May is Mental Health Awareness Month!
Everyone has or has struggled with mental health. It’s an essential component towards our over health. At some point in our lives, we go through difficult moments that could lead to depression, anxiety, anger, and other feelings that won’t go away quickly. Everyone should know that there are effective treatments that can help us regain our mental health and wellness. Please understand that those who live and experienced mental health concerns have shown that wellness and recovery are possible.
Another thing to consider is that everyone has different lives with different needs and different schedules. With this in your mind, self-care does not look the same for everyone. It’s not just taking a bath, visiting a spa, or getting a massage. Some people are not into pampering, so there are other suggestions to include in their daily routine. During the difficult times occurring in your life and the world today, this would be beneficial to focus on yourself.
What is Self-Care?
The first thing I want to say to everyone is that SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH. Self-care is taking the time for yourself and placing your health and well-being first. You are important. Self-care is a technique that is foreign to everyone. This can especially be seen in adults and college students as they focus on spending most of their day putting others, school, or jobs first. Burnout is very prevalent in the work and education field. Everyone needs to know that your health and well-being shouldn’t be your last priority. It’s straightforward for stress to build up, not enjoying your job as much and how you want to quit everything overall. In the end, students and adults should care for their health and well-being just as they care about the health and happiness of their friends, families, and peers.
Self-care is any action that can be used to improve your health and well-being. It should be something that you enjoy, like painting, drawing, journaling, baking, etc. Self-care should be practiced daily and can last for how much time you want. Don’t think of it as a waste of time, but as something that can help improve your mood and the environment around you.
What are the benefits of practicing self-care?
Self-care is anything you can do to take care of yourself to help you stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well. Self-care benefits will help everyone reach better physical, mental and emotional health, and well-being. Research suggests that self-care techniques promote positive health outcomes such as:
- Fostering Resilience
- Living Longer
- Becoming More Equipped to Manage Stress
The 4 Key Dimensions of Self-Care
Here are some suggestions of ways you could include self-care into your daily routine:
- Going for a walk
- Listening to music
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating health food
- Creating or engaging in a hobby
- Learning something new
- Doing a digital detox
- Saying “No”
- Practicing self-compassion
- Setting firm boundaries
- Taking 10 to 20 minutes a day to decompress
- Joining social groups or communities
- Asking for help
- Meeting new people
- Visiting friends and family
- Seeking a support system at work
- Taking professional development classes
- Tidying up
Reflective Journaling Exercise (by Crisis and Trauma Resource Institute)
With these four dimensions of self-care and wellness in mind, consider your own self-care activities in these areas of life. How do you nourish your mind, body, heart, and spirit? How do you actively reduce and manage stress in both your personal and professional life?
- How do you feel when you are honouring your self-care needs?
- How do you recognize when you are neglecting your self-care needs?
- What’s calling to you for more attention?
- What self-care are you feeling proud of?
- What is one self-care action you would like to commit to doing today? This week? This month?
Your self-care matters! Allow it to be fun, guilt-free, enjoyable, and nourishing. You know what is best for you – give yourself permission to take time to fill your own cup so that you can make a difference from a place of vitality, well-being, and health. Your self-care benefits you and others too – it is a win-win!