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Enhancing Your Mental Health with Self-Care Practices

July 1, 2019

 

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Mental healthcare isn't limited to seeking professional support. Although it's important to receive treatment for mental health problems, there are numerous steps you can take to support your general mental well-being every day. Self-care, the act of tending to one's own health and happiness, plays a vital role in mental wellness. To give yourself a happiness boost, take some time to incorporate these strategies into your daily routine.

 

Adopt a Beauty Routine

 

Our mental health is intricately woven with how we feel about ourselves. While it's important to develop a healthy body image, taking care of your appearance can give you greater confidence and self-esteem. This is why a daily beauty routine is a common self-care strategy. Exfoliation, moisturization, and sun protection will reward you with glowing, beautiful skin you can feel good in. Additionally, contouring is a great way to camouflage any imperfections you may feel self-conscious about while simultaneously highlighting your best features. If you want to give it a try, look to reviews on a variety of contouring kits before making a purchase. Consult a beauty expert or watch a couple YouTube tutorials for first-time contouring advice.

 

Drink More Water

 

Eating clean and drinking plenty of water should take center stage in any self-care routine. Drinking enough water, for example, works double-duty to improve your skin and keep your body operating at peak performance. Staying hydrated is essential for helping your body transport nutrients to your muscles and brain. Remember, even mild dehydration can significantly impact your cognitive performance!

 

Banish Depression with the Mediterranean Diet

 

When it comes to diet, stick to whole foods and limit your consumption of simple carbs. Evidence shows that people who eat diets high in vegetables, unprocessed grains, and healthy fats have a lower risk of depression. If you’re looking for a diet plan to follow, try the Mediterranean diet. This is praised as one of the healthiest diets in the world! According to the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, people show a decrease in depressive symptoms just three months after adopting the Mediterranean diet.

 

Exercise for Greater Well-being

 

Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to engage in physical activity every single day. Even a simple 20-minute walk has been found to improve mood! Exercise is incredibly good for the brain because it reduces cortisol levels, increases oxygen circulation for mental focus, and triggers the release of feel-good chemicals to help fight feelings of sadness or irritability. Try to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. If you spend the majority of your waking hours seated, Well+Good recommends bumping this up to 300 minutes.

 

Don’t Overlook Sleep

 

Sleep is one of the most overlooked aspects of self-care. If you’re feeling bad, take a look at your sleep schedule. Failing to get at least seven hours of sleep can contribute to depression, anxiety, and irritability. If you’re getting enough sleep but still waking up tired, you may have a sleep disorder. Talk to your doctor about your concerns so you can receive treatment immediately.

 

Relax in the Evenings with a Regular Routine

 

People with fast-paced lives often struggle with night-time stress. Of course, this makes going to sleep at night nearly impossible. Try to adopt a relaxing evening routine to help shut off your racing mind. Drink a cup of calming tea, read a book, take a bath, do yoga, or try meditation — develop a bedtime routine that feels right to you. Yoga and meditation, in particular, are excellent self-care activities for mental health. A large body of research has found that meditation can help reduce stress and control anxiety. Importantly, don’t exercise or try to get work done too close to your bedtime. These activities are far too stimulating for your body and mind.

 

Self-care is all about doing what feels good to you. While this doesn't necessarily mean binge-watching Netflix or snacking on unhealthy treats, a little self-indulgence is important in any self-care routine. Give yourself permission to relax once in a while. Most importantly, don't feel guilty about caring for yourself! In the end, practicing self-care will help you preserve your capacity to care for others.

 

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