Self-Care: Your Mental Health Depends On It
Written by Brad Krause
Practicing self-care turns us into the best versions of ourselves, not only physically, but also mentally. As psychologist Guy Winch asks, "We brush and floss, but what daily activity do we do to maintain our psychological health?"
This kind of self-care doesn't have to cost a fortune, and it doesn't have to be torturous, as in doing 50 burpees a day while living on kale juice. Self-care is about bringing your life into balance, and it can be especially rejuvenating for those on the path to sobriety. Read on to explore the benefits of self-care as well as tips for practicing it.
Mental Health Benefits
- Self-care reduces the negative effects of stress. Stress breaks down your mind and body, while taking care of yourself prevents stress and anxiety from taking over.
- Self-care helps prevent burnout. If you regularly take good care of yourself rather than push yourself to the point of giving up, you will be more effective in all you do.
- Self-care helps you think clearly. When you're practicing self-care, you make better choices and lead a better life. Just as employers know that workers need regular breaks to perform better, you need to give yourself self-care breaks so you can perform better in life.
Getting Back to Basics
- Tend to your body by keeping it hydrated and nourished. Keep a pitcher of "spa water" in your fridge. It's hard to resist drinking water when you've always got a pitcher of water on hand, infused with lemon and cucumber slices or rosemary and mint.
- Try natural medicine to help treat physical and mental conditions, such as post-workout soreness and stress. Research shows that CBD oil can reduce inflammation, anxiety, and depression, among other symptoms. Ask your doctor if you can take this product, then review various brands online to find the best product for you.
- Make simple changes around your home to reduce stress and fatigue. Reduce clutter by organizing your space and getting rid of items that don't bring you joy. Invest in a few house plants to bring the benefits of nature indoors. Add an air purifier to improve your home’s air quality and reduce pollutants, dust, and smoke. Replace synthetics scents, like candles and sprays, with an essential oil diffuser.
- Do whatever it takes to make quality sleep a priority. Create a cozy bedroom and calming bedtime ritual. Try drawing a bath with lavender bath salts and enjoy a good book. Brew a delicious cup of calming tea. Refrain from watching any news or reading any emails at bedtime that might make you anxious or preoccupied.
- Take time to relax every day. For some, this may mean going for a rejuvenating walk or unwinding by watching a favorite show. For others, it may mean bringing out the yoga mat for some mindful stretching or listening to soothing music.
- Keep a journal to write down your thoughts, feelings and fears.
- Know when to say no. Many times, saying "no" to someone is saying "yes" to yourself. Boundaries are key to self-care.
- Find hobbies and activities that ignite happiness. Research shows that people who practice meditation reap numerous health benefits. Meditation is about being present in the moment, while anxiety lives in the past and in the future. Wellness and self-discovery are especially helpful for those in addiction recovery. It’s an invaluable tool to clear clutter from your brain and help you de-stress. The same can be said for practicing yoga and other activities that bring you peace and joy. Explore until you find what works for you!
Personalize a self-care routine that's meaningful to you. Discover what takes your mind from a frazzled mess to one that is at peace. If you tend to be a people pleaser, practice boundaries. Above all, avoid activities that deplete you. This interactive self-care game guides and reminds you to take good care of yourself. Your mental health depends on it.