Self-care can play a role in maintaining your mental health (emotional, psychological, and social well-being), as well as your physical well-being.
Self-care means taking a moment to do things that help you stabilise or improve both your physical health and mental health. When it comes to your mental health, self-care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. Small acts of self-care in your daily life can make a dramatic difference. Physical health self-care is just as vital, in helping reduce the incidence of illness, physical discomfort and improving our overall health and well-being.
Here are some tips to help you get started with self-care:
- Get regular exercise. Just 30 minutes of walking every day can help boost your mood and improve your health. Small amounts of exercise add up, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t do 30 minutes at one time.
- Eat healthy, regular meals and stay hydrated. A balanced diet and plenty of water can improve your energy and focus throughout the day. Also, limit caffeinated beverages such as soft drinks or coffee.
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Stick to a sleep schedule. Reduce blue light exposure from your phone or computer before bedtime. Blue light from devices and screens can make it harder to fall asleep.
- Try a relaxing activity. Explore relaxation or wellness programs or apps, which may incorporate meditation, white noise music, or breathing exercises. Schedule regular times for these (before bed is a great time) and other healthy activities you enjoy such as journaling, colouring in, knitting/crocheting or even Lego building with your kids.
- Practice gratitude. Take a moment during the day to say I’m grateful for… Remind yourself daily of things that made you happy today. Ask the family over dinner, what was the best part of their day.
- Focus on positivity. Identify and challenge your negative and unhelpful thoughts.
- Stay connected. Phone a friend and have a chat about everything. Reach out to your friends or family members who can provide emotional support and practical help.
Self-care looks different for everyone. It may take trial and error to discover what works best for you. For other ideas for healthy practices for your mind, body, surroundings, and relationships, see the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Wellness Toolkits.