The Mental Health Benefits of Self-Care
By: Melissa Howard
Self-care can mean many things, from making sure your body is in good shape to taking care of your mental health, and the more you practice healthy habits, the stronger you’ll become.
For many people, the mental health benefits of positive thinking, getting a good night’s sleep, and reducing stress can make a big impact.
It’s not always about making changes to your own body and mind, either; you can make positive changes to your environment, relationships, and work life as well. For example, if you’re in addiction recovery, managing your environment can help you reduce stress and get a handle on triggers that can affect your sobriety, your ability to perform at work, or the way you cope with anxiety or difficult issues. It can also help you avoid negative influences, which can positively affect you in many ways.
Here are a few tips on how to use self-care to benefit your mental health.
Get some rest
Many of the best mental health practices are also the most overlooked. Getting enough sleep every night is essential if you want to feel good and stay fit, as healthy rest can affect your metabolism, mood, and motivation. Create a rest routine that will help you relax before bed, and try to go to sleep at the same time each night to form good habits.
Learn to say “no”
It can be difficult for many of us to learn how to say “no,” but it’s important to form some boundaries when you’re already stressed. Making an effort to put your own mental health needs first will allow you to reduce your workload as well as your stresses and will keep you from becoming overwhelmed. Talk to your coworkers and family members so that everyone is on the same page, and remember to be diplomatic when declining anything so that no one’s feelings get hurt.
Manage your environment
Creating a healthy environment is essential for your mental health, especially if you are in substance abuse recovery. Turning your home or workplace into a positive place for your growth and emotional well-being will help you stay on the right track wherever you are on the road to recovery. This might mean breaking ties with people who aren’t the best influences, or learning how to manage your work so you don’t end up bringing it home every night. If at any time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed in your sobriety, it can be hugely beneficial to change your environment, even if only for a few minutes. Being outdoors can be extremely therapeutic for those in recovery, so if you’re stressed at work and only have 10 minutes to spare, take a walk around the block in the sunshine.
Taking time to relax each day will allow you to recharge so you’ll be focused and ready for anything that comes your way. Everyone is different when it comes to relaxing; some prefer to lounge on the couch and watch television, while others want to get out on the basketball court with some friends and let off some steam. However you prefer to relax, try to make time to do it every day.
Spend time with the people you love
Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s not about taking time away from the people you love to focus solely on yourself. It’s about making sure you are the best version of yourself so that you can do your job as spouse, parent, employee, and friend. Spending time with the people you love can help you stay motivated even when you’re tired or feeling low.
How you practice self-care is up to you. Whether you focus on reducing stress or finding ways to get fit so you’ll feel better about yourself, it’s important to make it a priority even when you have a busy schedule. Doing so will keep you happy and healthy for years to come.
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For 24 hour suicidal and prevention hotline support: 1-800-273-8255 www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
To reach Melissa, please visit her website here: http://stopsuicide.info/