This is a guest post on 5 Simple Self-Care Practices by Brad Krause from SelfCaring.info. Brad is dedicated to helping people discover that we all have the potential to be the best versions of ourselves we can possibly be, but it comes down to prioritizing our own wellness through self-care.
When life gets busy, it can be hard to remember to take care of yourself. Many things can get in the way of putting yourself first, such as work commitments and time with friends and family. However, it’s important to practice self-care because if you don’t, your mental health can suffer. Here are some simple ways that you can improve your physical and mental health, so you can start living the best life possible.
- Get enough sleep
We spend about one-third of our life sleeping, so it’s no wonder it’s so important to our body and mind. If you’re not getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night, you’re putting additional stress on yourself, which can lead to a decline in your mental health. Sleep deprivation impairs our ability to think clearly and can cause excessive drowsiness, depression, anxiety, and other issues. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, try to follow a regular bedtime routine, even on the weekends. This will help regulate your internal body clock. It’s also a good idea to put your phone away an hour before you go to bed because the light can keep you up, especially when you look at it in bed. Avoiding caffeine during the day can also help you get a better night’s sleep.
- Take time to relax
When was the last time you actually relaxed, without worrying about things you have to get done? It’s important to give your brain a break every once and awhile. When you’re stressed, it can cause you a wide variety of health issues, including anxiety, depression, decrease in sexual desire, and headaches. Relaxation can decrease your blood pressure, relieve chronic pain, and improve your overall mood. Try sitting down and reading a book you enjoy or laying down on the couch and watching your favorite movie. Your body and mind will feel rejuvenated following relaxation, and your mental health will improve.
- Reduce stress
Do you feel like stress controls your life? It’s time to figure out some ways to reduce stress and improve yourself. Exercise is a great way to reduce everyday stress and clear your mind. This is because exercise releases endorphins in our body, which causes our “feel good” hormones to be released. Pay attention to what triggers your stress and re-prioritize or eliminate those situations. If you’ve tried different ways to relieve stress and it’s still a burden, it may be time to seek professional help. A therapist may be able to provide you the clarity you need.
- Pick up a new hobby
New hobbies are especially beneficial to someone who’s in addiction recovery. Trying out a new activity, such as yoga or meditation, can greatly improve your mental health and speed up your recovery. Yoga and meditation usually work hand in hand, but they can be practiced separately. Meditation allows you to focus on your breathing and staying present in the moment, while yoga allows you to melt your stress away by stretching and working out different muscles you normally wouldn’t exercise. Not only has yoga been proven to improve mental health, but it can also reduce depression.
- Say “no”
Whether you have a fear of missing out or you feel guilty declining a request for help, you have to realize that it’s okay to say “no” to things every once in a while. When you say “yes” every time someone asks you to grab a drink after work or each time someone needs a favor, you may start to wear yourself out. When you say “no,” make sure you use that time to relax. Treat yourself to a stress-free activity so that you can give your mind a break.
Now that you know of some ways to start putting yourself first, go ahead and give it a shot. Your body and mind will thank you, and you’ll improve your overall well-being.