Written by: Brad Krause, Self-Care Expert, Self Caring
You may think good mental health comes naturally. It's either something you have or something you don't, right? The truth is, a peaceful mind-set and healthy lifestyle is available to us all - it’s simply about creating habits that embrace regular self-care as part of your routine, and here’s how you do it:
What is self-care?
The term "self-care" is thrown around quite a bit lately. Sometimes, we get the impression self-care is a momentary indulgence, like a yummy cupcake or a great pedicure. The best kind of self-care isn't a reward for surviving a hard day (although we all deserve a treat sometimes)!
It’s all in the moments, day in and day out, that promote your mental and physical wellness. It's part of your overall lifestyle, and as PsychCentral notes, self-care is what you do to refuel yourself.
Your specific self-care needs are unique and your regimen won't be identical to anyone else's, but there are some basic components we all need. That includes items such as taking time to relax and slow down, getting enough sleep each night, and eating nutritiously as often as possible. If you feel you don’t have time for things like that, it’s time to rethink your priorities. Can you put the phone down earlier to get better sleep? Can you set a glass of water by your bedside to hydrate first thing when you wake? Little steps can go a long way to put yourself first.
Time spent relaxing is an important key to self-care. But, as experts note, we need to be self-aware first to be able to recognize when we need some improvements -- time spent chilling out can help.
Participate in meditation exercises or deep breathing. It can settle your mind whenever you feel stress or anxiety creeping into your day. Don't underestimate the importance of engaging in "me time." Enjoy your favorite hobby, read a good book, watch a movie, and spend time laughing with friends. When Monday rolls around, you’ll be fully prepared to take on the week.
Are you overcommitted? If you feel you are on the run from morning until evening, day after day, it's time to re-evaluate. A schedule that is packed-full isn't healthy, and it probably isn't allowing you to participate in the self-care you really need. Being run down or constantly on the go can leave you open to serious stress. We aren’t robots after-all, we need down time to recharge.
Sometimes we just need to say no. Make a list of the items you need to say "no" that may be distracting you from healthier choices. Are you checking emails too late into the evening? Is it time for someone else to step up to lead the booster club? Are you the only one who always stays after potlucks to clean tables and put away dishes? Does your boss typically send to-do lists at night?
Step back from activities that are interfering with moving forward on self-care. Select one or two favorites or must-dos in your life, but don't let your "extracurricular" activities infringe on your healthy choices.
It goes without saying, but without enough sleep, you leave yourself open to numerous issues. The average adult requires between 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and when you don't get that rest, some research shows your mental health can suffer. People who don't get enough sleep are at an increased risk for depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
If you struggle with getting sufficient sleep, make changes to help you get more shut-eye. Darken your bedroom, set a bedtime routine, and free your bedroom from electronic devices.
Participating in a self-care routine is vital to your well-being! We hope our tips and guidance will help you to make time in your busy schedule to slow down, prioritize, rest and recover. You'll feel better and happier simply by making self-care a priority.
About Brad, Self Caring
Brad Krause graduated from college in 2010 and went straight to the corporate world at the headquarters of a popular retail company. But what started as a dream job soured quickly. After four years of working 15-hour days and neglecting his health, he decided enough was enough. Through aiding a friend during a tough time, Brad discovered his real calling-helping people implement self-care practices that improve their overall wellbeing. He created SelfCaring.info to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he finds on his self-care journey.