Simple self-care ideas for those struggling with their mental health.
Making a few small changes to your lifestyle can lead to big changes in your mental and physical health. Especially if you are someone who struggles with mental health issues such as depression, stress, or anxiety, adopting a few positive and healthy daily habits can go a long way.
It is to be noted that self-care habits or little changes in your lifestyle can be beneficial for anyone who wants to prioritize and maintain their mental health. Let’s take a look at some important self-care habits that you can adopt to help nourish your mental health.
Mindfulness and Self-Awareness
An important first step in prioritizing your mental health is to take time to self-reflect. One simple way to incorporate self-reflection into your daily routine is to keep a daily diary where you can reflect upon your feelings. By developing this personal insight, you can notice what situations trigger certain emotions and how you might be able to reframe these thoughts.
Similarly, mindfulness is another great self-care habit. Mindfulness doesn’t only nourish your mental health but also makes you more present and self-aware. Mindfulness practice includes reflecting on the present moment and paying attention to your current feelings, thoughts, sensations, all while adopting an attitude of acceptance. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness has been linked to lowering stress, improving memory and decreasing depression.
Put Energy Into Your Social Life
Sometimes, when we are depressed or suffering from anxiety, reaching out to a friend or loved one can be quite beneficial. Surrounding yourself with positive people can in turn help you feel more positive. Remember to make time in your schedule to spend time with your loved ones. A quick coffee date or phone call with a friend can shift your entire mood.
Exercise is not only great for your physical health but can also be a great mood booster. Studies have even shown that in some people, exercise can work as well as antidepressants. High intensity exercise releases endorphins, a chemical the body makes, and results in feelings of euphoria. However, low-intensity exercise sustained over time is even more beneficial for those struggling with their mental health. This kind of activity “spurs the release of proteins called neurotrophic or growth factors, which cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections. The improvement in brain function makes you feel better” - Dr. Miller, Health Harvard.
You can start incorporating exercise into your daily routine slowly and may be as simple as going for a walk in nature. Find an activity you enjoy such as running, yoga, weight-lifting or even rock climbing. As you start incorporating exercise into your life, you should start also noticing the mental health benefits.
Recognizing When You May Need More Support
By adopting some of these little lifestyle changes, you might see your mood shift. However, you may also need additional support. It’s important to recognize when it may be time to reach out to a therapist or physician for help. There is nothing wrong with needing help. Therapy and medication management works for many people who struggle with their mental health.
When it comes to medication management it is also important to recognize that not everyone responds to the same medications. This is due largely to the role of genetics in medication metabolism. Over 99% of individuals carry some genetic variants that impact their response to medications. If you are considering starting a medication to help manage your mental health symptoms, consider speaking to your physician about pharmacogenetic testing. Empower yourself to actively participate in your healthcare to ensure you get a treatment plan that is tailored just for you, so you can start feeling better.