May is mental health awareness month. Self-care is fundamental for maintaining good mental health and overall well-being. When you care for your mind, it not only improves your mental health but also contributes to better physical and emotional health. Here are several self-care strategies to maintain positive mental health:
Regular Physical Activity: Regular exercise not only benefits your physical health but also contributes to improved mental health. It can reduce anxiety, depression, and improve mood. Find an activity you enjoy and try to get moving for at least 30 minutes a day. My favorite workouts are walks/hikes outside, Pure Barre™ classes and Hotworx™ classes.
Healthy Eating: A balanced diet can positively affect your mood and energy levels. Try to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains while limiting sweets, junk food, and processed foods. The best way to fill your cart with healthy options is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store.
Adequate Sleep: Sleep has a significant impact on mental health. Poor sleep can worsen mental health problems. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule and make your sleeping environment as comfortable as possible. Trouble sleeping? I’ve been there! After trying multiple natural supplements, my favorite nighttime combo is an Early Bird™CBD gummie with Calm™ magnesium supplements.
Mindfulness and Meditation: These practices can help you stay focused on the present, which can reduce anxiety and improve mood. You can start with just a few minutes a day and gradually increase the time. You can sit still in quiet, pray, listen to meditative frequencies, or journal. Do whatever feels best for you!
Social Connections: Maintaining relationships with people you care about and who care about you can significantly benefit your mental health. Spending quality time with loved ones can help you feel more positive and less isolated. Set dates with your friends, even if it is only to meet up for an hour of talk over coffee. Lean in to your family. Carve out family time or plan zoom calls with family that live far away.
Stress Management: Identifying the sources of stress in your life and finding healthy ways to manage them can improve your mental health. This could involve relaxation techniques, yoga, or other mindfulness practices. One practice I have incorporated (but sometimes, truthfully, can’t stick to) is putting my phone/ipad/laptop away after a designated time at night and focusing on quality time with my husband or letting my mind free by watching a good show or reading a book.
Hobbies and Interests: Engaging in activities you enjoy can act as a great stress reliever and can also boost your mood. This could be reading, painting, playing a musical instrument, gardening, playing a sport, or anything else that you love doing. Pick something you’ve never tried before! For example, if your partner likes to golf, maybe give it a try or perhaps you can take up pickleball or tennis as a couple.
Limit Alcohol and Avoid Drugs: These can negatively affect mental health and can make mental health problems worse. Am I telling you to not have a glass of wine with dinner or not enjoy a couple of cocktails with friends? Absolutely not. But frequent consumption affects all of your body systems and keeps you from functioning at your best.
Professional Help: Don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional if you’re struggling. Therapy, counseling, or medication can be very effective in certain cases.
Self-Reflection: Spend some time each day in self-reflection. This could be through journaling, meditation, or simply sitting quietly. It helps you understand your thoughts and emotions better and cultivates self-awareness. Start a manifestation list or board. What do you want out of life and who do you want to be?
Gratitude Practice: Cultivating gratitude can have a powerful impact on your outlook and mental health. Consider keeping a gratitude journal and write down a few things each day that you’re grateful for.
Remember, it’s essential to try different strategies and find what works best for you. Consistency is key in maintaining positive mental health, so try to incorporate these self-care practices into your daily routine regularly.