Boost Your Mental Well-Being with Self-Care

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When it comes to “me time,” many of us are missing the boat.  Some of the most beneficial self-care activities are simple, but they tend to fall by the wayside in our busy, on-the-run lives.  With a few smart strategies, you can incorporate self-care methods into your daily life and reap important benefits.

Keeping it real.  Lots of people are mistaken about self-care.  As NBC News points out, self-care is more than pampering and moments of luxury sprinkled into our lives.  It’s simple, basic maintenance that keeps us running soundly and smoothly and prevents our breaking down and burning out.

Feed your soul.  You’re probably familiar with the old expression “you are what you eat,” but did you know food can actually affect your outlook on life? In fact, it appears that without certain nutritional elements your mental health can suffer. Too little magnesium seems to cause depression and anxiety.  Without sufficient omega-3 fatty acids, we can drop into a low mood; experience reduced comprehension and lowered cognitive performance. Vitamin B and zinc seem to help treat anxiety and depression, and probiotics also appear to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Evidence is so strong there is a movement to use nutritional therapy to treat certain mental health conditions.  For best results, you should aim for a variety of good food to prevent boredom and increase the likelihood you’ll maintain healthy eating habits.  A fresh food delivery service can help maintain portion control and keep healthy eating convenient and interesting.

Sleep off stress.  Too often we discount the value of sleep.  Unfortunately, we tend to think of the time we spend snoozing as time “wasted,” but sleep is actually necessary for our mental and physical health.  As some experts note, reduced stress, improved creativity, a more positive outlook and improved memory are just a few potential benefits of sleep.  Getting enough slumber appears to even help you maintain a healthier weight.  If you struggle with insomnia, make it a point to set a bedtime and time to get up every day to help your body get into a rhythm. You should also try to keep your bedroom comfortable for sleeping.  

Work it out.  Most people are well aware that fitness is important to physical health.  However, did you realize exercising can be a key to good mental health as well?  Working out can improve your self-confidence, boost your mood, lower stress levels, alleviate anxiety, enhance your memory, and even fight cognitive decline.  If you’re new to exercising, Mayo Clinic suggests beginning your fitness program with clear, realistic goals, avoid overdoing it and set a schedule right from the start.  Mix things up with activities you enjoy so you look forward to your workout and consider getting a few pieces of home gym equipment for days when weather is bad or time is tight.

Downtime.  Taking time out to relax is another badly neglected area of self-care.  Make it a point to tend to the needs of your inner self, whether it’s reading a book, crafting or writing in a journal.  Enjoying downtime, creativity, and self-introspection can be especially helpful to your mental well-being.  For instance, making notes about your thoughts and experiences can help you process what you are feeling, and you can also go back and review your observations for further insights later.

It’s vital to tend your mental and emotional well-being, but many of us neglect some of the simplest of these self-care practices.  Eat a nutritious diet, get enough sleep, engage in physical activity and relish your downtime. Self-care doesn’t need to be complex, but it needs to be part of your lifestyle for good overall health.

About the Author: Brad Krause 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 well being. He created SelfCaring.info to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he finds on his self-care journey.