Updated: May 17
It's been a while since I've posted here, but I needed to take a little break because I have been super busy and overwhelmed lately. I needed to focus on other business affairs and obligations, but most importantly, I needed to take some personal time for myself. Now that things have slowed down a little, and since it's Mental Health Awareness Month, I figured this would be a great opportunity to talk about the importance of self-care.
In case you didn't know, Mental Health Awareness Month is observed to help destigmatize mental health issues; it's also a time to increase awareness about the importance of taking care of your health and well-being. Catering to your self-care needs is the most important way to keep your mind and body healthy. When you think of self-care, you instantly think of face masks or a pampering massage. However, self-care is more than just self-indulgence. Self-care also means taking care of yourself to be healthy, better at work, and everything else in your daily life. Read on to learn more.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), self-care is "the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider."
There are 8 different types of self-care, including:
· Physical (sleep, exercise, healthy food)
· Emotional (stress management, forgiveness, kindness)
· Social (Communication, boundaries, asking for help)
· Spiritual (meditation, journaling, time alone)
· Personal (honoring your true self, hobbies, personal identity)
· Space (security and stability, safety, healthy living environment)
· Financial (money management, budgeting, paying bills)
· Work (work boundaries, time management, positive workplace)
How Does Self-Care Affect Your Mental Health?
Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being are part of our mental health and influence how we feel, think, and act. It also affects how we manage stress, interact with others, and make decisions. Mental health is crucial at all stages of life, including childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
Self-care is essential for your mental health, as it helps you manage stress, boosts your energy levels and reduces your risk of illness. Small everyday gestures of self-care can make a significant difference in your daily life.
Tips On How To Practice Self-Care
Practicing self-care is essential for taking care of your well-being and mental health. There are several ways to practice self-care, and it can be a combination of the different types of self-care. The following are a few tips on how you can practice self-care:
1. Get Enough Sleep
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is get enough sleep. Getting high-quality sleep helps your immune system fight illnesses, as parts of the immune system's response only happen while you're sleeping. According to research, sleep deprivation can leave us more susceptible to the impacts of stress, which can increase our reactions or emotional outbursts. Sleep is also required for the brain to function. Without adequate sleep, you will lose patience and focus, make bad decisions, and become moody, irritable, and emotional. I tend to have a habit of overworking myself, and sometimes I can work all day and throughout the night, often times trading sleep for completing tasks. I am learning that sleep is more important than having the extra time to get a few more things checked off of my list. So if this is you also, this is your sign to stop depleting yourself from sleep!
2. Stay Active
Staying active increases your sense of well-being by releasing endorphins, which are the hormones that make you feel good. Additionally, exercise helps with concentration and sleep. Physical activity reduces the frequency of mood disorders, boosts your energy, and improves general mood.
If you're in a slump and aren't feeling motivated to get a workout in, consider ramping things up and trying something new to what you're used to. Examples include joining a boot camp, attending a yoga or pilates class, or a running club. These will get you out of your comfort zone and moving again. Take your pods or earbuds with you and listen to your favorite workout music to keep you motivated!
3. Take a Long Bath to Unwind
You have likely often wondered why a bath could be so relaxing after a long stressful day. According to a 2018 study, a bath can decrease inflammation, and by having only one hot bath, you can reduce stress levels. Get yourself into self-care mode by unwinding in a hot bath with aromatherapy oils and light some candles, and you'll feel more relaxed than the minutes before! Dr. Teal's Melatonin Sleep Bath is a favorite of mine. I always feel so relaxed after taking a bath when I use it.
Incorporating various self-care types affects your mental health significantly and should be implemented into your daily life. Over time, you will see changes to your mental health, even if they are minor improvements. So read that book or go for that hike, and you will be on your journey to better self-care practices!
What are some of your favorite self-care activities? Feel free to share in the comments!