If you’re among the more than 8 million Americans suffering from the psychological effects of stress, it’s possible you’re not taking the need for self-care seriously enough. That’s not surprising given the number of people who deal with mental and emotional problems like depression and anxiety every day, so the statistics would seem to indicate that millions of Americans could benefit from a better understanding of self-care.
The truth is there’s nothing really difficult about the concept – it’s simply a matter of paying attention to good health habits you’ve been hearing about since grade school. The fact that you learned about them as a kid doesn’t mean they aren’t still important. Here are a few reminders.
Get plenty of rest
Sleep may not seem like a mental health practice, but it’s actually one of the most important. Sleep has a profound impact on your mental and physical health, and has a great deal to do with whether or not you’re feeling good, whether you’re able to concentrate during the day, and whether you feel motivated and optimistic about things in general. It’s also important to your immune system and your body’s ability to fend off illness and disease, and has a regulatory effect on the metabolism, which impacts your heart rate and weight level. It’s not surprising that people who get from 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night tend to be healthier and happier than those who don’t.
Create your own environment
Maintaining a positive outlook is key to your attitude, and it’s pretty evident when you’re unhappy and stressed out. Look around you. Is your home a place where you feel comfortable? Is it a haven, a place where you can rest and relax and just forget about work, or do you find yourself sitting around worrying about things like staff meetings and performance assessments?
If it’s the latter, make a point of turning your study, den, or home office into a place where you feel comfortable and secure. Invest in a few houseplants, repaint with soft, soothing colors, and play relaxing music – anything that alleviates stress and anxiety is a positive.
Studies have shown that a cluttered living space contributes to stress and a sense that you’re not in control of your own living space. Take some time to get rid of the clutter, organize your space, and create a home that’s conducive to relaxation, a refuge where calm and emotional well-being come easily.
Spend some ‘you’ time
You’ve heard people say that they need to recharge their batteries. It’s a reference to the need everyone has to relax and just do something they enjoy for a change, especially when life gets hectic, and the stresses of job and family get to be overwhelming. There are times you feel as though your life doesn’t belong to you – that’s when you need to go for a long walk, spend some time at the gym, or enjoy a little well-deserved “retail therapy” at the local mall. The simple pleasures of relaxation are important enough that everyone should make time for them at least once a week.
It’s admirable to want to help others and give of your own time, but it can be easy to overdo it. Learning to say “no” is very difficult for some people, but it’s necessary, because you need time to devote to your own mental health. Saying “no” means you’re taking charge of your life and recognizing the importance of your needs.
It’s important to understand the relationship between sleep, relaxation, a healthy diet and your mental health. Feeling good physically makes you feel good emotionally, and equips you to succeed at work and in your personal life.
Courtesy of Pixabay.com.