Practicing Self-Care to Improve Your Mental Health

Work, family, finances, and other parts of your life can become overwhelming at times if you don’t take time out for self-care. This type of prolonged stress can negatively impact your mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, irritability, sleep problems, social isolation, and a number of other issues. Many of us don’t take time to care for ourselves as much as we should. 

Practicing self-care enriches your coping skills, energy levels, and an overall sense of well-being. At Pittsburgh Young Professionals, we fully understand what it means to be career-driven and the importance of growing our networks; however, we also know that it’s hard to make any of this happen when we leave our self-care efforts behind. To add much-needed self-care to your life, we offer the following strategies. 

Healthy Habits

Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity can help eliminate stress because exercise increases endorphin production in the brain. Endorphins are neurochemicals that boost your mood and general feeling of well-being. If you exercise regularly, you’ll find yourself feeling less stressed out, as well as more confident and focused. 

If you can’t get motivated to start working out, try using a fitness tracker. You don’t have to spend an entire paycheck on the latest, greatest, but you should look for one with features that inspire you. If you are interested in your pulse, for example, make sure the one you buy has a heart rate monitor. Similarly, when you count calories, look for a model that shows how many you’ve burned during your workout.

Eat right

When busy and stressed, many of us skip meals or eat on the run. Make a conscious effort to feed your body properly, which in turn feeds your mind. According to Psychology Today, a diet rich in fatty fish, leafy greens, whole grains, and lean proteins can boost cognitive function and reduce symptoms of some mental health disorders. 

If you’re eating well and still feel fatigued, you may be lacking important nutrients or vitamins in your diet. To ensure you break out of your slump, make a point to incorporate energy-boosting vitamins like B-12 and Iron or supplements like Ashwagandha or Citrulline.

Sleep well

Insomnia and sleep deprivation are linked to ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. Harvard Health Publishing explains this works in both directions as these conditions can lead to and also be exacerbated by a lack of sleep. Avoid caffeine, electronics, and exercise in the evening, which can all keep you up at night. Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature and free of distractions to try to improve both sleep quality and quantity.

Meditate

Another healthy habit that can greatly improve your mental and physical health is learning how to meditate. While this might sound like a New Age fad, meditation has been around virtually since the dawn of time. It might feel weird at first, but forcing yourself to slow down and experience your mind and body can help you control both. Make a meditation room in your own home by finding a quiet spot and outfitting it with a few simple pieces of decor that make you feel at ease. It’s not necessary, but you might also plug in a smart speaker so that you can play soothing instrumentals to help you focus.

Time Management

Schedule downtime

Always make time for downtime to allow yourself to relax and decompress. It’s not selfish to take time out for yourself. You can’t be a help to others if you aren’t healthy yourself. Do something that helps you relax, whether that means meditating, reading a book, or binge-watching your favorite shows.

Say “No”

The pressure to attend every social event, volunteer for every cause, and take on extra projects at work is tremendous. However, for your own mental health, you should say “No” when someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, or don’t have the capacity or time to do. Don’t feel guilty about turning down things. Guilt is just another negative feeling that can affect your mental health.

Emotional Validation

Build a support system

Everyone needs at least one close confidante they can trust. Having a good support system around you when you are stressed is essential. You don’t need someone who can solve your problems as much as you need someone who will spend time with you, listen to you vent, and love you unconditionally.

Journal about your feelings

For many people, writing down their feelings and experiences can be very beneficial for their mental well-being.Keeping a journal about your daily life can help you identify stressors, get in touch with your feelings, and release negative emotions. Choose something inspirational that you look forward to using every day.

Ask for help

Making lifestyle changes can make a big difference for some people when it comes to reducing stress and improving mental health. However, for others, emotional and mental issues persist. When you need help, reach out to a professional. A psychologist or other therapist can help you develop a plan to reinforce your self-care habits and also provide further treatment that you need.

Although you can’t remove every worry or stress in your life, you can manage your mental health. By practicing self-care you can reduce your stress levels and improve both your physical and mental health, which makes it easier to stick to your career goals both now and for the long-term. Take steps to take better care of yourself, because you’re worth it!

Authored by Brad Krause. After spending most of his time in a corporate setting and neglecting his own self-care far too long, Brad embraced his calling and decided to become a full-time life coach. He now spends the rest of his life helping people get a better foothold on their wellness above all else.filed under: Press Release

Tags: emotional well beinghealthy habitspositiveself careself help

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