Take care of your body

Take care of your body

Our bodies and our minds are connected. When you take care of your body, you also take care of your mind.

Eat well

Food is our fuel. It gives us important nutrients that help our bodies work. It makes sense that the better we eat, the better we work. Our brains work better, too. Research shows that the food we eat is a big part of mental health. Healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains give us the nutrients to work our best.

Here are some tips on taking care of your body:

  • Eat regularly, so your body has enough fuel to work well all day. Skipping meals can make you feel tired or irritable.
  • Watch out for too much caffeine. Caffeine is the part of coffee and black tea that gives you energy. It is in other drinks and snacks, too. Caffeine can add to feelings of anxiety. It can also stop you from sleeping well.
  • Watch how much sugar you eat. Eating sugar gives you a quick burst of energy. But when that energy is gone, you feel more tired. It can lower your mood and make you feel irritable.
  • Watch your alcohol use. Alcohol just hides problems for a short time. It makes sadness, stress and other feelings harder to deal with later on.



Exercise is good for your body. But did you know that it is also good for mental health? Here are a few ways exercise can help:

  • It helps us cope with stress.
  • It lowers anxiety.
  • It lifts our mood.
  • It boosts our energy.
  • It helps us feel good about ourselves.
  • It helps us sleep well.

You do not have to spend a lot of time for these effects, either. Just 30 minutes a day, three or four days a week is enough to see big changes. It does not matter what kind of activity you do.

Here are some tips for boosting the mental health effects of exercise:

  • Pick something you enjoy. Remember, you can do any activity that gets you moving! If you like the activity, you are more likely to do it.
  • Focus on how the activity makes you feel.
  • Exercise with someone else. You will get the benefits of exercise, plus you will connect with someone else. This is also good for your mental health. You are also more likely to keep up with your exercise sessions if you plan them with someone else.
  • The next time you feel sad, worried or stressed, try going for a walk outside. Walking is a fast and easy way to feel better about things in your life.

If you have a health problem, talk to your doctor before you start a new exercise program.

Get enough sleep

Sleep has a huge effect on mental health. When we get enough sleep, it is easier to cope with stress, handle problems, concentrate, think positively and remember things.

The exact amount of sleep you need is based on your own body. You know that you are getting enough sleep when you do not feel sleepy during the day.

It is easy to think that we can get more done if we cut back on sleep. But it is harder to get things done when we do not get enough sleep.

Here are some things to try if you do not sleep well:

  • Avoid exercising too close to your bedtime. Exercise gives you energy. But slow, relaxing activities like yoga can help calm you down before bed.
  • Avoid big meals, alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine before bed. Caffeine is the part of coffee or black tea that makes you feel awake.
  • Make sure your room is comfortable for sleeping. Many people find that they sleep best when their room is dark, quiet and cool.
  • Stick to quiet activities just before bed, like reading.
  • Follow a routine. Try to go to bed around the same time every night and wake up around the same time every morning, even on weekends.
  • Only use your bedroom for sleeping and sex. Do work or watch TV in a different room.
  • Avoid naps during the day if you have a hard time sleeping at night.
  • Avoid sleeping pills. You may fall asleep faster, but they do not give you good, restful sleep.

Most people have sleep problems from time to time. If you often have sleep problems, it is best to talk to your doctor.