6 Mental Health Self-Care Tips to Try at Home
When the word “self-care” is mentioned, people think of someone relaxing in a hot tub with a face mask on, and cucumbers on their eyes to reduce puffiness. While this is definitely one way to practice self-care, did you know that there are other kinds of self-care strategies?
Researchers have defined self-care as “a multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well-being.” Acts of self-care do not just benefit physical health and appearance and make you feel good, but also promote enhanced mental, spiritual, and emotional health too.
In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health in the U.S. emphasizes that practicing self-care may help manage stress levels, boost energy, and reduce risk for illnesses.
If you have always wanted to practice self-care but do not know where to start, keep reading! Take note of the best self-care tips for mental health that you can practice even at home:
- Exercise if you can: Some experts have recommended that people get as much as 30 minutes of exercise to help improve mood and overall well-being. However, if you find it hard to work out or not as motivated to exercise that day, try walking in the park or in your neighborhood, too. The smallest or slightest of physical activity can make a difference.
If you were previously injured or have existing comorbidities though, just make sure to talk to your doctor or a physical therapist first before going all out in your workout. Some exercises may negatively impact your health, or cause new injuries or worsen old ones.
- Get seven to nine hours of sleep nightly: Researchers have highlighted that sleep is very important in maintaining various aspects of your well-being, mental health included. In fact, a lack of sleep has been linked to negative effects on physical and mental health and mood.
Strive to follow a consistent sleep schedule and lessen exposure to devices with blue light like phones, tablets, laptops, or desktops before sleeping.
- Follow a healthy diet: Eating food loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients like antioxidants may help nourish your brain and shield it from cell-damaging oxidative stress. Moreover, a healthy diet may help you feel more alert, think more clearly, and enhance concentration and attention span.
Eat fruits and vegetables (especially leafy greens), nuts, seeds, and legumes. Try to add good sources of healthy fats into your diet too, such as salmon, olive oil, coconut, and avocados. Do not forget to drink lots of water too and stay away from caffeinated beverages like coffee or soft drinks.
- Be kind to yourself: While it can be easier said than done, being kinder can help you feel better about yourself and even other people. Resist the urge to criticize yourself excessively.
- Practice gratitude: This is often included in various self-care mental health tips, and with good reason. Doing so may help remind you of “good things” in your life that come from external sources. Initial research has linked practicing gratitude towards happiness and other positive emotions.
Check out this quick guide to help jumpstart your journey from focusing on things around you to practicing gratitude.
- Communicate and stay connected: Whether it be friends or family, having someone you can talk to and trust is important since they may provide you with emotional support and help.
Self-care is not selfish. And part of it is recognizing when it is time to seek help. If you feel overwhelmed, overly anxious, or struggling to understand or deal with your current situation, talk to a mental health professional. Getting the help you need can help you understand yourself better and equip you to identify and deal with your emotions in a healthier manner. Feel free to talk to a mental health professional about these.
On a final note, do remember that these self-care tips for mental health are just some of the many ways you can improve mental health. There are lots more self-care strategies that you can practice that are not on this list.
Experts have emphasized that “self-care looks different for everyone.” Although it may take some trial and error to find the self-care strategy that works for you, it can be worth it in the long run.