Even with an abundance of information available about self-care practices, many people have misconceptions about self-care. In a culture where we value hard work and being on the run, we often neglect certain vital components of self-care that affect mental health. What does your self-care program look like and what are you doing to enhance your mental well-being?
Am I too stressed? You might be familiar with the concept that some stress is normal, or perhaps even beneficial. However, many of us are too stressed. Do you feel overwhelmed some days, or does anxiety keep you awake at night? Those are indicators it’s time to find ways to reduce stress and get a handle on your lifestyle. Thankfully, there are stress management tools you can plug into your days.
Am I too stressed?
When you feel stressed, think in terms of taking a moment to slow down, focus on deep breathing and practice mindfulness. It’s a great way to better manage stress since you can participate at any time, anywhere. You can also feel less stressed by simply getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods.
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The pressures of “stuff"
Are you feeling stressed because of your environment? Having too much clutter can actually be harmful to your mental health. Psychology Today explains that a cluttered environment can cause over-stimulation and anxiety, making it difficult to relax. Downsizing your belongings can clear clutter, literally, from your home and your mind, and reducing clutter doesn’t need to be expensive. Incorporate bins, baskets and wall storage where you can. Stores like Target or Walmart have an abundance of bins that can be purchased for relatively cheap. For example, you can find sturdy under bed bins for as little as $18.
If you have items you just can't part with or are undecided about, find an inexpensive self-storage unit where you can put things away until you are sure whether you’re ready to let them go. Depending on the size of your unit, you can get away with a fairly reasonable price. For example, the average price of a storage unit in the New York City area is $99.88.
Stress is no joke
Do you need to adjust your attitude about stress? Many of us joke about living on stress. It’s so ingrained in our society there are memes on social media about it, and sitcoms based on it. But stress is a serious matter. Stress can cause headaches, digestive issues, chest pains and moodiness. In fact, according to some studies, stress can be directly harmful to your mental well-being, causing anger issues, depression and anxiety, and eventually even damaging your brain function.
Relax and regroup
Finding ways to build relaxation into your daily life can boost your mental wellness. Make it a point to actually schedule some downtime in your days. You can slip it in at the beginning, middle or end of your day, but commit to keeping your “appointments.” Just five minutes here and there can help. Make it a rule to set boundaries, saying “no” to anything that could infringe upon your scheduled downtime.
Manhattan NYC Trainer Lisa Kocsis relaxes from city stress by reconnecting with Nature
Getting enough sleep is vital to your mental health. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, without sufficient slumber you are at increased risk for a negative outlook, depression, anxiety, and being emotionally vulnerable. Without enough sleep, you might struggle with normal daily pressures, and your ability to cope can be reduced.
Ensure you practice good sleep hygiene with some simple routines, such as scheduling your sleep times, ensuring your bedroom is comfortable, avoiding naps and large meals late in the day. Steer clear of using electronic devices right before bed as well, since the blue light emitted from phones, computers and televisions can cause you to become more alert.
Olympian Kierre Beckles has been known to enjoy cartoons to de-stress before a race
Taking control of self-care can be a boost to mental wellness. Get a handle on your stress levels, find ways to relax, de-clutter your home, and get sufficient sleep. You can be happier and healthier with these simple, straightforward strategies.
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