These days, we hear a lot about self-care and the importance of taking time out to maintain your mental health. Just like you practice good hygiene by brushing your teeth and taking regular showers, it’s important to practice good mental and emotional hygiene.
Self-care looks different for everyone, but there are some basic concepts you can consider when figuring out how to take care of yourself.
Don’t let your emotional pain fester.
Pay attention to what things cause you emotional pain, whether it’s rejection, failure, or anger. Identify what things you can control and work to improve those situations. As for the things you can’t control, realize that you can control how you react and practice techniques to respond differently.
Be kind to yourself.
It’s essential to show yourself a little compassion, especially after times of failure or rejection. At times like those, it can be easy to struggle with self-esteem issues, but it’s important not to let negative circumstances damage your sense of self-worth. Give yourself a break and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Make time for you.
Spending time on your own is just as important as spending time with others. Take some time to relax and reflect or even just do an activity you enjoy doing, whether it’s reading, gardening, or even hiking. Even if it’s only a few minutes, spend time each day to check in with yourself.
Take care of your body.
Keeping your body healthy and working well can have a positive effect on your mental health. Eat healthy, nutritious foods and drink plenty of water. Make sure to get a decent amount of restful sleep each night and engage in regular physical exercise to keep your body—and mind—healthy.
Avoid stress as best you can.
Stress is a part of life and while you can’t avoid it completely, you can take steps to avoid excess stress. Know what situations and circumstances trigger stress for you and do your best to avoid them or eliminate them wherever you can. That means learning to say no to invitations or requests because taking on too many commitments can put extra pressure and stress on you.
Time outside not only provides you with Vitamin D, which can boost your mood and overall health, but it also gives you a chance to be more active. Go for a walk around your neighborhood or take a ride on your bike. Even just having lunch in the park can be a great way to relax and enjoy a little calm and quiet.
Find a way to express yourself.
A creative outlet can be a great way to express your emotions, whether it’s writing, drawing, or painting. Any activity you enjoy can bring you joy and ease stress is great self care. The nature of the activity doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you find peace in engaging in it, whether you’re baking or crafting.
Be kind to yourself.
Forgive yourself for the little things. After all, you will make mistakes, and it’s important to remind yourself that they aren’t the end of the world. Be more understanding and don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go as planned.
Make time for loved ones.
Feelings of loneliness can cause serious problems for your mental and emotional health. Take some time out to connect with a close friend or family member, even if it’s just a phone call or video chat. You can also join local groups that share your interests or take a class at your gym to enjoy the benefits of social interaction.
Still not sure where to start with self-care? Check out these tips for things you can do to help take care of yourself:
- - Engage in meditation
- - Reread a favorite book
- - Take a hot bath or shower
- - Visit a favorite place
- - Watch a favorite TV show or movie
- - Spend some time outside, enjoying nature
- - Journal and write down your thoughts and feelings
- - Exercise, whether it’s yoga, running, or kickboxing
- - Make future plans that you’re excited about
And, of course, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, whether that’s emotional support from a family member or friend, or the assistance of a mental health professional, like a therapist. You don’t have to do anything in life on your own.
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