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19 small changes people made that had a huge impact on their mental health

Sleep is a big one.

mental health, life hacks, self-care
via Pixabay

A woman embraces a beautiful new day.

Mental health is a very complex issue and it would be naive to say there are quick and easy solutions to significant issues. However, there are many things in our lives we often overlook that may be bringing us down that can be substituted for simple habits that can help bring us back up.

The National Institute of Mental Health says that maintaining our mental health requires routine maintenance known as “self-care.”

“Mental health is more than the absence of a mental illness—it’s essential to your overall health and quality of life,” the Institute says on its website. “Self-care can play a role in maintaining your mental health and help support your treatment and recovery if you have a mental illness.”

This perspective on mental health suggests it’s just as important to focus on our mental well-being as we do on our physical. The NIMH says that cultivating an attitude of gratitude, regular exercise, getting enough sleep, eating healthy and staying hydrated can all have a positive impact on our mental health.


A Reddit user by the unfortunate name pissed_at_everything reached out to the online forum asking people to share the small changes they’ve made that had a big impact on their mental health. The post received nearly 5,000 pieces of advice.

"What is something that drastically improved your mental health?" they posted on the AskReddit subforum. A lot of people said that eliminating toxic things from their lives had a big impact, whether it was social media, people or negative self-talk. There are bound to be a few suggestions on the list that can help you, too.

Here are 19 of the responses we thought were most helpful.

1.

"Sleep." — ortolon

2.

"Silencing my activity on social media, and replacing my time spent on there by reading books instead. I’ve finished 6 books since the start of January. I feel so good about myself because of it." — chick3nslut

3.


"Knowing it's okay to leave some people behind." — Black_Guardian-

4.

"Being honest and transparent about how I'm feeling. 'I'm not mad at you, my brain just hates me right now,' has helped mitigate lots of fights and awkward conversations." — Nillabeans

Ansteve1 added:

"Being honest with myself and those closest really helped. Even on bad days I don't feel like I am hopeless."

5.

"Something small that has helped me is saying aloud 'What a beautiful day, today is.' It’s small but I have better outlook." — turtlepawa123

6.

"Exercise." — iamnobody1970

Counterboudd added:

"It sucks at how well it works. I used to hate my mom telling me that exercise would reduce my depression but she was absolutely right. The issue is that when you’re really depressed it’s the last thing you feel like doing. But nothing else has as much of a positive effect on my mental state as regular exercise."

7.

"Taking vitamin D and B supplements and getting enough sleep. Really helped reduce excessive thinking and fixating on negative things from my past." — AnDagdadubh

Tracknumberseven added:

"One exercise I sort of figured out myself is: Whenever I find myself regretting things or remembering embarrassing moments is to tell myself to 'look forward, not backwards' and I'll start thinking about things I'm looking forward to or things I'm grateful for.

"If I can't think of any of these things then I'll think of things I don't have to worry about, like having a paycheck. Failing any of that I go smaller and think about positive times, making someone laugh or helping someone out and usually by that time I've forgotten about whatever I was thinking about in the first place."

8.

"Deleting my Facebook account." — theStormweaver

MichaelM_yaa added:

"Yeah, so it turns out that the algorithms that keep users addicted to social media are WAY more powerful than the AI bots that can beat the best chess players in the world. People tend to engage media that makes someone enraged or negative. it further polarizes humans. it also is a massive disinformation sink as a majority of its users do not fact check any info they see."

​9.


"Moving to a place that wasn't winter 8 months of the year and I was close to the ocean. Haven't felt suicidal in over a year and a half, probably for the first time since i was 16." — wyrd_werks

10.

"Getting a job that paid a living wage improved my mental health 1000%." — rigel899

11.


"Enforcing boundaries in work." — SmartPromegranate4833

12.

"Saying no to things that I don't actually want to do instead of trying to help everyone out." — LoanOptionsai

13.

"Stopping hormonal birth control. Didn't realize how much it was messing with me." — impossibility_day27

14.

"Eating breakfast.

"I'd often describe to my boss and coworkers that I'd have a really bad brain fog that I sometimes couldn't think at all. I usually wouldn't eat until around 1pm or 2pm when I'd been up since 9am. I had to start getting up around 8am or sometimes 7am and I would have extra time to get food.

"Once I did, the brain fog went away and the change was immediate." — Christygl7


15.

"Quit having grudges with people. Let them go and you’ll be relaxed." — Weak_Carpenter_7060

16.

"Adult hobbies. Surfing. Fishing. Running. Mine are solo activities, but you just need something challenging that you have to work at to get better. It gives you little things to look forward to so you’re not focused on all the depressing bs." — musashi-swanson

17.

"Cutting back on negative self-talk. It’s difficult to stop doing and to catch myself thinking poorly about myself but I try my best. I’ve started replacing it with kind things in a sarcastic tone, for example I often call myself a 'national treasure' or 'god’s favorite' (i am not religious, it just makes me smile) and the sarcasm scratches the itch, it works very very well. My goal is then to replace the sarcastically nice self-talk with genuinely kind and positive self-talk.

"It's helped tremendously with my self image honestly." — bunnihun

18.

"I take ten minutes a day (usually before bed) to tidy things up. I'm always surprised at how much I can get done in just ten minutes, and it's so much easier to keep the place clean that way. When things start getting really bad, the fact that I've always got a clean place is incredibly helpful." — future-unperson

19.

"Stopped paying close attention to the news. I realized I wasn't going to be making a big change in the world and all it was doing was getting me upset so I stopped. The world is just as messed up and/or ok as it was then and I'm much less stressed about it all." — rhett342

popular

10 anti-holiday recipes that prove the season can be tasty and healthy

Balance out heavy holiday eating with some lighter—but still delicious—fare.

Albertson's

Lighten your calorie load with some delicious, nutritious food between big holiday meals.

True

The holiday season has arrived with its cozy vibe, joyous celebrations and inevitable indulgences. From Thanksgiving feasts to Christmas cookie exchanges to Aunt Eva’s irresistible jelly donuts—not to mention leftover Halloween candy still lingering—fall and winter can feel like a non-stop gorge fest.

Total resistance is fairly futile—let’s be real—so it’s helpful to arm yourself with ways to mitigate the effects of eating-all-the-things around the holidays. Serving smaller amounts of rich, celebratory foods and focusing on slowly savoring the taste is one way. Another is to counteract those holiday calorie-bomb meals with some lighter fare in between.

Contrary to popular belief, eating “light” doesn’t have to be tasteless, boring or unsatisfying. And contrary to common practice, meals don’t have to fill an entire plate—especially when we’re trying to balance out heavy holiday eating.

It is possible to enjoy the bounties of the season while maintaining a healthy balance. Whether you prefer to eat low-carb or plant-based or gluten-free or everything under the sun, we’ve got you covered with these 10 easy, low-calorie meals from across the dietary spectrum.

Each of these recipes has less than 600 calories (most a lot less) per serving and can be made in less than 30 minutes. And Albertsons has made it easy to find O Organics® ingredients you can put right in your shopping cart to make prepping these meals even simpler.

Enjoy!

eggs and green veggies in a skillet, plate of baconNot quite green eggs and ham, but closeAlbertsons

Breakfast Skillet of Greens, Eggs & Ham

273 calories | 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 (5 oz) pkg baby spinach

2 eggs

1 clove garlic

4 slices prosciutto

1/2 medium yellow onion

1 medium zucchini squash

1/8 cup butter, unsalted

1 pinch crushed red pepper

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bow of cauliflower ham saladGet your cauliflower power on.Albertsons

Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Ham, Celery & Dill

345 calories | 20 minutes

1/2 medium head cauliflower

1 stick celery

1/4 small bunch fresh dill

8 oz. ham steak, boneless

1/2 shallot

1/4 tspblack pepper

1/4 tsp curry powder

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp garlic powder

3 Tbsp mayonnaise

1/8 tsp paprika

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

tofu on skewers on a plate with coleslawPlant-based food fan? This combo looks yums. Albertsons

Grilled Chili Tofu Skewers with Ranch Cabbage, Apple & Cucumber Slaw

568 calories | 20 minutes

1 avocado

1/2 English cucumber

1 (12 oz.) package extra firm tofu

1 Granny Smith apple

3 Tbsp (45 ml) Ranch dressing

1/2 (14 oz bag) shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)

2 tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

frittata in a cast iron skilletSometimes you just gotta frittata.Albertsons

Bell Pepper, Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata with Parmesan

513 calories | 25 minutes

6 eggs

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

2 oz Parmesan cheese

1 red bell pepper

1/2 medium red onion

8 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with slices of grilled chicken and a caprese saladCaprese, if you please.Albertsons

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Classic Caprese Salad

509 calories | 25 minutes

3/4 lb chicken breasts, boneless skinless

1/2 small pkg fresh basil

1/2 (8 oz pkg) fresh mozzarella cheese

1 clove garlic

3 tomatoes

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 3/4 pinches black pepper

1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

four stuffed mushrooms on a plateThese mushrooms look positively poppable.Albertsons

Warm Goat Cheese, Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

187 calories | 35 minutes

1/2 lb cremini mushrooms

1 clove garlic

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

2 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1 1/4 pinches crushed red pepper

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with open English muffin with goat cheese and sliced baby tomatoes on topMove over, avocado toast. English muffin pizzas have arrived.Albertsons

English Muffin Pizzas with Basil Pesto, Goat Cheese & Tomatoes

327 calories | 10 minutes

3 Tbsp (45 ml) basil pesto

2 English muffins

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/2 pint grape tomatoes

3/4 pinch black pepper

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

pita pocket on a plate filled with veggies, meat and cheeseThis pita pocket packs a colorful punch.Albertsons

Warm Pita Pocket with Turkey, Cheddar, Roasted Red Peppers & Parsley

313 calories | 20 minutes

1/4 (8 oz) block cheddar cheese

1/2 bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

4 oz oven roasted turkey breast, sliced

1/2 (12 oz) jar roasted red bell peppers

1 whole grain pita

3/4 pinch black pepper

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp mayonnaise

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with toast smeared with avocado and topped with prosciuttoDid we say, "Move over, avocado toast?" What we meant was "Throw some prosciutto on it!" Albertsons

Avocado Toast with Crispy Prosciutto

283 calories | 10 minutes

1 avocado

2 slices prosciutto

2 slices whole grain bread

1 5/8 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp onion powder

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bowl of chili with cheese and green onions on topVegetarian chili with a fall twistAlbertsons

Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili with Cheddar

444 calories | 30 minutes

2 (15 oz can) black beans

1/2 (8 oz ) block cheddar cheese

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

2 green bell peppers

1 small bunch green onions (scallions)

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin purée

1 medium yellow onion

1/2 tsp black pepper

5 7/8 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp cumin, ground

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

For more delicious and nutritious recipes, visit albertsons.com/recipes.

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