Self-care involves taking care of yourself, which seems easy. Eat healthfully, get enough exercise, and drink plenty of water. It’s all simple enough — or is it?
What we often forget to practice are actions that address our mental health, which have striking benefits. Your diet is a major part of it, but have you thought about maintaining good hygiene, getting enough sleep, finding ways to relax, handling stress and telling people “no” when they ask too much? Here’s a breakdown of those simple acts of self-care and what they do for you mentally.
Healthy Meal-Time Variety
A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins gives you steady energy and even reduces stress throughout the day without the wild ups and downs that sugar, fat, and caffeine tend to provide. What’s more, you’ll never get bored with what you eat if there’s an array of options in your kitchen. Don’t panic if you have no time to cook, as meal delivery services can offer you healthy choices and convenience.
Think back to your most recent bad day. Were you tired? Did you get enough sleep the night before? Chances are you didn’t recharge your batteries and restore healthy chemical balance in your brain when you hit the hay the previous evening, and you paid the price. If you get seven to nine hours of slumber, you’ll wake up ready for anything that comes your way.
Sleep will never come easily if you don’t give yourself a chance to release the tension that’s built up since you rushed off to work that morning. Relaxation can involve just about anything that brings you a sense of calm, whether it’s taking a hot bath, enjoying a back rub, or strumming the guitar.
Practicing mindfulness means focusing only on the present and blocking out our modern world of multitasking, if only for a moment. Guided meditation is excellent for putting you in the zone and relieving stress by shutting off the fight-or-flight response and engaging the calming parasympathetic nervous system so you can get some peace, say the experts at PsychCentral.
Don’t forget to take some time to boost your self-esteem when it comes to your appearance as well. Have an at-home spa day, treat yourself to a new makeup palette or shaving kit, or try out a new haircut. There’s nothing indulgent about doing things to make yourself feel attractive, and your grooming and hygiene habits are an important part of self care.
A Healthy Mouth
It can’t be stressed enough that good hygiene means a happier, healthier version of you. Oral care, for example, is heavily linked to mental health. For those who are stressed or have depression, it can be tough keeping up a daily routine of brushing and flossing, but it’s very important that you take care of your mouth, which lowers the chances of gum disease and tooth decay. Plus, you’ll smile more, which can make you feel happier and more confident.
Giving Yourself a Break
By saying “no” to people who demand too much of you, you’re putting your own needs and well-being ahead of everything else. Remember, your health is a priority, and nobody is well served by a sick and stressed out you.
By putting these simple practices into action, you’ll receive a variety of benefits to your overall wellness. Some of the perks of good self-care include:
- Higher Self-Esteem
When you’re not overwhelmed by stress, you’re a more effective individual, whether it comes to doing your job or being a good friend. That gives you more confidence in your own worth, which leads to even fewer worries in your daily life.
- Reduced Anxiety
It would be wrong to say that you’ll never feel stressed. However, you will be able to deal with it so your worries don’t spiral out of control and leave you panicking.
- A Positive Outlook
There’s a direct link between higher self-esteem and envisioning a brighter future. Those exciting plans for your career or your personal life are back on the menu because you know you can make them happen. Starting up a business or traveling the world are just a matter of planning, not miracles.
- New Perspective
If you’ve been wracked with stress, your perception of the world can become warped. Healing your mind through self-care is like turning on a light in a dark room, because you can see things for what they are.
Improving your emotional health is simply a matter of making yourself a priority and changing your lifestyle a little. It may take some adjusting to your schedule and routine, but the effort is more than worth it.
by Brad Krause