What is self-care? Self-Care is what you do to take care of yourself. It pertains to any activity that enhances a person's overall well-being while reducing and managing stress.
Exercising self-care is an essential part of taking care of our mental health. It's common to experience burnout, stress, depression, and anxiety when we run on empty for an extended period. Self-care, however, guards us against burnout.
Unfortunately, this is something we often overlook though vital to our mental and overall health. Self-care isn't just for those who struggle with mental illness—making time to engage in activities for our well-being re-energizes and refuels us to operate at our best to be our best for others.
Reaching this level of healthiness starts with putting your mask on first and intentionally taking care of your well-being. It's essential to recognize the warning signs that indicate "you are running on empty, refuel."
So, what are some early indicators that tell us, "The check engine light is on?" Well, that's a great question, and those warning signs will show up in a few different areas of our life. They can show up emotionally, physically, mentally, and socially.
When we experience increased stress, we often respond by trying to "speed up," like doing more, sleeping less, and avoiding taking care of ourselves. Speeding up doesn't help; it increases our stress levels. In life, we will only experience burnout and mental health issues when we continuously run on fumes. The focus should be on slowing down; when we slow down and refuel, we go further.
- Discover Practical and Free Resources to Learn and Apply
- Celebrate the Positive Memories of the Past
- Online Therapy
- Avoid the Energy Vampires
- Incorporate Routine Breaks Throughout the Day
1. Discover Practical and Free Resources to Learn and Apply
Take advantage of Google. Search for things related to your interest. You can also take several courses online (Coursera.org) free of charge. These things can help expand your thinking and enhance your skills.
2. Celebrate the Positive Memories of the Past
Take a moment to reminisce on a favorite memory from your childhood.
The time you learned to ride a bike, went shopping with mom, visited a theme park with the family, etc., essentially any memory that fills your heart with joy!
Focus on those memories, and practice gratitude for the good times.
3. Online Therapy
Several online mental health therapists are available, affordable, and convenient. So, if you are struggling with life challenges, don't allow the stigma to prevent you from getting the help you deserve.
Online therapy is an excellent option, especially for those always on the go. Online therapy can reduce commute time while offering flexibility with appointments.
Below is a list of the online therapy resources.
- ReGain.us (for Couples)
- Teencounseling.com (for Teens)
4. Avoid the Energy Vampires
What is an energy vampire? Energy vampires are individuals who empty your emotional energy. These energy vampires are everywhere and feed on your willingness to listen and care for them, leaving you drained and overwhelmed.
So, awareness and identification of this toxic behavior can help you conserve energy and safeguard yourself from emotional and physical despair.
Do not let your mental health be under the control of energy vampires. Awareness of the other person's behavior and your own is the first step in establishing boundaries and safeguarding your energy. Here are a few ways to do that:
-Try to avoid shutting down the other person right away. Instead, try to be tolerant but don't allow their behavior to evolve into unhealthy habits.
-Validate their emotions, then redirect the conversation. Validating one's feelings is healthy, but allowing them to vent for venting's sake is not (most people don't want to move the needle toward finding solutions). So instead, redirect the conversation to something more positive.
-Choose not to react. Don't send the message that the behavior is ok. Instead, remain calm, practice empathy, and stand firm on your boundary line.
5. Incorporate Routine Breaks Throughout the Day
STEP away from the day's business and focus on your mental health.
-Step away from computer and social media usage.
-Take a brisk walk outside and absorb some vitamin D.
-Exercise, even if for a few minutes, has the power to boost your mood, improve sleep, and help with depression, anxiety, and stress.
-Practice gratitude. Studies show that people who practice gratitude experience much more happiness, positivity, contentment, compassion, and generosity toward others. Here is the kicker; people with a grateful heart are less likely to encounter health issues.
It's all about filling your bucket; you have more to offer others when it is full. We encourage you to determine what empties your bucket and what fills your bucket and start giving people the gift of a healthy you. We encourage you to slow down, evaluate the state of your mental health, and begin implementing self-care practices today.
"The greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you." –Joyce Meyer.