Why Is Self-Care Vital for Your Mental Health?
Life can be overwhelming and demanding. In addition, all of us carry some unresolved trauma from the past that makes it even harder because we are not often prepared for what’s coming, or we react to it in an overwhelming manner. On top of that, this year has been exceptionally challenging for a lot of us.
It may feel like you’re doing strenuous construction work when you’re not a construction worker: carrying heavy things while being tired and physically unfit, climbing high places without proper safety gear, and breathing in dust particles and chemicals.
A big part of how we deal with our challenges is our psychological and emotional well-being. Sadly, most people don’t take very good care of their mental well-being. However, just how it is important to take care of your physical health, it is vital to take care of your mental well-being.
Now, of course to really deal with your complicated issues that stem from childhood trauma and other complex psychological dynamics, we need years of therapy and self-therapy, which includes thoroughly examining your past relationships, childhood environments, behavioral patterns, and much more. Going for a jog once in a while won’t solve your deep psychoemotional problems or systemic socioeconomic issues.
However, there are things that all of us can do to help us with emotional regulation, better understanding of our emotions and needs, healthier relationships, or in developing more preferable habits.
Not everyone finds the same things helpful. For example, music is perfect for relaxation for some people, while others find it completely unhelpful. Everyone needs to find their own list of things that helps them feel more grounded, energetic, and inspired.
Here is a list of 40 activities and attitudes that you can incorporate into your daily life to improve and maintain your mental well-being.
- Journal about your day to get a better perspective and keep track of things.
- Ask yourself how you feel several times a day to develop emotional self-awareness.
- Dedicate time to analyzing your past and working on your deeper issues.
- In the morning or a day before, write down a schedule for the day to be more structured.
- Have a list of things you can do to calm down when you’re overwhelmed and use it when it happens.
- Slow. Down.
- Spend time in nature and solitude to clear your mind and recharge.
- Have some time where you let yourself be in the moment without thinking about the past or the future.
- Start your day by reminding yourself of things that you are grateful for.
- End your day by reflecting on the things you did or enjoyed today, even if they seem small.
- Have a healthy sleep schedule.
- Dedicate time for your relationships and for improving your social skills.
- Let yourself relax by doing something fun, relaxing, or “unproductive.”
- Have something to look forward to.
- Crystalize and remember your motives for your goals in order to gain clarity about what you want to do and why.
- Routinely work on improving your sense of empathy: for yourself and for others.
- Challenge your toxic thoughts and beliefs, and aim to change them into healthier ones.
- Occasionally try new things to expand your comfort zone.
- Take significant breaks from social media and the internet in general.
- Let yourself make reasonable mistakes and trust yourself that you’ll be okay.
- Find a creative outlet: writing, dancing, singing, playing an instrument, etc.
- Take responsibility for what you are responsible for, and always aim to meet those responsibilities as best as you can with no excuses.
- Don’t take responsibility for what you are not responsible for, and remember that there are no unchosen obligations.
- Seek progress: by learning new skills, expanding your knowledge base, or improving your current skillset.
- Learn to say “no” and set healthier boundaries.
- If needed, seek help from your loved ones and/or from professionals.
- Don’t think in SHOULDs and HAVE TOs, and try to switch to WANTs and CHOOSE TOs to alleviate mental pressure and anxiety.
- Don’t stay in abusive and otherwise toxic environments.
- Don’t think that life just happens to you, and aim to be more proactive.
- Don’t wait for somebody to save you or for good things to happen to you; take responsibility for the things that you can control and improve, and do that.
- Don’t let people disrespect and mistreat you, regardless if they are your spouse, parent, sibling, or friend.
- Don’t forget about your painful past; it is a part of you.
- Don’t ignore red flags in people’s behavior.
- Don’t ignore your needs and emotions; you will pay dearly for it one way or another.
- Don’t take other people’s perception of you too seriously, both negative and positive.
- Don’t be dependent on other people’s validation, and aim to build a healthy, realistic sense of self-esteem that comes from within.
- Don’t try to constantly prove yourself to people, and accept that some people will misunderstand or mischaracterize you but you will be okay.
- Don’t hope for your unhealthy relationships to magically transform into healthy ones; it never happens, no matter how hard you want it.
- Don’t concentrate on the result as much, and learn to enjoy the process instead.
- Don’t hurt others, and try to validate, help, and uplift people when you can.
These are just a few things that can help you live a more fulfilling life, but this list can go forever.
What things help you? Feel free to share it in the comments or write about it in your personal journal.