Is there a link between self-care and your mental health?
Self-care is a topic that is talked about more often these days; as Americans try to handle stress and anxiety on a daily basis, their ability to take care of themselves dwindles, leading to burnout,
exhaustion, and feelings of depression. It can be overwhelming to ensure that your mental health
is well taken care of alongside everything else you have to do, but it’s an important part of
staying healthy. Your ability to cope with negative feelings — and, ultimately, to learn to prevent
them — will enable you to feel better both mentally and physically.
Because so much of our physical health is related to our ability to get enough sleep and handle
stress, you can start to feel tired, overwhelmed, irritable, or sad when these things aren’t
priorities in your life. Learning how to take care of yourself by getting enough rest, eating well,
exercising every day, and reducing stress can help you handle anything life throws at you.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to get started.
Make Time for Fun
Life can get pretty boring if you don’t make time for some fun, especially if you work long hours
or have a high-stress job. Make it a point to take a timeout now and then to do something you
enjoy, whether it’s sitting down with a good book or playing with your kids, and allow yourself
to be fully present while you’re doing it. Put away your phone and focus on enjoying yourself.
Distractions will only leave you feeling anxious that you can’t commit time to both things.
Create a Sleep Routine
Sleep is one of the best things for your mind and body, and when you don’t get enough of it, you
start to suffer almost immediately. A lack of good rest can lead to short-term memory issues,
irritability, mental fog, and even physical problems that can affect your heart and other major
organs. Creating a good sleep routine can help ensure that you not only get enough rest but also
get the right quality of rest. You might take a hot shower before bed to relax, meditate, or create
a ritual where you lay out clothes and other necessities for the next day. Anything you can do to
clear your mind of tasks will help you rest easy. Having the right bedding is hugely beneficial, as
well, so if your mattress is more than 10 years old, it’s time to think about buying a new one.
Spending time outdoors can give you a boost of energy, elevate your mood, and lessen the
effects of depression and anxiety. Go for a hike, or play in the yard with your pet. The more
sunshine you can soak up, the better, especially in the wintertime. Many people suffer from
seasonal affective disorder — which leaves them feeling low due to a lack of light — but haven’t
been diagnosed. Talk to your doctor if fall and winter leave you feeling extra blue.
Many people aren’t aware of just how much their homes contribute to their mental health;
specifically, clutter and disorganization, which can greatly increase anxiety or stress. That’s why
it’s a good idea to go through each room in your home and declutter by removing items you
either no longer want or no longer have a use for. Get organized by creating storage solutions in
rooms with lots of small items, such as the kitchen.
Self-care means many different things to different people, so keep in mind that it can be
whatever makes you feel better in a healthy way. Learning how to put these activities into
practice will allow you to reduce stress and cope with negative feelings when they come along.
Guest post by Brad Krause. And Brad created SelfCaring.info to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he has found on his self-care journey.