Little Life-Changer: 6 Ways to Step Up Your Mental Health Self-Care
Stay happy and healthy with these self-care steps.
If any of your New Year’s resolutions involve your mental health, good on you. It’s easy to think about physical health and fitness as the main goals (it’s pretty hard to avoid!), but your emotional fitness is just as important. This year, we’re carving out more time to relax, unwind, and focus on staying happy. And we’re not going it alone. There are myriad products to help us stack the deck in our favor. Here are a few of our favorite ways to step up our mental health self-care.
Keeping a journal and committing to writing in it daily (even if it’s only for five minutes) has been proven to reduce stress, combat depression, and even decrease symptoms of physical ailments. Use it to write out your thoughts and feelings, jot down poems, keep track of your great ideas, organize your daily tasks to make them more manageable, or anything else you’d like. If you’re just starting out, we recommend making it either the first thing you do in the morning or the last thing at night. If it’s helpful, set a reminder on your phone with an alert.
We all know meditation is good for you. Even if you’re a beginner and haven’t quite gotten it down, just taking the time to attempt to meditate is a great way to unwind. Committing to a few minutes each day (even if it’s just five or 10 minutes) to sit quietly by yourself is a great first step. Focus on your breathing, and relax your shoulders. We love these LED candles, which feature eight soothing sounds and four light therapy programs.
“I regret working out,” said no one ever. There really is no end to the benefits of physical fitness. Have you ever heard of runner’s high? It’s a real thing. Exercise can put you in a good mood, and you don’t have to spend hours in the gym pumping iron. Body weight workouts at home, jogging, yoga classes, or a brisk walk will do the trick. Even parking your car a little farther away than you normally would will help you get those extra steps in!
Putting energy into something creative is a great way to spend your time, clear your head, and focus on something other than work, family, and the everyday stresses of life. Making art has been shown to reduce anxiety and even improve memory. Plus, it’s something that’s just for you. Write, try a new recipe, take a dance class—whatever speaks to you!
Take a Warm Bath
We know a shower is faster, but a bath is a great way to relax. Making time to do it regularly (even if it’s just once a month) can do wonders for your state of mind! Grab a book or a glass of wine, add your favorite salts or bubble bath, and enjoy the serene moment.
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Put Away the Devices
This one isn’t easy, but putting away devices is really helpful to your well-being. Commit to something, like no cell phones at dinner or no TV before bed (studies show this will also improve your quality of sleep). It doesn’t have to be a huge change. Use the time to read or explore a new hobby. You’ll be surprised at how much time (and sleep) you get back when you power down your devices for periods of time.