By Guest Author – Brad Krause

In Search of Wellness | How Self-Care Boosts Mental Health

We all know that life today is non-stop. We work too long, yet we still want to maintain a social life. However, that can take a toll on our mental wellness. Self-care isn’t just bath bombs and indulgent coffees, it’s a necessity.

Eat Well
What we eat can have a big influence on how well we feel overall, mentally and physically. A healthy diet can be foundational to healthy habits. It helps us be restful at night, and gives us the energy to be physically active. The core of this diet will be vegetables and fruits. These will add plenty of color to your meals, and are sufficiently adaptable that you can add them to just about any dish. Be sure to eat regularly, avoid skipping meals and snack in between. Variety may help you to keep with your healthier habits, as the more choices you give yourself, the less likely you are to find it a boring chore. As part of this, really take the time to enjoy your meals. Don’t simply eat what is in front of you. Be mindful of your meals, savor each bite and allow yourself to process the sensations that come with eating.

Build Boundaries
Life gives us many responsibilities. More than ever, that fine line between life and work seems thinner at times. It can quickly take a toll on stress and good mental health. Counter this by building boundaries, and challenge yourself to follow them. Do you find yourself working at home beyond your set schedule? Are you answering emails, or working on a project that could be done during office hours? It is not tenable long-term and the best solution is to put a stop to overreaching yourself. Saying “no” is not always an easy thing to do, but it is a necessary one for our well-being. Some days, you may simply feel like disengaging. You may want to relax with a cup of tea, and curl up on the couch. If that is your desire, then that should be enough for you to stand firm. Commitments, such as going for brunch with a friend, do not have to be set in stone.

Slow It Down
Sometimes, keeping our lives healthy means scaling back our schedules. By freeing up even twenty minutes a day, we can take that time and invest it in ourselves. Developing a meditation practice is one fabulous way to lower stress levels and see to our mental health. Meditation does not take much, and you don’t need a complicated mantra to see a drastic difference in your relaxation levels. It could simply be taking a few minutes first thing in the morning, and last thing at night and focusing on taking deep breaths, in and out. However, nothing should be cutting into your sleep time. Not work, not socializing, not exercise, nothing. Lack of sleep affects every aspect of life, from how we manage our moods to how safely we drive on the road. Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night for maximum health.

Do The Things You Love
Relaxation can be an underrated tool for self-care. What we do to relax can vary widely from person to person. It comes down to this: If you don’t enjoy something, you won’t do it. This applies to eating healthily, to working out, and even relaxing at the end of the day. Therefore, it’s imperative we find things we enjoy to help us unwind, especially to get that good night of sleep. Experiment until you find what works best for you. You could try walking in the park to get outside, picking up a hobby like woodwork or knitting or even just reading a novel or magazine.
There may seem to be impediments standing in the way of us living healthily, yet those obstacles can be overcome. We must all invest in ourselves by taking time each and every single day to eat well, exercise, relax and get plenty of sleep. Find a routine that works best for you and embrace it. We all deserve to have good mental health.
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