Do the colder-than-normal temperatures have you feeling a little blue? Perhaps work is feeling overwhelming? Or the kids have you on edge? Maybe you’re suffering from depression or anxiety that has you off your game. Whatever it is that is keeping you from ideal mental health, it’s time to start working on it with some self-care.
A quality self-care routine includes engaging in activities that foster physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It requires setting aside time each day to do things that serve you. It’s sort of like being your doctor.
Let’s look at Five Self-Care Tips to Improve Your Mental Health.
Clear Your Mind
A study out this month by Harvard scientists reported that spending just 15 minutes a day clearing your mind, dramatically affects how your genes operate. Astonishingly, 172 genes were altered, including genes that control your body’s inflammation process, circadian rhythms, and glucose metabolism. Clearing your mind was even linked to lowering your blood pressure. Combined with the relaxation benefits linked to meditating, this practice is an easy way to improve both your mind and body at the same time.
Get Enough Rest
A recent study published in Lancet Psychiatry found that sleep plays a vital role in our mental health. Daniel Freemen, co-author of the research, reported that, “Having insomnia doubles your chances of developing depression and we now know that if you treat the insomnia it reduces depression.” Similar conclusions were made with patients suffering from anxiety and hallucinations as well. Start looking for some ways to improve your sleep habits, like turning off all electronics at least an hour before bedtime, using a white-noise machine to avoid noise disruptions, changing the room temperature, and making sure you have a good pillow.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
It’s not a stretch to understand that reducing your stress will improve your mental health, but yet people still stay caught in a vicious cycle of stress, almost as if it feeds them. Instead of continuing to live in a frenzied state, focus on simple ways to reduce your stress. This is particularly important if you’re in recovery from addiction. Ways to reduce stress include meditation, exercise, writing a gratitude journal, focusing on mindfulness and slowing down, eliminating caffeine, and spending quality time with friends and loved ones who positively influence your life. Oh, and don’t forget a good laugh! Laughter truly is the best medicine.
Practice the Art of Saying “No”
Many of us grew up in families where we learned to get along with people and always try to accommodate one another. The reality is, that being a pleaser isn’t always a good thing. If you’re always backing down from things, always saying “yes” when you want to say “no,” spending little time on yourself or letting people take advantage of you, it’s time to make some changes. According to psychologists, this type of behaviour exposes you to several detrimental outcomes, like neglecting yourself, being manipulated, and feelings of frustration and bitterness as you bury your desires. Start learning to change some of these habits.
Clean Up The Clutter
A study by researchers at UCLA concluded that today’s homes, over-brimming with collectables, devices, toys, books, and so on, weren’t improving moods. It’s easy to think that accumulating stuff makes us feel better, but in a study of 32 families, it was determined that the more stuff collected, the more stressed people felt. Similarly, when dishes piled up in the sink, it resulted in more stress. And this stress in turn hurt the participants’ self-esteem. Instead of feeling anxious or overwhelmed by the place that’s supposed to provide you with safety and comfort, take time to declutter.
Learning to care for yourself is a vital life skill. You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to your body and mind wellness. By focusing on these five self-care tips, you’ll be well on your way to improving your mental health.