Self care sounds easy, but sometimes we just fail at making it a priority.
It’s time to take charge of your mental health. That doesn’t mean you have to restructure your entire, busy life. That sounds overwhelming . . . and overwhelmed is kind of the opposite of what we are going for. Here are some self care tips that are totally doable.
Mental Health Awareness Month
The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and can make contributions to his or her community.” Not surprisingly, that sounds awesome and like a life goal for most of us.
Though May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, it should really be celebrated year-long. You strive to take care of yourself and your loved ones in so many ways, and check-in in on mental health is crucial to that care. Self care is the practice of consciously caring for your physical, psychological, and emotional well being. It is also important to note that if you do not take care of yourself, you cannot truly take care of someone else.
Self Care Tips for Mental Health that are Totally Doable
Sleep is an important part of any self care routine. Sleep deprivation can leave you feeling irritable and exhausted in the short term, which is obviously not ideal. In the longer term, it can lead to serious health consequences. Your brain and body need time to rest. A lack of sleep can reduce your levels of productivity by decreasing your ability to focus and process information. It can also put a damper on your immune system. Frustratingly, sleep problems can lead to changes in mental health, but mental health issues can also impact sleep. It is a vicious cycle that may be stopped with a few extra hours of shut-eye.
You really don’t need to do an hour-long HIIT (high-intensity interval training) class to achieve exercising every day. Make your goals realistic. Commit to yoga a few times a week, running, walking, biking, or something that makes you happy. If you don’t enjoy it, you certainly aren’t going to do it regularly. Exercise increases endorphins in your brain, which boost mood and is likely to promote a positive outlook. There is also something to be said for that sense of accomplishment when you are done.
Eat Healthy Food
Isn’t this one just the worst? Of course, you should be eating healthy, but it is so much easier said than done. This is especially true if you have family members or housemates who are not on the same track. If the package or Oreos is open and sitting right there in front of you, it is hard to walk away. Take it one day at a time and start by switching out a few things here and there for healthier options. Some of the best foods for you include fatty fish, blueberries, nuts, leafy greens, broccoli, and dark chocolate. All of these foods have positive impacts on your brain. Yes, even the chocolate!
Get Fresh Air
Taking a break is one thing, and something you should do often. But really, you need to make sure and get outside. You don’t have to go outside to exercise, but you certainly can. Even just sitting outside while reading a book or eating a healthy snack can help. A little sunlight can go a long way. Daily exposure to natural lighting is linked to positive mood, energy, better sleep, and overall wellbeing. Studies have proven over and over, that natural light helps the body stick closer to its circadian rhythm. Try and get outside for at least 10-20 minutes a day. It is a great way to reset your body and mind.
It is ok to not be able to do everything that everyone asks of you. Take it as a compliment that people think you are so capable, but realize your limitations. You really truly don’t have to say yes to everything. Sometimes it isn’t even that you don’t want to do something. Whether it is a work assignment, babysitting for a friend, walking someone’s dog or even attending a party (online or in-person) . . . We give you permission to decline. It’s ok.
You don’t have to buy a planner or clean your whole house top to bottom, but organizing your space can have a big impact on your mental health. Several studies have noted the positive correlation between the physical act of tidying up one’s house and a person’s overall health and attitude including a reduction in mental health issues. Getting organized can certainly be overwhelming. Take organizing in small steps and be encouraged by those improvements. You don’t have to go totally into Marie Kondo mode, but do let go of things that no longer bring you joy. If you need a little help staying focused or feeling relaxed enough to conquer some of your organizing goals, you may want to try Receptra Relax CBD.