More and more people these days have begun to realize that self-care is important. Your mental health is as much a part of your overall well-being as your physical health. We all need to learn to be kind to ourselves, minimize our contact with toxic people, and do things that make us feel better.
It is important to remember that self-care doesn’t equal self-treatment. Telling yourself you’ll achieve your goal next time if this time it didn’t work out, doing what you feel like doing instead of being pressured into things by others, or just enjoying a bubble bath after a long day is absolutely great. It is also very necessary to keep your emotional health in balance.
However, if there already is an issue you don’t seem to be able to cope with, don’t self-diagnose and please don’t prescribe yourself any treatment based on what your friend’s aunt’s neighbor got from a doctor for a similar issue. Instead, talk to a mental health professional and let them help you. If you feel the need to ask someone how to get better (and that’s absolutely fine!), ask a person who is professionally equipped to give you a proper answer.
To celebrate World Mental Health Day (October 10), we have collected tips for mental health that, while not being a treatment in itself, will help you enjoy each day a little bit more and handle the emotional balance. All of them are scientifically approved by Mental Health America and several other reliable sources. If there is anything you regularly do to support your mental health, share it with us in the comments.
Hang out with animals.
Time with animals lowers the stress hormone and boosts oxytocin, which boosts the feeling of happiness.
Keep the temperature low for a good night's sleep.
The optimal temperature for sleep is around 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit (16-19 degrees Celsius).
#3Drink plenty of water.
Take a break if you need to.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, even just a change of scene can help to relax.
If you have something that's bothering you, write it down on paper.
Writing about upsetting experiences and events can reduce the symptoms of depression.
Look after yourself.
Basic self-care, like brushing your teeth or having a shower is important for your physical health and also can make you feel better.
Make sleep a priority.
Stick to a schedule and make sure you're getting enough sleep.
Be kind and help create a better world.
Research shows that being kind is beneficial for both giving and receiving sides. Showing kindness to others can boost our mood, help us feel more capable, strengthen connections and relationships with others, and even help cope with stress.
Body and mind are one, so looking after our bodies can also help prevent or help to deal with mental problems.
Dance around while you do your housework.
Not only you'll get your chores done in a more fun way, but also dancing reduces levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and increases endorphins (the body's "feel-good" chemicals).
Try to prep your lunches or picking out outfits for the work week.
Not only you'll save time in the mornings, but you'll also have a sense of control of the week ahead.
Try to set your sleeping environment comfortable.
Small changes can help, like sleeping with a low light on, different bedding or different temperature.
Reach out to someone and show them some love.
Close, quality relationships are essential for a happy life.
#14Try something that is outside your comfort zone, to bring adventure and excitement into your life.
#15Work on a DIY project, such as fixing a broken gate, bike or something else.
Treat yourself with kindness, reward yourself and avoid self-criticism.
Get closer to nature.
We have been living in nature, among animals and plants for the greater part of our history, so it's safe to say that nature can affect us in a calming manner.
Learn to understand and manage your feelings.
A great number of us can feel a plethora of feelings, but not understand it or tell it apart. Is it sadness, fear, shame, loneliness, anger, all of them or something else entirely? We don't always know the reason we're feeling that way.
Be aware of using substances to cope with difficult feelings.
Not a single person wants to feel bad. Some turn to substances to help with coping with difficult emotions. However, substances offer only temporary relief. They do not stop the feelings from returning and can create other problems or make things worse, including mental health, physical health, relationships, work or studies.
Get more from your sleep.
There are times when all of us sleep badly, and some live in situations where a good night's sleep is just impossible. Sleep is also the first thing that suffers when we struggle with mental health.
Try developing a relaxing bedtime routine to help you wind down. Avoid technologies, alcohol and coffee. Also, try getting up at the same time every day, including weekends.
#21Eat healthy food.
Food and drinks can affect our bodies, brains and moods in different ways, so a healthy diet is essential for good physical and mental health.
Work on your strengths.
Do something you know you're good at, which will build your self-confidence and make tackling a tougher task easier.
Try a new recipe, write a poem, make a painting or a drawing, or try a new craft project. Not only it will break the routine, but the creative expression and overall well-being are also linked.
Go off the grid.
Disconnect from all your social media, emails, alerts and other interruptions. Spend some time with someone face-to-face.
If you're feeling stressed, try to smile.
It might be hard to force yourself to do that, but smiling can help lower your heart rate and calm you down.
Send a thank you note for someone who assisted or helped you.
Written expressions of gratitude are linked to increased happiness.
Try to enjoy 15 minutes of sunshine.
Sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D, which is believed to be a mood elevator.
#28Find free activities that would help you to get fit.
Try new hobbies that would challenge you.
Like a new sport, writing or painting.
Use night mode in your phone, computer and TV.
Blue light from screens can affect how quickly you fall asleep and how good that sleep is.
Try online learning.
It's a good way to change up your routine if it's difficult to go out or you're short on time.
Try a mindfulness exercise in nature.
Focus on your surroundings and find things to explore, see, hear, taste, smell or touch.
Establish a sleeping routine.
Establish a regular activity routine before bed to set a regular sleeping pattern.
Try to wind down before bed,
Make some time to relax before bed and avoid having caffeine in the evening.
Watch for thinking traps.
There are times when something bad happens, and we get stuck in a negative thought train.
Talk to someone you trust for support.
A lot of people have developed a habit of bottling their emotions inside and ignore any of the hurtful feelings they're experiencing. It takes a lot of courage to open up to someone else, especially for the first time, but just talking things through with another person can help and feel like a relief.
Plan things to look forward to.
Sometimes, we can get overwhelmed by things that are thrown at us, so planning an activity to look forward to, even something simple as watching your favorite TV show in the evening can help us cope with difficult situations.
Try to take some time to laugh.
Go out with your funny friend, watch a comedy or spend some time looking at cute and funny videos online.
Practice mindfulness, by focusing in the present.
Listen to a guided breathing exercise and later use this exercise before engaging in an activity at work, home or somewhere else.
Do something with family and friends.
Go to a park, play a game, or have dinner. People are more likely to feel happy when they spend 6-7 hours per day with friends and family.
Practice stress coping techniques.
Stress is part of life, and sometimes there's no escaping it. Learning how to deal with it can improve your life quality.
Set realistic goals.
Decide what is possible for you to achieve and work towards it.
While planning the next step, give yourself time.
Go at your own pace, to not feel pressure from rushing.
Bring nature indoors.
Flowers, potted plants or seeds for growing can give you the benefits of nature without having to go out or look for it.
Try to keep active.
Try to work in a physical activity into your routine. It doesn't have to be anything big.
Be curious and open minded to new experiences.
We all get stuck in routine sometimes, and it can call out thoughts like "it will never get better".
If you're feeling anxious, take some time to do some colouring.
Pick a design that's geometric and a little complicated and spend about 20 minutes colouring to clear your mind.
Don't refrain yourself and yawn freely.
Yawning can help to cool the brain and improve alertness, as well as mental efficiency.
Relax in a warm bath once a week.
Adding Epsom salts could help soothe aches and pains, and boost magnesium levels, which can be depleted due to stress.
Even if it's forgiving someone who cut you off on your way to work, practicing forgiveness can result in a better mental health and better satisfaction with life.