage your relationships, notice patterns that may be detrimental or beneficial to your mental health, and offer coping strategies.

Seeing a therapist weekly is common, though you can set your own schedule when it comes to how often you visit yours. In Apple Valley, MN, you have access to a variety of professionals that will evaluate and suit your specific needs.

Keep Track of Your Progress

Whatever your objectives may be, you’ll want to be aware of how much progress you are or are not making in attaining them. This requires that your objectives follow the SMART method: Make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

  • Specific: Making a goal specific means that when you reach that target, you’ll know it and feel good about yourself. Creating a mood journal for one month is an example of a specific goal.
  • Measurable: Quantifying and being able to directly measure your goal is important to fulfilling it and keeping track of your progress. If you keep a mood journal, you can keep track of how far along you are by keeping track of the number of days or weeks you’ve successfully updated your journal.
  • Attainable: If your objective is not realistic, it’s unlikely you’ll achieve it. Be sure your targets are broken down into manageable steps; for instance, saying you’ll update your mood journal three to five times per week, which allows you to forgive yourself in case you forget once or twice.
  • Relevant: A target needs to be practical and in step with your values. You should know why you’re going for a mental health goal. For example, if you want to better manage your depression, a mood journal will help you keep track of when you do or don’t feel depressed, which will, in turn, help you identify what triggers it.
  • Time-bound: Establishing a deadline for your objective makes it more likely you will attain it. Be sure your deadline is reasonable, so you don’t set yourself up for disappointment.

By following this method, you can keep your objectives reasonable and attainable, and you’ll be able to measure your growth over time and feel good about how much progress you’ve made each week.

The Feeling of Achieving Mental Health Goals

Just like any other type of goal, achieving your mental health objectives is likely to greatly improve your mood and self-confidence. When you obtain part of your goal, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment; when you complete all you’ve set out to do, you’ll feel an even greater sense of triumph. This is why goal-setters tend to be happier and healthier than those who do not set any targets for themselves: The rush of dopamine you get from crossing something off on your to-do list is very real.

For the same reason, it’s important that you’re setting realistic goals. Setting a target and failing to meet it will have the opposite effect and produce negative emotions, including disappointment and a loss of self-confidence. Always set objectives that are practical.

How Can Mental Health Systems Help With Mental Health Goals?

You may have set New Year’s goals before, but have you ever set mental health goals? Whatever improvement you want to make in your life, establishing the right mental health objectives and working to achieve them can help alleviate your mental health issues and boost self-confidence. Mental Health Systems in Apple Valley, MN, employs a network of various types of professionals that will listen to your needs and help you both create and attain mental health goals that are both important to you and realistic. Reach out to us and get started on a plan to make yourself happier and healthier.

 

Image Source: KieferPix / Shutterstock

How to Cope Without Family Support

Posted November 4, 2021

A young woman sits on a park bench at sunset struggling with depression and lack of family assistanceCoping with depression can be extremely difficult, especially when your friends and family members are unsupportive. When dealing with a mental illness such as depression, it is immensely important to surround yourself with individuals who understand and support you. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, and at times, you may find yourself having to navigate the dark waters of depression alone. If you are currently in such a situation, this article will show you how to:

  • Accept that some people around you may not understand your depression.
  • Cope with your depression in a healthy manner, even when friends and family members choose to remain detached or unsupportive.

As a person living with depression, mental health family support can soften the blow, but if you struggle with a lack of family support, you still have options and ways to support yourself and make self-care a priority.

When the Family Doesn’t Want to Help

If you suffer from depression in Apple Valley, MN, your first reaction may be to turn to loved ones for help and emotional support. Unfortunately, your loved ones may not respond in the way you expect them to. Some people simply don’t understand major depressive disorder, so they can’t extend empathy to someone suffering from the disorder. It is important to understand that such an unempathetic response has nothing to do with you, and there can be a myriad of reasons for your loved one’s lack of compassion. Often, responses to situations are automatic (ingrained) and a function of their life experiences.

Many individuals came of age during a period when depression was not discussed or considered taboo. Others grew up in environments that punished or repressed acts of vulnerability. There is also a pronounced stigma still surrounding mental illness, so many people simply can’t bring themselves to discuss the topic seriously. Whatever the reason behind your loved one’s response may be, it may help to reach out to others outside of your immediate social and familial circle for additional support.

In some cases, an unsupportive loved one may benefit from additional education. By educating themselves, they can better understand what you are experiencing on a regular basis. Education can also help break the stigma surrounding depression, so they may become more likely to discuss the topic with you in a non-judgmental and compassionate fashion. There are numerous resources and organizations, such as Mental Health America and NAMI, specializing in offering family education programs. Check out some of these organizations in Apple Valley, MN, if you think you or your loved one would benefit from learning more.

When You Don’t Want to Involve Your Family

Coping without mental health family support is possible, especially if you are intent on treating yourself well. Self-care is exceptionally important for people living with depression, and there are steps you can take alone to improve your mood. To do this, you must be willing to speak positively to yourself and act as your greatest supporter. You may want to pay particular attention to your self-talk, especially if it is negative. Negative self-talk can create additional stress and feed your depression. Try to keep your inner monologue positive and focus on cultivating positive, compassionate thoughts.

There are also other steps you can take to improve your mood. Distracting yourself with positive, healthy activities is one way to break the depression cycle. Such self-care activities are hugely important, even for those who don’t suffer from depression. Consider creating a list of pleasurable activities that can alleviate your depression, such as the following:

  • Exercising
  • Talking to a friend or family member (if they are supportive)
  • Writing in a journal
  • Reading an interesting book
  • Taking a warm bath
  • Enjoying your favorite meal

Such acts can be categorized as “self-care,” and you can do most of them with or without another person. Don’t feel guilty about indulging in acts of self-care now and then – they are a key component of your recovery.

There are many misconceptions about depression, and they can make recovery even more difficult for those struggling with the disorder. Contrary to what unsupportive friends or family members may think or say, depression is not a sign of laziness or weakness. It is a biologically-based disorder caused by imbalances in mood-stabilizing chemicals circulating in your brain. Asking a professional for help or confiding in someone else are not attention-seeking behaviors. Always remember these facts, no matter what someone else’s opinion of depression might be. Keep in mind that it takes a remarkable deal of courage and emotional strength to seek out help when one is suffering.

If you do not have access to a reasonable level of mental health family support, there are additional resources you can look into. It is important to remember that others can’t always provide us with the emotional support we need, but there are people who can. Support groups for individuals suffering from depression can provide you with a sense of belonging and surround you with sympathetic individuals who understand and are interested in hearing about your experiences. There is nothing wrong with seeking help outside your immediate social circle; as a matter of fact, an unbiased viewpoint may be helpful in your situation.

If you are currently struggling with depression in Apple Valley, MN, you may want to contact SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). The organization can help you learn more about treatment facilities and support services near you.

When a Spouse Leaves You Because You Are Seeking Mental Health Treatment

When a spouse leaves you during a depressive episode, the feelings you experience can be truly painful. Often, spouses function as our primary support systems, and when they cannot or will not provide emotional support, it can become difficult to deal with problems. If your spouse is unwilling to offer you the support you need during such a trying time, it is important to surround yourself with people who can. Remember, your spouse may simply not be emotionally equipped to handle such situations.

If you are finding your spouse to be increasingly toxic or unsupportive, it can be helpful to spend some time apart. There will always be people, who no matter what, will not have anything positive to say. Limiting contact with such individuals can be a radical act of self-care, and without such negativity to deal with, you may find it easier to manage your depression.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to positive and supportive friends and family members if you and your spouse are experiencing marital difficulties while you are suffering from depression. Finding the right therapist and support group can also be immensely helpful.

Take the First Step

Fighting depression while dealing with unsupportive friends or family members can be exhausting, but it can be done. Often, others are unable to lend us the emotional support needed to recover from depression successfully. Remain open-minded, and remember, help and support is available to you at all times. Contact Mental Health Systems in Apple Valley today to take the first step.

 

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