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Is Self Care Critical for Mental Health? 

Apr 11, 2022

 

Is Self Care Critical for Mental Health | Talk | Nutra Moment

A Dive Into The Emerging Trend


When you hear the words: self-care, what comes to mind?


Maybe it’s bubble baths, face masks, or popping the cork on a bottle of wine. 


While this type of self care is by no means inherently BAD, true, life changing self care goes much deeper than this. With self care becoming a growing trend on most social media platforms, the authentic definition of self care can become skewed. 


So, what is self care and how can it help your mental health? Let’s talk. 


Defining ‘Self Care’:

At its core, self care is simply defined as ‘any actions taken to improve one’s own health.” Sounds simple, right?


Well, it can be a bit more complicated than this. If you struggle with depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness, it can be easy to put yourself on the back burner. When you do this, you neglect parts of yourself that need to be nurtured and cared for. 


This can be physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental. True self care means making yourself your top priority in order to play an active role in your own healing, wellbeing, and happiness. 


Self care means acting in your own best interest, rather than continuing down the road of self betrayal and boundary crossing. 


Self care is not selfish. It’s necessary. 

Is Self Care Critical for Mental Health | Exercise | Mental Health | Fitness | Nutra Moment

 

Top 5 Ways To Practice Self Care:

When it comes to mental health, self care practices not only attend to your current mental state, they help support internal healing and growth from wounds or struggles that may be holding you back. 


Here are a few ways to practice self care:


  • Get Exercise: Self care doesn’t have to be ultra complicated. This can often mean starting with the very basics. Getting your body moving even for 20-30 minutes a day can significantly improve your mental health. Not only will it boost your mood and build your self confidence, you’ll get the long term benefits that come along with it. Weight control, reduced risk of heart disease, strong bones and muscles, and improved circulation - to name a few. 

  • Start Journaling: Taking time to journal whether before bed, or in the morning with a cup of coffee, has been shown to relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Sometimes getting all our worries and fears out of our brain and onto paper is exactly what we need. It can help you feel more organized in your thoughts, and help you solve problems you may have had the answers to all along. 

  • Prioritize Sleep: Not everyone has the ability to do so but if you do, use it! Sleep is essential to feeling healthy overall. Lack of sleep has been shown to cause emotional dysfunction, poor decision making, and many physical health concerns. When you allow your body and mind to rest for at least 8 hours a night, you’re giving it time to process the previous day and set yourself up for the following. So, next time you want to binge watch another episode of Stranger Things - keep this article in mind. 

  • Meditation: Our vagus nerve is a bundle of nerves that runs our mind - body connection. For many of us that grew up in chaotic families, our vagus nerve was trained to constantly be in a state of fight or flight. This can follow us well into adulthood. When we spend even 5-10 minutes meditating every morning we not only allow ourselves to be in the present moment, we retrain our vagus nerve. 

  • Set Boundaries: Boundary setting is one of the biggest “life hacks” for mental health. Many of us spend our days constantly doing things for others and neglecting our own personal needs. This can mean spending extra hours at work to cover for a coworker, or committing to a friend's weekend party you don’t really want to go to. When we constantly say yes to others we are also saying no to ourselves. Setting boundaries may feel uncomfortable at first, but you will quickly see the benefits it can bring. 


  • How Does Self Care Improve Our Mental Health?

    Our mental health affects every single aspect of our lives, from the way we behave to the way we handle stress, to our relationships. 


    Even small acts of self care can help us regulate our emotions, improve our sleep, increase our energy and boost our immune system. But how?


    Self care is entirely dependent on self awareness. 95% of our lives are spent in our subconscious mind meaning our internal voice is running the show from behind the scenes. When we learn to practice self care we become much more in tune with our inner self. 


    When this happens we are able to recognize triggers, patterns of behavior, and negative thought processes that may be holding us back from living a happy life. In addition, when we spend time nurturing ourselves we are able to identify what activities are necessary for our mental health, as well as become equipped to soothe symptoms of depression or anxiety easier. 



    Sources:


    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health


    https://www.wth.org/blog/why-self-care-is-an-essential-for-your-mental-health/



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