A mental health checklist is an important tool that has helped many people keep an eye on their mental and psychical health. Sometimes a person may not know what to look out for when it comes to staying healthy. It’s easy to forget about simple, daily activities that we can do to improve our health. Having a checklist available makes it easy to stay on track. Visual reminders are good for encouraging healthy practices, which can only improve our nation’s mental health as a whole.
But how does someone make a mental health checklist? What things should I remember to put in my checklist? Here are some tips for not only making your checklist but where to go for further help.
Why a Mental Health Checklist Is Helpful
A checklist is helpful because it breaks down what may seem like daunting tasks into easy-to-manage pieces. Many times, people get overwhelmed with how much they have to remember. This is especially true for those with chronic conditions or who have specific health needs. By using a checklist, information is kept simple and easy to understand. This is especially helpful during bad days, when someone’s mental health may not be at its best.
For those who are currently in or considering treatment, a checklist helps them stay on task when it comes to their treatment. Many tools used in treatment, such as keeping a dream journal, recording strong emotions, and taking medication, can all be included on a checklist. This helps someone continue to use the skills and tools they learn in treatment to help them keep an eye on their health and to heal.
In the digital age, it’s often easy to get lost in a screen. Keeping active is important to staying physically and mentally healthy. Time flies when online, and many people forget that they need to take care of themselves. Setting times to stretch, hydrate, eat, and move around is easier when you have them on a checklist. It’s especially true when you can have your checklist on your phone or computer. You can even set up alerts to let you know when it’s time to check your list. Having such reminders help you care for yourself, no matter how busy you are.
Regardless of whether you are currently in treatment or not, a checklist can help anyone not only be aware of their current mental health status but improve it.
What to Include in Your Checklist
A checklist should focus on both physical and mental health. Our minds and bodies are interconnected, and one influences the other. By being aware of both aspects of health, they become easier to manage. Your checklist should also feature realistic goals and expectations. You do not want to set yourself up for failure. Write your checklist down and keep them in easy-to-reach places, such as your phone or on your fridge or mirror.
In general, a checklist can be broken down into three categories: daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Don’t take on too many tasks, and be sure to make tasks that are possible for you to do.
#1. Daily Tasks
The daily category is for things you must complete each day. Examples include:
- Taking your vitamins and medication
- Moving your body
- Eating enough fruits and vegetables
- Drinking plenty of water
- Track symptoms
- Practice healthy coping skills
- Keep and maintain a dream journal
#2. Weekly Tasks
For the weekly section, use tasks that should be done a few times each week. These can include things, such as:
- Making a trip to spend time with your support network
- Going outside for a walk or picnic
- Celebrating a personal victory
For those with a mental health disorder, you may use this category to do things like:
- Practicing meditation techniques
- Recording your general mood for the past week
- Speaking with a mental healthcare professional
#3. Monthly Tasks
Monthly categories are for activities that only need to happen once a month, either because of time or energy constraints. Examples of such activities include:
- Volunteering in your community
- Taking a self-care day
- Finishing a project
- Learning a new craft
For those with a mental health disorder, you can use this time to:
- Draft new goals with a mental healthcare professional
- Look back on your progress
- Celebrate that you have completed another month in your recovery journey
Some types of mental health disorders may need specified daily tasks to help keep someone healthy. For example, someone with anxiety will have different things to be aware of compared to someone with bipolar disorder. It’s important to include these in your checklists, and any mental healthcare professional can help you brainstorm tasks to include.
Where to Find Help in Making a Mental Health Checklist
Anyone can make use of a checklist, regardless if they have a mental health disorder or not. If you would like help in making a checklist, call your local mental healthcare facility to speak with a mental healthcare professional. They are more than happy to walk you through the basics. Sometimes community centers, libraries, universities, hospitals, and mental healthcare facilities may sponsor lectures and workshops on making a checklist.
If you are in treatment for a mental health disorder or illness, it’s common practice for a treatment provider to help you make a checklist of your own. Having a checklist is part of the recovery process and can indeed help someone stay in recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health disorder or even just need someone to talk to about mental health, call your local mental healthcare facility right away.
Keeping up with your mental health isn’t just for people with a mental health disorder. Anyone can benefit from creating and maintaining a mental health checklist. Our minds and bodies are closely linked together, so it’s important to care for both and make sure their needs are met. At Acera Health in Costa Mesa, California, we employ compassionate and caring mental health professionals that can help you and your loved ones thrive. We offer holistic treatment for many mental health disorders and teach clients how to maintain their mental health so they can focus on healing. If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health disorder, call us today at (949) 647-4090.
Melody is a highly skilled proactive clinical administrator, with more than 17 years of experience serving the community in the behavioral health field.
Her clinical management career started in 2011 as a compliance manager and program director. In 2018, she became an executive as chief clinical officer (CCO). She is a seasoned licensed marriage & family therapist.