It is important to take care of our mental health through daily and weekly self-care. There are going to be times in life when we feel overwhelmed. Whether it’s impending deadlines, a long to-do list, or tension with a family member or friend, everyone experiences stress. The response to that stress is what impacts our mental health.

Having healthy practices that reduce stress and enhance our mental well-being can be done through self-care. If you are new to adding self-care to your routine, it can be difficult to know where and when to start. So, what is self-care? Self-care refers to activities and practices that you can regularly engage in to reduce stress and maintain your short- and long-term health and well-being. Below are some ways to incorporate self-care into your daily routines.

Practice gratitude.
Research has shown that consciously practicing gratitude can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Remind yourself of everything you’re thankful for rather than focusing on everything that has gone wrong.

Take a deep breath.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, a quick way to alleviate those feelings is by doing breathing exercises.

Write it out.
Writing down why you feel overwhelmed or anxious is another great way to alleviate those feelings.

Ask for help from your social support network.
Your social support network is there for you to lean on if you need to talk things through. Reach out to a friend for a virtual chat or pick up the phone and call a family member.

Practicing self-care strategies can not only provide immediate benefits, but also have a lasting, positive effect on your overall mental well-being. Next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed, try one of the self-care strategies listed above.

Amber Allen, MU Extension Field Specialist in Human Development & Family Science