All you have to do is say “2020” and it will easily cause some sort of anxiety for most of us. From the isolation and economic upheaval of Covid-19, racial tensions and protests, to distance learning and natural disasters striking many areas of the country (and don’t forget the murder hornets), it makes sense that we are seeing a rise in anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. As we begin National Suicide Prevention Week, looking inward and taking care of “you” has never been more important. Because self-care is the practice of caring for your physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing, it shouldn’t be surprising that it has an effect on your mental health. Here are five self-care ideas that can make a difference in your mental health and a few tips on how to incorporate them into your life
1. Learn to Meditate
The goal of self-care is to give yourself the attention you deserve. For some giving themselves permission to care for themselves is a challenge within itself. If this sounds familiar, start by learning how to meditate. Even if you only have a small amount of time, just the act of closing your eyes, taking a quick mental survey of your body by breathing deeply, and releasing tension as you feel it can make a huge difference. Regulate your breathing, check your posture, and make adjustments. It’s something you can do almost anywhere, and you’ll be amazed at the inner peace that results when you just stop and breathe.
2. Exercise + Eat Right
We know you know this. Eating right is important, but for those feeling anxious or depressed, sometimes eating at all is a challenge. Eating high-quality foods that contain vitamins and minerals will nourish the brain and protect it from oxidative stress. Exercise also plays an important role in your mental health. Studies show regular workouts (even something as simple as walking 30 minutes every day) can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD. A natural mood booster and sleep aid, people that exercise frequently tend to feel an increased sense of well-being.
3. Talk It Out
That’s right, talking is a good thing. Find time to talk to a professional or a trusted friend. Isolation feeds anxiety so don’t try and go it alone. Writing things down is also a proven method of combating mental health issues. Journaling helps improve our mindset, boost our mood, enhance our feeling of well-being, and can provide calming feelings before a high-stress situation.
4. Pamper Yourself
With more time at home, it’s a perfect time to pamper yourself and up your skincare routine. You might be surprised how focusing on keeping your skin healthy and vibrant can make all the difference even when you are SIP. And don’t underestimate the power of switching your skincare products (and other household products) to those with all-natural ingredients. Doing something for yourself can also feel good, especially if you are doing something healthy for you, your family, and the environment.
One of the best ways to care for your skin (and yourself too)? Sleep. Lack of sleep and mental health issues are closely connected, so go to bed earlier and turn off that screen.
5. Give Back
Sometimes the best form of self-care is to care for someone else. Many studies show giving back and other forms of generosity positively impacts an individual’s health both mentally and physically. Donating time, money, or even performing random acts of kindness can help you feel an immediate surge of happiness, boost your overall life satisfaction, overtime decrease depression symptoms, decrease your blood pressure, and even help you live longer. Feeling generous now? In honor of National Suicide Prevention Week, how about starting with giving back to some charities that support suicide prevention.