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Making Mental Health a Habit: How to Stay on Top of Things

To learn how to stay on top of things, it's essential that you find techniques and strategies you can use to prioritize your mental health. The more you practice these techniques, the more likely they are to become a habit. When you have a regular part of your routine that helps you care for your mental health, you are much more able to stay on top of things when you face setbacks or challenges. 

Watch for Signs

When you struggle with mental health, whether that's anxiety, stress, loneliness, depression, or other issues, chances are you have personal warning signs.

These warning signs look different for everyone, and the more aware you are of your personal warnings, the faster you can take action to stay on top of things.

Ask yourself:

  •  "Are there any negative thoughts I tend to have when I am experiencing depression or anxiety or my mental health isn't being cared for?"

You might start catastrophizing, suddenly feeling like everything is a much bigger deal than it is and that things will never work out in your favor.

  • "Before I have issues with mental health, what emotions do I commonly experience?"

You might start experiencing emotions like irritability and being quick to anger over small things.

  • Are there behaviors that I do or things I stop doing when I struggle with setbacks?

You might stop exercising, stop meditating, or start overeating when you are not on top of things.

  • Do I experience any physical symptoms before I set back?

When you don't prioritize mental health, you might start noticing unexplained aches and pains like neck pain or headaches. 

Track Your Mood

Another way of making mental health a habit and staying on top of things is to use a mood diary. A mood diary can be a helpful resource in determining things like:

  • Causes of mental health issues, depression, or triggers
  • Improvements made by things like CBT, exercise, sleep, or food

Mood diaries are particularly useful in realizing sources of anxiety or stress. How it works is simple: jot down what you are doing and use a scale to measure how you feel periodically throughout the day. If you notice you are triggered, make notes as to what was happening and how it made you feel. 

These notes can help you see clear causes of things like anxiety. 

Identify Triggers

It's important that you identify personal triggers. Triggers are circumstances or situations that might be significantly challenging for you and more likely to degrade your mental health or cause symptoms of things like anxiety or depression.

If you know personal triggers through things like mood diaries, you put yourself in a position to recognize warning signs and apply coping techniques immediately. 

For example:

Stephanie knows that when she takes on too much at work and with her community, she starts to experience a decline in her mental health. Things can quickly get out of control when she doesn't exercise or meditate, both of which she stops doing when she is stressed. 

Think about the things that might be challenging for you and have activities you can turn to when those challenges arise. 

Have Coping Skills

Coping skills look different for everyone, so find things that you like best. Consider the following:

Use Meditation

Meditation is a great coping skill for managing all of your emotions and your to-do list. Try to follow guided meditation before bed, and avoid electronics one hour before bed. You might try light stretching or planning ahead during that time frame. 


Regular exercise, no matter how small or limited, can provide a sense of calm, achievement, and happiness. Exercise offers mood-boosting endorphins and helps improve the health of your immune system. 

Plan Ahead

Sometimes, being calm during times of stress means a bit of forethought. Plan ahead by:

  • Packing lunches the day before
  • Setting reminders
  • Having time for breaks
  • Setting out your clothes ahead of time
  • Packing the car the night before, not the morning of a big day

This type of preparation can go a long way toward helping you feel calm, knowing that there are breaks in your day and that you can handle anything that comes your way. 


Sometimes, staying on top of mental health means socializing. Set time aside each week to meet with friends or family to boost mental health. 

Take Regular Breaks

When you are struggling with depression, it's important to take breaks. This means allowing yourself the opportunity to walk away from whatever it is you're doing throughout the day and step outside, try mindful breathing, or simply close your eyes and rest for a few minutes. Give yourself time to focus on something other than your symptoms, even if you can only do so for a few minutes.

Overall, there are several ways to stay on top of things, and that starts with knowing the signs that things are getting out of control and having coping skills to handle it. The more you can make a habit out of daily mental health care, the easier it will be. 

If you or someone you know if struggling with their mental health and addiction, contact the team at Veritas Detox. We are a top-rated drug rehab with a variety of programs and therapies, including dual diagnosis treatment.

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