Looking after your mental health is just as important as looking after your physical health. But in the busy modern world, we often overlook making time for ourselves in favor of working excessively or committing ourselves to too many obligations at once.
Self-care involves prioritizing your needs, participating in hobbies and activities that make you happy, and having the courage to set boundaries, even when it’s difficult. Here’s how to prioritize your mental health by introducing more self-care into your life.
1. Do Things You Love
When we dedicate too much time to working or running errands, we don’t allow our nervous system to relax, resulting in chronic inflammation and stress.
Make sure you don’t overcommit to too many events, and instead, put time aside to do things you enjoy. Even committing to 10 minutes in the morning or evening of ‘you time’ can make a huge difference.
2. Say No
Sometimes, one of the biggest culprits of stress is over-committing ourselves to plans. And when people we love or respect ask us to attend events with them or run errands for them, it can be really difficult to say no, especially when you don’t want to let anybody down.
The problem is, these feelings of guilt and shame when we say no can turn us into people who find it hard to set and stick to boundaries.
But setting boundaries is non-negotiable when it comes to protecting your mental health. While you shouldn’t say ‘no’ to everything off the bat, picking and choosing how you spend your time helps you to avoid burnout.
Contrary to what you might believe, it can actually improve your relationships with other people, too. When you spend time with people because you want to, rather than you feel obliged to, you’ll have a better time and won’t feel resentful towards them.
3. Make Sleep a Priority
There’s a circular relationship between sleep and mental health. Not only can poor mental health worsen sleep problems, but a consistent lack of sufficient sleep can actually cause poor mental health, too.
Adults should have between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, so if you’re consistently getting less, you’re at increased risk of suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health difficulties.
With this in mind, prioritizing sleep is a must. Avoid caffeine after noon and create a night-time routine that allows your body to relax before you go to sleep. You’ll soon see an improvement in your overall well-being.
4. Focus on Positivity
While toxic positivity is something to be avoided, there’s nothing wrong with trying to look for the silver lining in situations to keep perspective.
Practicing gratitude is a great way to foster a more positive mindset. Keep a nightly or weekly list of everything you’re grateful for and read it regularly to keep your spirits up.
By implementing these tips as part of your daily routine, you can put preventative measures in place that support your mental health – even in times of crisis.