When it comes to self-care, you can find all sorts of information, but not all of it is helpful. You might get the impression you need to start setting aside more of your day for a whole new routine, or else you aren’t going to have time to do all you should be doing. The reality is self-care should be a comforting part of your lifestyle, helping you feel better and not creating more stress or straining your schedule. Here’s how that can work.
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Spend Time Chilling Out
Do you set aside time regularly to just relax? Psychology Today explains that taking a break from the daily rigamarole is an important investment in your mental health. It’s a chance to recharge your inner being, and it doesn’t much matter what activity you choose to savor, so long as you ensure you get routine “me time.”
Consider journaling, reading a book, or watching tv, and ensure your special activity is available to you when you have time. You might need to cart your journal or book along to the hair salon or for lunch breaks, or watch tv after the kiddos go to bed. Carve out time, and if your budget is limited, consider a streaming device, a portable way to snag your favorite shows. Research and compare various options to help you choose the best model for your TV and wallet.
If You Don’t Snooze, You Lose
Sleep often gets a bum rap, as it’s associated with being lazy, or simply not accomplishing anything valuable. In fact, sleep appears to be especially useful. According to Tuck, when people don’t get sufficient sleep, it can lead to an increased risk of declining mental health. People who lack quality sleep are more apt to suffer with issues such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, eating disorders, and substance abuse. At the same time, people with mental illnesses are frequently troubled with insomnia. This can lead to an unfortunate snowball effect.
Protecting your time snoozing is a protection for your mental wellness, so look for ways to enhance your sleep quality. Avoid caffeine late in the day, skip naps, and set firm times for bed and rising in the morning. Spend some time in bright light during the day to encourage your body’s natural rhythms, and cut down on screen time before turning in at night, since the blue light from electronics could make you feel more awake.
Stretch Your Legs
We often think of exercise as something that benefits our physical bodies, but Mental Health America notes it also offers important mental health benefits. A routine workout can lower your risk for issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. It helps release feel-good chemistry in your brain, as well as a protein that helps protect nerve cells in your brain. It also releases chemicals that can help you process information, think more clearly, and regulate your emotions.
You don’t need to exercise for long periods of time, as just ten minutes of moderate to vigorous activity three times a day, five days a week is enough. You can join a fitness center or set up a home gym for your convenience.
For those new to exercise, a brisk walk, dancing, or swimming can be ideal, gradually improving your endurance and flexibility, while being easy on your joints. Include some strength-building exercises a couple days per week as well. Resistance band exercises or body weight training are worth considering. Gentle yoga can be the best of both worlds, boosting endurance and flexibility while simultaneously building strength.
Self-care should benefit your mental well-being and not add stress to your lifestyle. Ensure you spend time relaxing regularly, get enough sleep, and snag ten minutes of exercise here and there. With these simple changes, you can enjoy better wellness and improved quality of life.