When was the last time you had a self-care day? Took a bath, meditated, journaled, etc? If it has been longer than your mental health needs, it may be time to sit back and reflect on why that is.
Life is hard, no matter what you are going through and we get that. But in the midst of life, you have to take the initiative to take care of yourself first. Just think, when you’re on an airplane, you’re told to put your own oxygen mask on before helping those around you. It’s not being selfish, it’s that you have nothing to give to others if you don’t help yourself first! You are worthy of self-love.
Those who take care of themselves physically and emotionally can better deal with the challenges of day-to-day life and be present for others. As a result, they adapt better to changes, build closer relationships, and bounce back when troubles occur. By maintaining your physical and mental health, you become more resilient, making it easier to weather difficult times and enjoy good ones.
Self-Care and Mental Health
There are several aspects of mental health, including emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Overall mental health affects your behavior, thinking, feelings, choices, and how you relate to others. Good mental health goes beyond avoiding mental illness; it’s essential to your overall well-being. If you are dealing with a mental illness, self-care can play a key role in maintaining your mental health. Self-care can also help in supporting your treatment and recovery.
A good self-care routine involves doing things that will improve your physical and mental health and help you live a better and healthier life. Self-care has numerous benefits for the mental health of individuals, including managing stress, lowering your risk of illness, and increasing your energy. Even small acts of self-care done every day can have a big impact on the quality of your life.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
To support your mental health in the most holistic way possible, you need to take good care of your physical health. Maintaining good mental health habits is easier If you take care of your physical body and mind.
- Make it a habit to exercise daily. Yes, a good ol’ mental health walk or even as simple as taking the stairs as often as possible, walking up escalators, and running or cycling to your a short destination instead of driving. You could even join a yoga or Zumba class as an effective way of committing to a schedule if you find that this is what you need. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress from your body. As hard as it is to get yourself up on your hardest days, the movement releases natural stress-relieving hormones and improves your overall health.
- Make sure to eat a balanced diet. To maintain a healthy body, one should focus on eating unprocessed foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fresh fruit. Eating in this way can lower your risk for developing chronic diseases and will help stabilize your energy levels and mood. Yes, that can include limiting your alcohol intake. We know it can be tempting to relax with a glass of wine or an ice cold beer, but it is worth remembering that alcohol is a depressant and has many other negative affects on the body.
- Make sure that you get enough sleep every night. Most adults require around 7-9 hours of sleep each night. To get the most out of your sleep, try to practice good “sleep hygiene,” and yes, including avoiding using electronics before bed. Just think about that news article you read that leads you to stay up later doing research, making you think, worry, etc. If you need a distraction to wind down with when you fall asleep, try reading a book before bed.
- Exercises that promote relaxation are ideal. Deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are some of the simplest and most effective methods for reducing stress. These tools give you the space to think clearly when conflicts arise so that you can feel less controlled by turbulent feelings. Even in the original context of meditation and yoga were to develop spiritual practices to train one’s body and mind to become aware of their your nature. It helps cultivate awareness, discernment, higher consciousness, and self-regulation.
Self-care means something different to everyone, and you should figure out what you need and enjoy when it comes to self-care. Trial and error maybe your best tool for discovering the most effective option for you. It is important to note that although self-care does not offer a cure for mental illness, it can be an important tool in managing your mental health in terms of understanding what triggers/causes your mild symptoms and what coping tools work for you.
The most important thing is not what you do or how often you do it, but that you take the time to take care of yourself in the first place and do it as regularly as you can. Taking good care of your health and well-being is essential to taking good care of everyone else.
To get the most out of your mental health and live life fully, we would love to help you. Contact us for any questions or to go over our treatment programs.