Self-care could be as easy as a walk through a beautiful place!
Mental Health Monday

Mental Health Monday: Self-Care and What It Means

Self-care has become a buzzword and it’s something we see mentioned all the time.  Often we conjure up images of people wrapped up in bathrobes with crazy eye masks.  I do believe, however, that there is a much deeper meaning to self-care.  There are things we can do to greatly improve our quality of life that don’t involve giving in to advertisements for things that promise to make us feel better. Below, I discuss the underlying reasons for practicing self-care and the activities you can do toward that end.

Why is Self-Care Important?

I think people often confuse self-care with overindulgence.  That’s an easy mix-up to fall pray to since society and the media condition us to believe we must spend money and surround ourselves with things in order to feel better.  Do you really have to buy those expensive eye masks though?  The answer is no.  Instead, let’s focus on why self-care should matter to us.

It helps us in evaluating our self-worth.

Self-care helps us love ourselves by producing positive feelings and boosting confidence as well as self-esteem.  We can also use this as an opportunity to remind ourselves and others that our needs matter.

It can bring us closer to work-life balance.

Overworking can cause you to become exhausted, unproductive, and disorganized.  It can also lead to health problems like anxiety, depression, insomnia, and heart disease.  Self-care in the professional world can help us set boundaries and stay motivated.

It can help us manage stress and live a healthier life.

Constant stress will have an adverse effect on physical and mental health.  Smart self-care habits like eating healthy and getting adequate sleep can help combat the side effects of this stress.

What Can Someone Do?

Below is a list of self-care habits that you can implement at any time.  I promise none of them include buying fancy face masks or massages.

  1. Go for a walk or light jog. Basically, get some leisurely exercise in.
  2. Take a break when you need to.
  3. Learn to say “no”. Don’t take on more than you need to just because you feel pressure from others.
  4. Be choosey about who you spend your time with. Some people can lift your spirits and make you feel good.  Others will suck your energy and leave you feeling drained.
  5. Start a journal. Have a place to express yourself without feeling judged.
  6. Eat your colors (a variety of fruits and vegetables), and try to eat green at least once a day. Avoid emotional eating.
  7. Laugh at least once a day.

This article was inspired by an article by Forbes on self-care.  I dedicate Monday posts to mental health issues such as dealing with overcommitment and holding your friends to a high standard.  It is my hope that these stories and suggestions can help people who might be facing similar experiences.