Self-care and mental health are intertwined. Whether working or studying, you can only succeed if you care for yourself. In addition, working on yourself gives you the morale to take on various challenges and duties. Self-care does not have to be expensive. It can be as simple as walking every morning or meditating after work or school.
It is best to find several activities that make you relax and feel good about yourself. With such activities, you’ll be able to handle burnout since you’ll have different ways to exert pressure accumulated from work or school. However, for this to work, you must be intentional about creating time for your activities.
It is best to fit such activities into your routine so they become part of your daily schedule. The ultimate goal of caring for yourself is to be happy and find meaning in your life. Once you are happy and content, you’ll realize that everyone around you will also be happy, and your relationships will become healthier.
Sometimes we may not realize it when we are releasing our frustration on other people, but with some self-care and personal time, you’ll become more aware of your emotions. So let’s explore some self-care ideas that will help protect your mental health.
Working out can help manage conditions such as anxiety since it stimulates the release of endorphins, a happy hormone that can make you relax. Exercising does not mean you have to go to the gym; you can make some time for random exercises such as:
- Skipping a rope
- Taking a stroll
Once you do not put pressure on yourself, you’ll find that creating a routine of workouts you love will be easy. It will be a bonus if you lose weight in the process since you’ll start feeling good about yourself. However, remember for self-care to be effective, all your activities should be voluntary so that you find meaning and happiness while doing them. If you force yourself to work out, you won’t enjoy the time you’ll be exercising, and it will put a lot of pressure on your mental health.
Finding time to introspect amidst the chaos in your life can be refreshing after listening to advice and stories from different people all day; you need to create time to listen to yourself and take in the moment. Meditation can also help in the management of anxiety and depression. Of course, therapy and medication are always the first lines of management. Still, you can supplement them with practices or activities that help change how the brain responds during anxious or stressful moments.
Meditation not only helps you calm down but also enables you to ignore any negative emotions. For example, when facing an anxiety attack, most people struggle with their future uncertainties or past traumas. Therefore, through meditation, you can soak in the present instead of going back and forth to your future and past.
Practising self-compassion is an essential factor in protecting our mental health. It is common ground to be more kind to our friends than we are to ourselves. However, this should not be the case. Once you are compassionate with yourself, you’ll hardly fall into the trap of self-blame. Learning how to forgive oneself and move on from past mistakes is essential.
Being gracious enough to learn from your mistake is the first step towards achieving self-compassion. Sometimes we are our worst enemies since we have high expectations for ourselves that if we do not achieve, we become less confident in our abilities.
Doubting your abilities is a slippery slope to depression and anxiety. Therefore, as it is good to set attainable goals, it is also best to give yourself some room to make mistakes, grow and learn from them. Criticizing yourself for every mistake or failure can lower your morale and energy to take on other challenges. So when you start blaming yourself, be sure to talk yourself out of such situations by practising positive affirmation words such as “I can do it,” which can go a long way in helping you regain your lost confidence.
Cleaning and Organization
Cleaning and organization help reset your brain since they can help lower cortisol levels, a stress hormone. Sometimes we feel like we have no control over things going on, which may cause anxiety and depression. Therefore, maximizing things you can take charge of, such as decluttering, cleaning, and organization, can be uplifting. As a result, you will be in a better mood and be ready to focus more. Moreover, you’ll practice good sleeping hygiene through cleaning, thus improving your sleep quality.
Identify Your Hobbies
Hobbies can take the form of any activity as long as you enjoy it during your free time. Something as simple as spending some quiet time alone can qualify as a hobby. You will be more energetic when you take time off your busy schedule to unwind and relax. Therefore, to thrive mentally, it is best to identify activities that will make you relax.
If you find it hard to spare some time for hobbies, you can delegate some duties at work so that you find extra time to relax. Also, you can take short breaks during work to:
- Read a book
- Catch up with a podcast episode
- Go for a walk
- Watch a movie
- Interact with friends
- Go through social media
Whatever makes you happy, ensure you pursue it with zeal. If you do not mind spending time with people, you can tag your friends in some of the activities you may want to indulge in during your free time. For example, swimming or hiking over the weekend can be an excellent way to bond with friends as you deliberate about your week. So if you often find yourself asking, “How can I find a counsellor near me?” then chances are you are not creating enough time to decompress.
Friends can help keep us sane. Therefore, you need to make a deliberate effort to have a circle of supportive friends since they will also be your support system if necessary. Investing in your friendship means being there for them as much as you would like them to be there for you. When you have a genuine circle of friends, you’ll have people to share your insecurities with, and they can also give you solid advice.
Sometimes sharing our problems can help manage anxiety and depression since friends can give you solid advice and reassurance that you may need to maintain your sanity. So as much as you would love to have some alone time more often, it is also essential that you have supportive friends whom you can share what’s happening in your life with.
It may not be as easy to keep your mental health in check since sometimes it may seem like you are losing control of everything. But you can take charge of your mental health with crucial activities such as working out, self-affirmation, socializing, meditation, and decluttering.
Mental health-related conditions such as depression and anxiety are manageable through medication and psychotherapy. Your initiative to feel and get better will make recovery smooth and shorter. Taking personal steps to improve your well-being can also help prevent some health conditions.
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