Taking control of your mental wellness and all round well being can often get smothered underneath the demands of life. Through the pressure of work and managing a home, it’s easy to forget to make time for your own self-care.
Making your mental health a priority is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
Creating healthy habits to boost your mental health can lead to increased productivity, concentration, and positive emotions. Especially when so many of us operate at such high levels, it’s important to take time to keep your mental health in check.
Here are 8 self care habits that you can practice everyday to improve your Mental Health
1.Cultivate your gratitudes & affirmations
One of the most powerful things to boost self-confidence is to write daily gratitudes and affirmations. It goes like this: Each morning, write 3 things you are grateful for that day, followed by three positive affirmations about yourself. Once you’re done writing, read each statement out loud to yourself.
Writing down your emotions, thoughts, stressors and problems helps you unload them onto paper so they’re not knocking around inside your brain, forcing you to overthink even more than you already do.
Concentrating on what you’re grateful for in your life allows you to focus on the positive rather than the negative, which not only drastically helps your overall mindset but mental health as well.
Instead of wishing and dwelling on what you DON’T have, focus on what you do. What are your biggest achievements? What are you grateful for? What qualities do you like – or want to like – about yourself?
2. Create Boundaries and Learn to Say No
Setting boundaries for yourself on what you do and don’t do helps to create balance and ensures you’re giving your mind a much needed break.
Learning to say no is really hard; many of us feel obligated to say yes when someone asks for our time or energy. However, if you’re already stressed or overworked, saying yes to loved ones or coworkers can lead to burnout, anxiety, and irritability. It may take a little practice, but once you learn how to politely say no, you’ll start to feel more empowered, and you’ll have more time for your self-care.
3. Learn Something New
Our brains may not be a muscle but it pays to treat it like one. Constantly learning new and interesting things will not only help you use it, stretch it, and get it fired up, but it will also boost your creativity, productivity, and mental well-being.
Aside from reading books, you could listen to podcasts or audiobooks, watch Ted Talks or documentaries, pick up a new hobby, learn a new language, enroll in online courses, or simply talk to interesting people.
4. Get some proper sleep
When you suffer from mental illness, your sleep is usually affected.
Either you sleep too little or too much, and neither one is particularly good for you. In fact, it can only make your mental health worse.
Establishing a proper sleep schedule, in which you get between 7-9 hours (the recommended amount) is so important for your mental health.
Your brain needs time to process everything that’s happened during the day, and your body needs to rest and heal.
5. Incorporate self-care into your life
Self-care is different for each and every person. It’s important to take time to care for your physical, emotional and mental health in order to live a fulfilling life. Examples of self-care include: eating healthy, traveling somewhere new, trying new things, relaxing at the beach, spending time with a friend, or splurging on a massage or other luxury. The type of self-care doesn’t matter as much as the effect: It should make you feel like you’re taking care of yourself in a way that combats anxiety, depression and stress.
Take 20 minutes every day to focus on self-care. Make a healthy smoothie before work, go for a long walk at lunch or spend time laughing with loved ones.
6. Move your body
Have you ever noticed that how you feel impacts the way you move? For example, when we feel tired and sad our bodies tend to feel heavy and move more slowly; when we feel anxious we tend to either rush around or feel unable to move at all. This connection between how we feel and how we move goes in both directions, which means that we can use movement to influence how we feel.
Exercise can help with anxiety by reducing the activity of the the ‘fight or flight’ response in the body. People who experience anxiety can fear or resist the physiological changes associated with anxiety such as rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath. Regular exercise can help to develop a tolerance for these sensations and it’s also a great way to boost mood.
7. Focus on one thing
Being mindful of the present moment allows us to let go of negative or difficult emotions from past moments or experiences that are weighing us down. Start by bringing awareness to routine activities, such as taking a shower, eating lunch, or walking home. Being aware of the physical sensations, sounds, smells, or tastes of these experiences helps focus your attention. When your mind wanders, just bring it back to what you are doing.
8. Take a Break from Social Media
It’s a well-known fact that social media can be bad for self-esteem and mental health. (Facebook has recently changed its newsfeed algorithm to support more positivity.) Take regular breaks from looking at social media—even if it’s just for 30 minutes each day. During these breaks, do something that makes you feel good, whether it’s exercising, watching Netflix or doing one of the other activities on this list. In addition to your mind, your eyes will appreciate the break as well.