Self-Care Steps You Shouldn’t Skip When It Comes to Mental Health
written by Brad Krause
Do you think of self-care as a luxury? If so, you could be missing out on some important practices that can help you manage your mental health. More than massages and face masks, real self-care involves daily rituals that serve to reduce stress, enhance health, and allow you to live a more fulfilling life. Even if you only have time for a few self-care habits for your mental health, make the ones listed below a priority.
Get Rid of Excess Stress
One of the core benefits of regular self-care is stress relief, and that is for a very good reason. Stress has the ability to impact you in ways that can damage your mental and physical health. When left unchecked, chronic stress can even damage essential connections in your brain and prevent it from functioning as it should.
So, how do you keep stress from affecting your life? To start, diet can play a big role in helping your brain and body manage stress. Healthy foods such as fish and avocados should be incorporated into your meals during high-stress periods to aid your body in coping with tension. In your everyday life, getting rid of clutter can also help reduce levels of chronic stress. The connection between clutter and your health is very real, so make sure to keep your living and work areas tidy. If the mess in your home has really gotten out of hand and the idea of going through it feels overwhelming, treat yourself to hiring a maid to take on the job, which only costs an average of $115 to $230 in San Diego.
If you’re going to DIY the job, it’s best to go in with a plan so you don’t get frustrated and so you stay motivated during the entire process. For those items that always seem to take up space but you are not ready to part with, think about renting a storage unit to keep them safely until you know what to do with them. Just remember to fit that expense into your budget; for example, the average price for a five-by-five self-storage unit in San Diego is $62.29 per month, and that price increases if you need more space.
Learn to Truly Relax From Time to Time
We tend to get used to rushing around and packing our schedules with responsibilities. From kids to work to social engagements, the list of things to do never seems to end. However, if you are not allowing yourself some time for relaxation, you could be doing some damage to your mental health. Relaxation is an essential self-care step that allows your brain to recharge and your emotions to take a break from your busy life. Whether you choose to meditate, practice yoga, or simply do nothing, relaxing benefits your health, so make it a habit.
Don’t have the time to commit to a major relaxation practice? You can still help your body unwind. These basic relaxation tips are all you need to get all of the benefits of a relaxation session without taking too much time. Work a short, guided mindful meditation into your morning, or take time to really enjoy the healthy meals you’ve prepared for yourself. If you enjoy cooking but can’t seem to find the time to hit the grocery store, sign up for a company like Blue Apron, which will deliver fresh ingredients and recipes to your home for as little as $59.94 a week.
Focus on Fixing Your Sleep Routine and Habits
Sleep and mental health are closely connected. From ADHD to anxiety, people with mental health issues tend to also have pretty serious sleep issues. Lack of sleep, however, also makes these mental health issues much worse. It’s a cycle that can be tough to break out of, but with the right self-care, you can improve your sleep to improve your mental health.
Set yourself on a nightly sleep schedule, and try your best to stick to it. Taking some time for relaxing activities, like meditation or reading, can help your mind and body release any tension from the day and drift off into a restful slumber. Creating a calming bedroom can also go a long way in improving your sleep hygiene. Think about taking gadgets like phones, computers, and televisions out of your bedroom, and opt for white noise from a fan or fountain to help you fall asleep faster. You can also pick up a white noise machine, which you can buy for as little as $15.
We tend to exercise and eat well to take care of our bodies, but we should also be taking better care of our emotional health. Self-care can be a valuable tool for managing existing mental health conditions, so make a commitment to practice a little every single day.
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