“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” — Oprah Winfrey
Okay, all my mental health warriors, let’s talk about self-care and how it affects every one of us.
The concept of self-care is vast. It’s not super specific and that’s because it varies from person to person. But let’s be clear, at its core, self-care means taking care of yourself mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
For some people that means getting a massage. For other people, that can mean taking a walk in the park. But what I try and focus on is the basic, most boring form of self-care. And that is just what you do to fill our cup and get you through the day and sometimes what keeps you surviving. Finding a self-care routine that works for you is super important when maintaining your mental health.
Self-care and your overall lifestyle can make or break your mental and physical health. It may also prevent problems from developing or getting worse. I cannot stress enough how important self-care is for building up the ability to overcome stressors in your life that you can’t just eliminate. Many of these basic self-care techniques involve basic concepts that can be easily neglected.
During the past two years of the pandemic, a lot of people’s mental health suffered. This means that now, more than ever before, it is of the utmost importance to place your mental health first.
I promise you that if you put your mental health first, you are not being self-indulgent or selfish. You are simply looking out for yourself so that you can function from a cup filled with mental wellness. This will allow you to show up in your relationships, care for yourself better, take on fun activities, and yes, even go to work. You will have a much better chance of doing all the things you want and need to accomplish in your day — and chances are you’ll do it even better.
In a world that expects individuals to always be productive, how can we maintain that level of productivity? And the real question is, is it possible to maintain that level of work ethic without self-care? I would argue it’s 100% impossible to do. Hello, capitalism?
I know for most people, there is a strong feeling of being “too busy” to practice self-care. This almost always results in burnout, depression, resentment, anxiety, and several other negative outcomes. I hate making guarantees, but I’m willing to guarantee that you taking time for yourself will help clear your mind and reduce the negative consequences you’re already experiencing.
Let’s Talk About the Benefits to Self-Care (as if we haven’t already…).
There are so many benefits to practicing self-care. Some examples are better sleep, improved focus, healthier relationships, better-managed stress, a stronger immune system, an increase in self-compassion, boosted confidence, and better self-esteem.
I’m going to give you 5 examples of self-care that can help refuel you on any given day:
Take up a hobby or sport you always wanted to do. Maybe something artistic? Maybe try a science experiment you find online.
Focus on your breath. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take a few minutes to just breathe. Focus on the in and then the out-breath. This helps calm the nervous system as well as refresh you.
At the end of every day, write down three (or five, ten, or 100) things you feel grateful for.
Drink enough water every day.
Sleep well. Try going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
It is so very important to make sure you’re taking care of your physical and mental health. Self-care in 2022 is more important than ever. Never feel guilty taking time for yourself. You are worth it.
*This article was originally published on Medium