Healthy living involves more than physical health, it also includes emotional or mental health. The following are some ways people can support their mental health and well-being.
- Get enough sleep daily; the CDC recommends the following by age group (naps inclusive); 12-18 hours from birth to 2 months,
- 14-15 hours from 3-11 months of age,
- 12-18 hours for 1-3 years of age,
- 11-13 hours for 3-5 years of age,
- 10-11 hours for 5-10 years of age,
- 8.5-9.5 hours for 10-17 years of age and those 18 and above need 7-9 hours of sleep.
- Elderly people need about 7-9 hours but do not sleep as deeply and may awaken at night or wake early, so naps (like kids need) allow them to accumulate the total of 7-9 hours of sleep.
- Take a walk and reflect on what you see and hear at least several times per week.
- Try something new and often (eat a new food, try a different route to work, go to a new museum display).
- Do some mind exercises (read, do a puzzle occasionally during the week).
- Try to focus on a process intensely and complete a segment of it over 1 to several hours, then take a break and do something relaxing (walk, exercise, short nap).
- Plan to spend some time talking with other people about different subjects.
- Try to make some leisure time to do some things that interest you every week (hobby, sport).
- Learn ways to say “no” when something occurs that you do not want to do or be involved with.
- Have fun (go on a trip with someone you love, go shopping, go fishing; do not let vacation time slip away).
- Let yourself be pleased with your achievements, both big and small (develop contentment).
- Have a network of friends; those with strong social support systems lead healthier lives.
- Seek help and advice early if you feel depressed, have suicidal thoughts, or consider harming yourself or others.
- People taking medicine for mental health problems should not stop taking these medications, no matter how “well” they feel, until they have discussed their situation with their prescribing doctor(s).
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