Practicing self-care is essential to our mental well-being. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, self-care can help manage stress, lower the risk of illness, and increase energy levels. Self-care comes in all different forms and looks different for everyone. To create your own self-care plan, you need to determine your stressors and tailor your plan to what might alleviate the stress.
Reminding yourself each day of all the things you are thankful for is a great way to reduce stress. Write them in a journal and when you are feeling down, read the entries to be reminded of your blessings.
Prioritize Physical Health
When your body feels better, your mind will feel better. This includes making sure you’re getting enough exercise, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous, for some it might be walking 20-30 minutes a day. With sleep, it is a good practice to stick to a schedule and not have any blue light exposure from a phone or computer for at least 30 minutes before going to bed. The CDC recommends at least seven hours of sleep for adults.
Having a to-do list for the day is a great way to feel accomplished and contribute to mental well-being. Start out with little things you know you can accomplish and work up to bigger things. Being able to check something off a list can give you a great sense of accomplishment. Always focus on what you have completed during the day and not what you were unable to complete.
Take Time for Yourself
Set aside time at least once a week to do something that is just for you. Maybe that’s going on a walk to clear your head, reading your favorite book, or going to your favorite store. You should be your top priority because prioritizing yourself will do wonders for your mental well-being.
Start by picking one self-care practice and go from there. Once you get started, you won’t want to stop!
Kaitlyn Collins, Health Promotions and Wellness Intern
Missouri Southern State University