Self-care—an essential part of any healthy lifestyle—is all about balancing our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness through the actions we take every day. Unfortunately, many of us prioritize the needs of others at the expense of our own mental well-being. If you could use a little mental health boost, try adopting some of the following self-care habits into your daily routine.
Find Exercises That You Enjoy
Exercise has a direct effect on the brain. When we exercise, our brains receive an increased supply of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to support various cognitive functions, from learning to emotional control. Exercise also has an immediate effect on our bodily levels of cortisol and adrenaline—stress hormones that cause us to feel anxious or stimulated. At the same time, exercise results in the release of mood-elevating endorphins in the brain.
There’s a widespread misconception that we have to torture ourselves to benefit from exercise. This just isn’t true! When you enjoy your fitness routine, you’ll find it much easier to maintain. Bustle recommends finding exercises you love by trying new fitness classes, exercising with a buddy, and choosing convenient times and locations to work out.
Cook for Yourself
A healthy diet is the best natural remedy for your mental health. According to The Conversation, simply eating more fruits and vegetables may lead to a significant improvement in your psychological well-being. Filling up on healthy foods will also leave you with less room in your diet for unhealthy options that are bad for mental health, like foods filled with sugar. Take the time to cook instead of ordering takeout or popping a ready-made meal in the oven. This way, you can control everything that goes into your body. There’s also something very therapeutic about carefully preparing a healthy meal for yourself! To control portions, consider ordering meals with pre-portioned ingredients from a food delivery service.
Take Time to Relax
Relaxation is just as important for our mental well-being as healthy eating and exercise. Unfortunately, too many of us rush through our lives without taking a moment to breathe. Try to schedule rest periods into your day. Engage in relaxing activities like meditation, yoga, tai chi, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation. These relaxation techniques can help relieve tension in your body and reduce feelings of anxiety.
A cluttered and unkempt home could be disrupting your relaxation routine and may even adversely affect your relationships with family members. Remove the negative vibes in your home by allowing more light in, decluttering, and tossing out broken items.
Go to Bed Earlier self-care
Relaxation techniques can also help you fall asleep faster at night. This is important because a lack of sleep can be devastating to our mental health, contributing to mood problems and cognitive deficits. If you’re one of the many people who struggle with sleep procrastination, take steps to break those bad bedtime habits. Try giving yourself a window of time to go to bed instead of pressuring yourself to fall asleep at a specific time every night. Also, try limiting your use of electronics before bed and adopting some bedtime rituals that you enjoy.
Learn How to Say “No”
Making more time in your life for self-care might require you to say no to certain obligations or demands. This can be difficult, especially if you’re used to pleasing others. If you’re having trouble saying “no,” think about the time and energy you spend saying “yes” to things you don’t have to do, like going to coffee with someone you dislike or attending fruitless meetings. Reclaim your time by turning people down more often. Try to get in the habit of asking yourself why you’re agreeing to do something and focusing on how you feel about it.
Don’t let anything take priority over your mental health. While it can be tough to dedicate time for ourselves when we have so many responsibilities, tending to self-care will ultimately benefit everyone else around us as well. Find ways to take care of your body mentally, physically, and emotionally, and you’ll have more joy and energy to share with others.
After spending most of his time in a corporate setting and neglecting his own self-care far too long, Brad embraced his calling and decided to become a full-time life coach. He now spends the rest of his life helping people get a better foothold on their wellness above all else.
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