I am extremely passionate about mental health, and helping other people cultivate good mental health. I wanted to share with you a few self-care tips, that hopefully will help you on those days when you feel worse for wear, and hopefully you can make a habit out of some of them:
- DRINK WATER: I know we get told this all the time but it’s true! If you ever feel a little foggy in the head, or a little irritable, try having a glass of water. We need water to function properly; when we are properly hydrated, we have more mental clarity because our brains can function correctly. We should aim to get about 2 litres a day, but if all you can manage right now is 500ml, hey! that’s a start!
- EXERCISE: Again, how many times are we told this?! When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins that makes our bodies feel good. It’s sort of like a post-workout “high”, so if ever you feel a little bit down in the dumps, try to get some exercise in! It doesn’t have t be a monster 2 hour gym session – even a few minutes of exercise can do you some good. A little is better than nothing!
- EAT ENOUGH FOOD!!: Ever had one of those days where it’s gone 1pm and you still haven’t consumed anything apart from that cup of coffee at 9am? Yeah, me too, and it does not feel great. You feel irritable, miserable and downright unhappy! In fact, studies have shown that under-eating can cause anxiety-related symptoms such as heart palpitations, dizziness and headaches. So remember to eat a sufficient amount of calories if you want to ward off anxiety! This is especially important if you already have an anxiety diagnosis.
- SLEEP: We’ve all had nights when falling asleep feels like a mission! We’ve all had those nights where we alternate between tossing and turning, and checking the time to see how many hours of sleep you’ll get if you fall asleep within the next 10 minutes. Not sleeping enough can have a substantial effect on our mood, and our ability to function in our day-to-day life. Sleep helps consolidate our memories, and helps rejuvenate our cognitive faculties by giving them a well deserved break. Sleeping well can ward off depression and anxiety, and make you less irritable. Sufficient sleep also helps decrease your chances of developing heart problems.
- “TREAT YO SELF”: Yes, how VERY cliché of me. “#treatyoself” is probably up there with “#selfie” as one of the most tagged captions on instagram. It is good to treat yourself, as it is a form of self-compassion BUT this does not mean you should splash out unnecessarily every week because it’s good to “treat yo self”. Treating yourself can mean having a nice cup of tea at the end of a long day, cooking your favourite meal, watching your favourite TV show, hanging out with friends, reading a good book – it doesn’t have to be extravagant and costly!
- SOCIALIZE!: Socializing is so important for our mental well-being. We are social creatures, we feel good when we spend time with other people, even if at first we kinda didn’t wanna socialize (hello my fellow introverts!). We feel good when we have conversations with people, we feel good when we have spent the evening chatting and laughing with friends. It doesn’t have to be a huge “partying” thing – even picking up the phone and talking to your parents is good for you!
- MEDITATION: Meditation is great for those days where your head feels like it’s going to explode cause of all the things you have to do, the worries, and racing thoughts you have whizzing around your head. Even a five-minute meditation session centers you and reminds you to focus on the here and now instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. It’s good to on stressful days, but it’s also a good habit to get into – a bit of quiet “me time” that does wonders for your mental health.
- GET OUT IN NATURE: YES! Even just going for a brief walk outside will instantly give you a little more spring in your step! When we are inside too long, we might feel trapped, and shut off from the world. Going outside, being around things that are alive, and seeing the hustle and bustle of life helps us feel better by helping us feel more connected. Also, nature is beautiful, and letting yourself see some beauty is way better than staring at four walls all day!
There are many other things that I can think of, but for the most part, these are the tips that have the greatest effect on my mood, and these tips are probably the most accessible to everyone. Also, a lot of them are pretty simple! Enjoy!
Peace, love & gratitude!