6 Ways to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health Through Practicing Self-Care

Posted on Nov 27, 2018 in Natural Health

6 Ways to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health Through Practicing Self-Care

Too often is self-care mistaken for self-indulgence, but it is anything but. Self-care is necessary for your mental health. While it may seem selfish, you cannot take care of others or put in your best work if you are not taking care of yourself first. Prioritizing yourself has been proven to reduce stress, lessen anxiety, and decrease depression.

Check out six ways you can practice self-care below.

  1. Get Enough Sleep

You should be getting six to nine hours of sleep every night. While it’s easy to stay up later than you should, that next Netflix episode can wait. According to Health.com, the proper amount of sleep has a plethora of health benefits. It has been shown to improve memory, spur creativity, sharpen your attention, balance your metabolism, and lower stress.

If you have trouble getting to bed at a reasonable hour, try setting an alarm for when you should go to sleep just as you have one for when you need to wake up.

  1. Watch What You Eat

It’s no secret that a balanced diet is essential to your physical health, but sometimes, that’s something easier said than done. Unhealthy and processed foods may be easy to grab and eat on the go, but can make you feel awful and sluggish.

Making sure your diet is well rounded, filled with colorful fruits and vegetables, and loaded with lean proteins is great for both your mental and physical health. Try planning your meals ahead of time by meal prepping and only stocking healthy snacks in your house, and don’t forget to actually take time to pause your day to sit down when you eat.

  1. Get To Know Yourself

In a culture that encourages overscheduling, the idea of spending time with yourself can feel strange. However, it is incredibly beneficial and can help you manage stress. Taking a break from the stresses of everyday life gives you a chance to breathe, decompress, and check in with yourself.

Meditation and mindfulness are excellent ways to get comfortable with yourself and your thoughts. They can teach you how to recognize what your triggers are so that you can avoid them and how to manage your environment. Those recovering from addiction and substance abuse can especially benefit from these practices, which teach you to cope with negative feelings and can help prevent relapse.

  1. Hug a Furry Friend

Believe it or not, the very act of spending time with an animal can help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you’re a pet parent, be sure to make time to bond with your four-legged pal, because not only can the act of petting him soothe your worries, but the unconditional love he returns will also give you an immediate mood boost. If you don’t have a pet of your own, consider volunteering with a local shelter or a pet rescue organization to reap the same benefits for yourself and help a sweet animal in need find his forever home.

  1. Learn to Say No

It is okay to say no to things. You are not superhuman. Saying yes to too many extra tasks at work, committing to too many social events, and creating impossible to-do lists will not help anyone. In fact, Forbes lists the ability to say no as one of the self-care practices you should be doing daily. This is because trying to do everything will only cause stress that can lead to poor performance and burnout.

  1. Do Something You Enjoy

Life moves fast. To help keep it from getting too overwhelming, slow down and spend time doing an activity you enjoy. This can be anything that you enjoy — hitting the gym, journaling, walking in nature, reading, or spending time with friends and family. Do not be afraid to explore new hobbies, either. Do not feel guilty about deciding to indulge with a massage or take part in some retail therapy. You deserve to give yourself a break and treat yourself every now and then. Spending time on something you enjoy will allow you to decompress and lift your spirits.

You Deserve It

Putting yourself first is necessary for your health. It’s too easy to let your own needs fall by the wayside from the everyday stresses of life. Even just five to ten minutes of self-care a day can make all the difference. You will feel lighter, sharper, and healthier than ever before.

Brad Krause is the creator of Self Caring, which provides self care resources for people who can use some helpful advice to improve their lives.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

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