Prioritize self-care in 2023
Mental health impacts every aspect of our lives, including how we think, feel, act, make choices, and relate to others. Everyday stress and activities can negatively impact mental health, making it harder to navigate day-to-day life while feeling well. Integrating regular self-care into your daily habits, however, can help build resilience and safeguard your mental health.
What is self-care?
Self-care – doing things that help you live well and improve your physical and mental health – is an often overlooked part of wellness. You may feel that you lack the time, energy, or finances for some stereotypical self-care options like regular manicures or a vacation. But we encourage you to re-frame what self-care looks like.
Self-care doesn’t have to be time-consuming, involved, or expensive. Any activity that helps you feel physically and mentally well can help support your mental health. Positive examples include:
- Get regular exercise. Just 30 minutes of walking can help boost your mood.
- Get adequate sleep. Limit device usage within the hour before bed and prioritize going to bed on time.
- Explore relaxation techniques. Utilize relaxation or wellness programs daily to help you feel more regulated and better able to handle unexpected stressors. Examples include meditation, muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises. Set an alarm to ensure you work these into your day.
- Set goals and priorities. Prioritize what you’ll get done each day and give yourself permission to say “no” when you’re taking on too much. Celebrate the small victories and accomplishments.
Proactive vs Reactive Self-Care
A common misconception is that self-care should only be prioritized when life is already tough – such as a glass of wine after a long day of work or a spa day after a stressful move. While those activities can be rewarding after a difficult time, self-care should be prioritized even when things are “good.” By making it a routine part of your life, you can help build resilience and improve your ability to physically and mentally navigate those difficult times as they happen.
Self-care in Action
The most effective type of self-care is one you’ll actually use regularly. Everyone’s version of self-care is unique, so don’t let the “most well-known methods” dictate your choices. Perhaps following a meal plan helps you feel less stressed and more prepared in the evening. Maybe eating your lunch outside in nice weather gives you a mid-day mental health boost. Your options are limitless – listen to your mental wellness meter and start with what works best for you.
If you need reminders to prioritize your mental health and self-care, consider utilizing an app like Mood Meter. By visually tracking your mental health throughout your day, you can identify patterns, make decisions to care for your mental health, and proactively address concerning patterns.
If you find yourself needing additional support, Foundation 2 Crisis Services is here for you and your loved ones. Our counselors are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Your call, text, or chat is free and confidential.