Guest writer Brad Krause
Mental health concerns should always be a priority, but in today’s busy world, it can be difficult to stop and take a break even when stress and anxiety reach their peak. There’s always something else to take care of or worry about, it seems, especially if you are a parent or a busy professional (or both). Without those breaks, however, life can feel overwhelming and tiresome, and you may begin to feel the effects of depression creep in, which can make taking care of daily responsibilities even more difficult.
The key is to recognize when you are feeling overwhelmed, learn how to take steps to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, and to cope with those feelings once they show up. This will help you feel better, and it will also improve your relationships, work performance, and overall well-being. Think of some activities that make you happy -- such as gardening or drawing -- and work them into your day. Making time for hobbies and doing things that make you feel happy and relaxed will help keep you focused and energized.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to boost your mental health with self-care.
Reduce Stress When You Can
Though it’s not always easy to do, reducing stress can help you feel more in control and boost your self-confidence. Think about the areas of your life that hold the most stress. Are you overworked? Is it hard for you to find time to clean your house? Are there financial worries? Try to pinpoint exactly what’s causing you to feel overwhelmed so you can come up with a plan of action to tackle it. Talk to your boss about getting some help for your workload, hire a cleaning service or start a chore chart for the kids to complete, and create a budget that will help you tighten things up and get back on track. Reducing these stresses will allow you to relax a bit more and find happiness even on the busiest of days.
Find a Hobby
Hobbies are wonderful for reducing stress; they can raise self-esteem and help you relax. Set up a meditation space in your home where you can take a few minutes away several times a day. Incorporate calming colors and mood lighting to help keep you focused. A hobby can even help you make extra money. For instance, if your hobby is to create handmade items, you can sell them in an online storefront. Outdoor hobbies like gardening may help you reap even more benefits. Just being outside has calming and stress-reducing qualities of its own.
Change Up Your Workout Routine
Everyone needs a good diet and exercise routine in their lives, and a good workout can help you feel energized and ready to take on anything. If you haven’t changed up your workout in a while -- or if you haven’t been able to make time to get active lately -- think of some fun ways to work exercise into your day. Go for a bike ride, take the dog to the park and go for a run with him, or have a swim at the local YMCA. Think outside the box a bit and make your workout fun for a chance to really boost your mental health after a long day.
Get Good Rest
It’s nearly impossible to feel fulfilled and on top of things when you haven’t had good sleep, yet so many Americans either don’t sleep long enough or find that they can’t get adequate rest, which leaves them feeling groggy and irritable the next day. Over a period of time, this can seriously damage your physical and mental health, so it’s important to do what you can to rest easy. Start a bedtime routine that will help you wind down for the day -- such as turning off all screens, reading a book, and taking a hot shower. Filling your diet with superfoods like almonds, edamame or a night time ritual of a cup of tea also can help promote healthy sleep.
Taking care of your mental health can help you feel better, and it can allow you to take control of your life as well. When you reduce stress and anxiety, you’re also telling yourself that you are worth much more than those feelings and that you deserve happiness.