You Can Be Happier and Mentally Healthier by Embracing Better Self-Care Practices
Self-care is misunderstood by many people. It’s more than indulging in an occasional “little something” that makes you feel good, like a fresh pedicure or a good massage. Self-care involves the choices you make on a daily basis that help you stay healthy. It’s important for your mental well-being to engage in good self-care practices.
Paring down. Is your home tidy, or does it feel haphazard and disorganized? Being surrounded by clutter can make you feel like your life is out of control. In fact, Prevention explains seeing your house cluttered can escalate stress and anxiety levels. If you find your home is not presentable or you can’t relax because of all the “stuff” around you, those are indicators you need to do some sorting, purging, and possibly even downsizing. Throw out, donate, sell, or give away the things that need to go. Remember: clearing away clutter will clear your home and your mind.
If you have items you’re on the fence about rehoming but lack out of sight storage space at home, consider relocating them to a self-storage unit. By doing so, you can stash the items until you’re ready to decide whether to keep them or let them go. The cost of storing these items is far less than the cost of the stress they can cause. The overall average monthly price of a self-storage unit booked in the Houston area over the past 180 days is roughly $81. By living with these things out of sight for a while, you can think about how much you need or miss them.
More sleep. Getting sufficient sleep is an important part of healthy self-care. In fact, sleep is so important to your mental well-being that experts at Harvard Health Publishing say sleep deprivation can actually harm your psyche. Lacking good sleep can leave you open to mental disorders, or leave those with existing disorders with increased symptoms. If you think you’re getting enough sleep but you still feel tired during the day, that’s an indicator you need more or better quality sleep. You should aim for awakening energized. Here are some tips for improving sleep hygiene so you can feel more energetic:
Set aside at least 7 hours for sleeping. If you still struggle with staying alert through the day or rely on caffeine for energy, add more sleep time.
Ensure your sleeping environment is cool, dark and quiet. (Consider dropping $10-15 on cheap room-darkening shades.)
Let in a little natural daylight in the mornings to help you wake up. It’ll help your body adjust to the pattern so you sleep better.
Reduce stress levels. Stress is an unhealthy cultural norm for many of us, and it will take its toll on your mental health. Some researchers believe stress can actually rewire your brain, increasing your inclination toward depression and leaving you less apt to enjoy activities you once found pleasurable. You can reduce stress with simple activities:
Spend time in nature. A quick walk in fresh air and sunshine, or even a window with a view, can ease stress levels.
Chew gum, which appears to increase blood flow to the brain, reducing stress levels and improving focus.
Add aromatherapy. Certain scents seem to ease stress levels, such as lavender, chamomile, peppermint, and citrus. You can add scents to every room for less than $10 a pop.
Spend time relaxing. How much downtime do you really have? More importantly, where does relaxation fall on your list of priorities? For many of us, relaxing is set aside as if it’s a luxury, rather than considered a vital component in self-care. However, as HealthDirect explains, regular relaxation can be a boon to your mental health, reducing anger and frustration, boosting your confidence, and helping you feel calm and happy. In this busy world, many people feel they lack time for relaxation. Here are some ideas to help you relax when you’re tight on time:
Take some deep breaths to alleviate tension.
Work your hands, such as with a stress ball, some play putty or dough, or kinetic sand.
Savor your meals instead of eating on the run.
A good self-care plan isn’t complex. By decluttering, getting enough sleep, de-stressing and relaxing, you can be healthier and happier. Add these simple practices to your lifestyle to enjoy better mental health.