Ironic as it may sound, investing in our mental health can sometimes increase the stress we’re already experiencing. Between scheduling therapist appointments and overspending on gadgets that claim to “cure” stress, our efforts can seem more trouble than they’re worth.
If you invest in the right things for your mental health, though, it will bring you stress relief — even joy. Here are nine fun investments you can make to prioritize your mental health:
You might remember cruising around your neighborhood on a bike as a kid; those were happy days. Don’t you wish you could relive them? Good news — you can!
Biking isn’t just for the small set; it can be just as much fun when you’re an adult. Plus, it’s an excellent way to relieve stress and improve your mood. If you’re looking for a low-impact, easygoing ride, consider an electric bicycle for your outdoor adventures.
Booking a lengthy vacation can be stressful. It’s expensive, and absences from work can be difficult to coordinate. Planning a trip doesn’t have to be hard or exorbitant, however. The smartest travelers know that, when you do it right, you can score an awesome deal.
If the cost of a trip or taking days off work stresses you out, plan a weekend getaway. You don’t need to take a two-week-long sojourn to de-stress and unwind; a few days will do the trick. Free apps like Hopper and Kayak can save you money on flights by monitoring prices and telling you when to buy.
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, spending quality time with friends will improve your mental state. And what better place to do it than at a new restaurant? By searching out eateries that offer outdoor or socially distanced dining, you’ll be able to gather in a safety-conscious way.
Studies show that spending your money on experiences, not things, will make you happier. Dining out is a great way to get out of the house and try something different. Not only will you enjoy delicious food, but you’ll experience a new atmosphere. So investigate some of the best restaurants in your area and reward yourself with a night out soon.
While we’re on the topic of investing in experiences rather than things, consider your entertainment choices. Taking some time to unwind can make a big difference in your happiness and well-being.
Covid-19 has put a damper on many of our former entertainment options — packed music clubs and theaters no longer seem so inviting. Fortunately, entrepreneurs have come up with creative alternatives, from parking lot concerts to drive-in movies on inflatable screens. Whether it’s a low-density sporting event, an outdoor concert, or a digital museum tour, make time for the events in life that bring you happiness.
Going out to a new restaurant is always a pleasure, but staying at home in your own kitchen can be just as enjoyable. Baking, in particular, is a great way to de-stress. There’s a reason that, in the pandemic’s early days, social media feeds were filled with photos of sourdough loaves and banana bread.
Baking’s benefits include increased mindfulness, satisfaction, and sensory pleasure. With a few investments from the baking aisle, you’ll be doing your taste buds and your mental health a huge favor.
If you have your own pets, indulge in more play or snuggle time. If you don’t, and it’s not the right moment to adopt, there are other ways to get your fix. Pet rescue agencies are always looking for foster homes, and it’s easy to become a pet sitter using websites like Rover.
By watching other people’s pets, you can enjoy some cat and dog time without having to commit to the responsibility in perpetuity. Besides, caring for someone else’s pet provides the added satisfaction of knowing you helped another person when they needed a hand.
Maybe you always wanted to learn how to play a certain instrument but never took the time to do it. If you want to invest in your mental health, now’s the timeto revisit that ambition.
Playing a musical instrument is not only enjoyable, it can relieve stress and anxiety. Any hobby can be fun, but learning to play an instrument is especially effective for keeping depression and anxiety at bay.
Everyone needs a creative outlet, and for some, this means creating art. You don’t have to be a professional artist to paint, draw, or color. Get some paper and colored pencils — or paint, brushes, and a canvas — and have at it. The point is the process, not the product.
Alternatively, enjoy a night out with friends at a paint-and-sip class near you. This is a fun activity that provides both social interaction and a way for anyone to create beautiful art easily.
There are numerous reasons that getting involved in your community benefits your mental health. It’s a great way to meet new people, and it will make you feel like you’re part of something larger than yourself. Here are a few simple ways you can get involved:
Where you decide to volunteer depends on your interests, but rest assured that there is something for everyone. If you like animals, you can help out at your local animal shelter. If you like working with kids, volunteer your time to tutor at a school. Consider what’s important to you, and you’ll find the right place to make your contribution.
Buying from local vendors will make you feel more a part of the community you live in. Shop the farmer’s market, attend local festivals, and patronize local businesses. Not only are the products at locally owned businesses usually amazing, but you’ll feel good that you’re supporting your neighbors.
Are you fueled by being with other people? Do you crave the feeling of being a part of something? Joining a class or community group may be the answer.
You could participate in a biking or running group — both of which have the advantage of being socially distanced activities. Or you might join a group that advocates for a good cause. Involvement in a community group will give you a sense of belonging and purpose, which can greatly improve your mental health.
Investing in your mental health doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can be a blast if you want it to be. Speak with a mental health professional if you need to, but don’t underestimate the power of the joy-sparking things in life. They can work wonders for your mental health.