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Millions of Americans struggle every day with mental health issues, from depression and anxiety to disorders that haven’t been diagnosed. With these issues can come difficulty focusing on work or school, problems within relationships, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide, making it extremely important to find healthy ways to boost emotional and mental wellness.
Practicing self-care is crucial to mental wellness, and the wonderful thing about it is that it can be tailored to fit anyone’s needs. Self-care is about figuring out the best way to make yourself feel happy and stress-free, and when partnered with practices like daily exercise and eating well, it can help you get back on track and be ready to tackle anything that comes your way.
Here are a few of the best ways to benefit from self-care.
Come up with a mental health plan
A mental health plan will address your immediate needs while keeping in mind any needs you may have in the future. This means you’ll need to think about the best ways to relax and learn to cope with stress and anxiety in the moment, and figure out a daily schedule that will keep you on track. It’s crucial to come up with a mental health plan for when you’re at home and when you’re at work since the workplace is a huge contributor to Americans’ out-of-control stress levels. While it’s easy to turn to unhealthy coping strategies to deal with your workload, such as sneaking a cigarette or having a cocktail on your lunch break, it’s best to replace these practices with coping techniques that are actually good for you. For example, you can try stepping away from your phone and computer for a 10-minute mindfulness meditation, go for a quick jaunt around the outside of your building, or even just put on a smile, which naturally triggers feel-good chemicals in your brain.
If you work long hours, consider cutting back or asking for help. If this isn’t possible at work, make your time at home as relaxing as possible by having other family members contribute to completing chores, and making a pact with yourself not to bring the office home with you.
Do something you love
Even if you love your job, there still may be things you just can’t get from it, such as creative fulfillment. Finding a hobby or a way to express yourself creatively can help you learn to relax and can bring you satisfaction, which can, in turn, boost confidence and self-worth. For example, if you’ve ever wanted to express yourself through visual arts, pick up a paintbrush and learn how to work in oils. Always wanted to try your hand at playing an instrument? Consider woodwinds such as clarinets or saxophones, both of which are great for beginners. In addition to giving you a creative outlet, these activities are wonderful ways to keep your mental health on track.
Get enough rest
Getting adequate rest is a huge part of taking good care of yourself, and if you lead a busy lifestyle or have many responsibilities, this can be difficult. Set a goal to sleep at least seven hours per night, and start a bedtime routine that will help you relax and wind down so that falling asleep is easier. You may be surprised at how many things will change for the better once you get enough rest.
Of course, it’s not just about the quantity of rest you’re getting. The quality of your sleep is important too. If you’re tossing and turning, waking frequently, or experiencing neck or back pain overnight or first thing in the morning, you may need a new mattress. Before you make a purchase, be sure to research the lifespans of different mattress types.
Learn how to say ‘no’
It’s true that many of us want to please others, especially when it comes to our friends and loved ones. It can be hard to say no to someone who needs help, but giving too much of yourself to everyone can lead to burnout pretty quickly. Learn how to say no when you can’t take on any more responsibilities or engagements, and you’ll reduce your stress.
Practicing self-care can help you in various ways, but it’s essential to create a plan before making any decisions or starting any new routines. Talk to your doctor, especially if you have prior health issues, before beginning a new exercise or diet regimen.