Western societies have evolved over the past few decades in the area of recognising the importance of mental health – which is a good thing! Today, instead of me talking about it, we have guest contributor Zack Spring from Travel Fit, who has contributed a popular article on this blog late last year. Here goes:
“The way we treat ourselves directly affects our state of mind. It influences the way we relate to people around us and the relationships we have with family and friends. Healthyplace.com states that self-care is essential to maintaining “a healthy relationship with yourself.” In other words, self-care can also be called self-love. It promotes positivity and nurtures self-esteem and self-confidence.
Since taking time for yourself is a crucial part of growing into a healthy human being, everyone should make it a goal to care for themselves so they can enjoy a better quality of life. But how can you practice self-care? Read on for some quick tips to nurture your mental health.
Getting Enough Shut-Eye
If you want to enjoy improved mental health, catch your Zzz’s! Some people think it’s OK to survive on four or five hours of sleep each night, but the truth is that people who miss even one or two nights of quality sleep experience fatigue and irritability. They also have a greater chance of suffering from depression and anxiety.
If you’re practicing healthy sleep hygiene but still find yourself groggy every day, your mattress and bedding could be the culprits, and it may be time to invest in something new. Look for a mattress that complements your sleep style. Are you a side sleeper? Memory foam will evenly distribute your body weight and help you sleep soundly. Do you suffer from chronic back pain? Look for a medium-firm to firm model that will support your spine. Similarly, if you wake up sweating in the middle of the night, there are cool sheets available.
Self-care involves knowing when to say “no.” Maybe a friend asks you to bake five dozen cupcakes for the school bake sale, but there’s mandatory overtime at work. Learning to say no in a firm but polite manner will reduce stress and help you to avoid taking on more than you can handle.
When you want to boost your mental health through self-care, discover which hobbies and activities you most enjoy. Then, make time for them. If you enjoy reading, take 15 to 30 minutes out of your day to read the latest mystery novel or bestselling self-help book. Try waking up an hour before everyone else in your home to read, or wait until everyone is in bed for the night before cuddling up with a good book. If you work full time, read a few chapters during your lunch break. Do you take your kids to soccer or dance class? Instead of sitting around bored, devour that book you’ve had on your must-read list.
Maybe you love watching old movies or walking
in the park, or maybe you used to go ice skating when you were a kid and would
love to pick it back up again. No matter what your passion, make time to pursue
Deeply and Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness means being aware of your emotions as well as the here and now. You can practice mindfulness by pausing for a few moments to take deep breaths. Deep breathing exercises enable you to recharge your mind and calm yourself, even during stressful moments, and squeezing in even short meditation sessions can help you learn how to pay attention to your breathwork even when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Consider carving out a tranquil space in your home (or even your office) that allows natural sunlight to shine in and has a nature-inspired element or two, and practice a guided mindfulness meditation when your stress starts to build. Taking the time for mindfulness enables you to provide your mind and body with the relaxation it requires to face each challenge that comes your way.
When you take care of yourself physically, you also care for your mental health. In fact, the Mental Health Foundation reports that “poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems.” But engaging in regular physical activity leads to a boost in endorphins, chemicals produced in the brain that help you feel happy. Riding a bike, taking a brisk walk around the block, going to the fitness center to work out, or engaging in any other type of physical activity can decrease depression and improve your overall health.
Have you ever heard the expression, “You are what you eat?” Eating junk food contributes to depression and decreased brain function. A diet that primarily consists of fruits, vegetables, fish and legumes boosts your mood and aids your ability to focus.
We live in a stressful world. Working long
hours, taking care of our family, and coping with the day-to-day anxieties we
all face can damage our mental health if we’re not careful. It’s easy to become
overwhelmed with life’s responsibilities, but if we carve out time for
self-care by pursuing our passions, eating right, exercising, getting enough
sleep and practicing mindfulness, we will strengthen our mental health and set
the stage for a happier life.”
Mark is an all-rounded guy with dreams, aspirations, and a desire to be a better version of himself. Having conquered obesity, he set-up Granite Fitness to help regular people get in shape and stay healthy. As of 2023, Mark spends his days as a People and Culture Manager. He holds three science degrees, a Diploma of Christian counselling, a Diploma of Human Resources, and a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety. Connect with Mark @ http://au.linkedin.com/in/marksptan