Guest Post: Improve Your Mental Health With These Six Self-Care Habits

Hello everybody!! Today's post is a little different than normal, because I am have a guest! Brad Krause, from Self-Caring, reached out to me wanting to write a blog on the importance of self-care and how to incorporate it into everyday daily life. And since I'm really big on truly taking care of ourselves, I thought it would be great for him to share.  

Brad 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. Hope you enjoy his article! I'd love to hear any self-care practices you have!

 
 Photo Credit:  Unsplash

Photo Credit: Unsplash

 

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” -Eleanor Brownn

The old Sermon on the Mount command goes “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In other words,  treat others like you wish to be treated. Self-care, a critical part of your mental health and well-being is taking that adage and turning it upside down. Instead of waiting for others to do unto you, you do unto yourself by prioritizing you.

Sounds simple right?

Not so fast. Identifying your own needs and making the time to take care for them is an often-overlooked practice.

Here are six self-care habits that will help you get started.

1. Make Sleep A Priority

Numerous studies have shown that even the most minimal sleep disruptions can result in a significant effect on one’s mental health, so finding ways to improve your sleep is important. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are six key ways to improve your sleep.

1.     Follow a sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and stick to a maximum of eight hours of sleep each night.

2.     Watch what you eat and drink. You shouldn’t feel hungry or full at bedtime and be sure to avoid caffeine for several hours before rest.

3.     Create the perfect sleeping environment. Make sure your room is dark, cool and quiet.

4.     Nap wisely. Don’t take a nap longer than 30 minutes and never take a nap in the later part of the day.

5.     Get moving. Exercise improves sleep.

6.     Eliminate worrying. Handle worries long before bedtime.

2. Make Time For Relaxation

With work deadlines, carpool demands and social plans, it’s easy to get caught up in a schedule that doesn’t permit you the proper time to unwind. To protect your mental health, though, it’s important to make time and to employ creative ways to relax; you can manage this in just five minutes.

3.  Learn The Art Of Saying “No”

Are you a people pleaser, always feeling obligated to say “yes” to every request? If so, it’s time to change and there’s several good reasons you’ll want to.

●      People that say no are typically more successful.

●      There’s value in realizing you’re not responsible for someone else’s reaction.

●      It’s important to establish personal boundaries.

4. Get Physical

One of the most tried and true remedies to improve your mental health is introducing yoga or meditation into your regular routine. If you’re suffering from depression, anxiety or in addiction recovery these practices are proven to help. Here are some benefits.

●      Increased self-awareness

●      Increased energy levels

●      Emotional healing

●      Improved sleep

●      Increased strength

●      Reduces fatigue

5. Eliminate The Stress Addiction

According to a survey by NPR and Harvard Health, 63 percent of Americans feel stressed, and of those, a quarter reported feeling a “great deal” of stress. For some, stress even becomes an addiction. If you’re complaining a lot, finding yourself without any free time, dealing with relationship struggles, unhappy, and overworking in the present to payoff for the future these are signs you might be dealing with an addiction to stress. Here are some ways to break the habit:

●      Stop overscheduling

●      Unplug

●      Practice relaxation techniques

●      Surround yourself with positive influences and friends

●      Make your happiness a priority

6. Take Up A New Hobby

One of the unique ways to eliminate stress or replace negative habits such as addiction is to find a passion for something that creates positive experiences in your life. Consider getting creative with one of these hobbies:

●      Playing an instrument

●      Cooking

●      Volunteering

●      Journaling

●      Cooking

●      Woodworking

●      Gardening

●      Photography

●      Coloring

●      Knitting/Sewing/Crochet

It’s important to remember that self-care should not be seen as selfish or self-indulgent. Instead, self-care should be seen as taking ownership for making you the best you can be. You’ll see improvements in self-esteem, relationships, work performance and almost all facets of your life. Start today by setting aside some special “me time.” We’re confident you’ll see improved mental health in no time.