By: Fit Sheila
Self-care can seem indulgent or selfish when the to-do list is long and all those responsibilities are piling up. However, taking care of your self is anything but selfish. It is important for your mental health to make time for self-care. When your health is suffering, you are then unable to take care of anyone or anything else. So, let’s take a look at some ways to begin prioritizing care of yourself.
Healthy Food Matters
Food has long been a source of comfort in times of stress, a joy amidst celebrations, or even an expression of love. Some foods may bring you joy or comfort, but those same foods may actually be negatively impacting your body causing you the exact opposite emotions. According to Everyday Health, studies show that eating unhealthy food can result in unhealthy mental conditionslike depression. The good news is that the opposite is also true – eating healthy food results in a happy, healthy mental state.
In order to successfully change your eating habits, it’s always best to start with small changes. Begin by making healthy swapsof foods that you already eat rather than completely overhauling your entire meal plan. For example, if you like to snack on popcorn in the evenings, instead of using a prepackaged bagged popcorn full of additives and unhealthy fats, scoop some kernels into a popcorn popper (high-quality microwave poppers are affordable options) and top with some Himalayan saltor a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Instead of grabbing a candy bar to soothe a sweet tooth, opt for a chunk of dark chocolate with a handful of fresh berries. Learning to eat real, nutritious foodsinstead of processed foods full of sugar and unhealthy fats will help you feel happy and full of energy.
You may already know that exercise is good for your body, but did you know that exercise is also good for your mental health? Exercise releases a type of hormone called endorphins, which cause you to both have relief from pain and feel an increase in happiness. In addition to making you feel happy, exercise can also alleviate anxiety and boost self-confidence. You don’t have to go out and run a marathon to receive these great benefits; studies show that a 30-minute brisk walksignificantly improves your mood. So, grab a friend and go for a walk during your lunch break instead of eating at your desk.
Hit the Hay
In the busy season of life, sleep can seem like a luxury rather than a necessity, but sleep is a vital part of both your physical and mental well-being. According to Harvard Medical School, it was once thought that sleep issues were symptoms of mental health issues. Now, they are learning that sleep issues may be a trigger for certain issues like depression and anxiety. Schedule your bedtime to ensure that you are getting seven to nine hours of sleep at night. If you have difficulties falling asleepat night, there are a few things you can do to prepare your body for rest. Lower your bedroom temperature, turn off all electronics, and limit your caffeine at least six hours before bedtime to help you fall asleep quickly.
Adequate sleep, moderate exercise, and healthy eating are all important self-care tips to improve your mental health. All these activities significantly reduce stress and immediately improve your mood. Over the long termyou will have reduced risk of disease and improved brain function and memory. Taking care of yourself must be a priority, and in doing so, you are better able to take care of those around you.
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