Written by Bethany Hatton for HopeVisionAction.org.
Are you feeling frazzled and stressed? Having a hard time taking care of your mental health? While counseling and therapy are the cornerstones of any good mental health plan, you may be surprised to know that self-care can also help. Incorporating healthy practices and habits into your daily routine can have a positive impact on your emotional and mental well-being. Need some simple ways to start. Here are a few tricks for making self-care a part of your everyday life.
Make Home a Stress-Free Zone
We all need an escape from the stress of the world. Make your home a safe haven by taking steps to reduce stress there. Studies show that getting rid of clutter in your life and home can have positive effects on your mental health. Get rid of items you no longer use and organize the rest in a way that keeps it out of sight. Set aside a day to deep clean any dust, grime and dirt and then keep your home tidy with a few simple tricks that won’t take too much time out of your day.
Dedicate Time to Relaxation
You’re probably used to penciling in exercise and appointments on your calendar. But have you thought about writing in some time for relaxation? It may seem silly or selfish, but setting aside time to relax by yourself is essential to preserving your mental health. Take a few minutes to take a warm bath, read a relaxing book or take a nap in a hammock outside. Being outside is a good way to boost your mood and feel instantly refreshed. However you like to unwind, make sure you leave space in your day for relaxation.
Incorporate Stress-Relief Into Your Routine
One of the most pressing health concerns facing adults these days is stress. Stress can come from your job, family, friends or even from within. Calm your stress by finding ways to release feelings of strain throughout the day. Exercise is a good way to combat stress, so try taking a walk when you feel overwhelmed. To enhance those stress-relieving benefits, try walking with a dog. Pets can have positive impacts on stress levels and provide emotional support that can improve overall mental health.
Avoid Taking on Too Many Tasks
When you’re looking to boost your career or social life, it can be tempting to say “yes” to every request that comes your way. Research has shown, however, that overexerting yourself can lead to burnout, depression and anxiety. It’s important to realize when you are at your capacity for projects and tasks, and to learn how to say “no” without damaging relationships. Try a gentle, yet firm reply to any overwhelming request. If you can come to a compromise, that may be best but only if it doesn’t cause you more stress or strain. This is a self-care practice that can make a difference in all aspects of your life.
Start a Meditation Practice
If you’re looking for a simple self-care practice that will bring you the most mental health benefits? Meditation may be right for you. In fact, meditation has been proven to have calming, positive effects on those who practice regularly. Getting into this quiet practice can be a bit tricky at first, but you can take steps to ease yourself into a practice. Set up a small, but visible, space or room in your home for mindful meditation and set aside a few minutes to really practice every single day. Try making it a part of your morning routine to get your day off to a positive start.
Heal Yourself With Sleep
Sleep is more than just practical self-care. Sleep is essential to mental and physical health. Research has shown that poor sleep habits can lead to mental health problems, serious health issues and cognitive impairment. Create good sleep hygiene for yourself by starting with a regular schedule. Try to wake up and go to bed around the same time each day, and leave an hour or so before bed to really relax. Avoid eating meals or large snacks late at night and opt for a cup of chamomile tea instead.
Making time for self-care can make a real difference in your life. By practicing these healthy habits you can improve your well-being, while improving your mental health in the process. Never feel selfish about taking time to take care of yourself.
Photo Credit: Unsplash