Practicing self care is essential for an individuals mental health. Although there are common practices that may work for the majority of individuals, it is also important for you to know what practice specifically works best for you. Discover what those practices are and the positive impacts self care has on our mental health below.
Self Care For Your Mental Health
The truth about self care is that it’s not a ‘one-size fits all’ approach like it’s commonly portrayed to be. The best ways to practice self care can vary individual to individual. It depends significantly on their comfort zone as well as their personality type. For example, for an introverted individual self care can be writing down their thoughts in a journal whereas for an extrovert, their comfort zone may expand to discussing these thoughts and feelings with someone else. Overall, there are 16 different personality types and each individual must find ways to practice self care that works best for them.
When the right form of self care is practiced, it can have huge benefits on your mental health. It can relieve stress, reduce the stress hormone cortisol, and enhance the release of the ‘feel-good hormones’ like serotonin. This in turn improves an individual’s mood, energy levels, motivation, focus, resilience, and much more. When self care is absent in our life this absence can contribute to the increase of symptoms of anxiety and/or depression in our life as cortisol levels can increase and serotonin levels may decrease.
15 Ways to Practice Self Care
When reading the following 15 ways to practice self care for your mental health, keep in mind your personality. You know yourself better than anyone else, be realistic about practices that you’re not only able to implement but ones you’ll be more likely to maintain.
- Connecting with others that share common values, beliefs and sensibilities
- Practicing staying present
- Writing in a journal your thoughts, feelings, experiences, ideas and dreams
- Setting goals that are short-term, medium and long term that support your dreams
- Artistic activities like painting, drawing, writing, playing and listening to music, etc.
- Exercising through ways such as walking, hiking, skiing, kayaking, biking, yoga, and dancing, etc.
- Creating safe and calming spaces where you live and work
- Sharing your thoughts, feeling and ideas with someone you trust who is non-judgemental
- Reading inspirational books
- Playing with animals
- Making a list of self-care activities and scheduling them in your calendar
- Doing creative projects without pressure to achieve, have a deadline or be perfect
- Spirituality or mindfulness, meditation, self-hypnosis, and neurofeedback
- Being in nature
- Physical pampering like getting a massage, doing a facemask at home, or getting your nails done
Why Self Care Is Important For Your Mental Health
Self care helps you work towards and maintain your mental health. Additionally to the reasons previously mentioned, self care can help prevent stress, anxiety and depression by releasing negative thoughts, feelings and experiences. If these negative aspects continue to reside in our mind they can produce negative hormones that result in the central nervous system and brain to be stuck in a fight-flight-freeze-or collapse state. Being in this state causes significant strain on one’s mental health. Self care promotes the release of positive feel good hormones that can reduce or eliminate the potential for the strain on an individuals mental health.
Enjoyed this blog post? Learn more about ways to improve your mental health and manage stress in our blog post about How to Take Control Back and Stop Worrying.