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Self-care is something that many people need to practice, but it can be difficult to nail down. Finding time to do something just for you may be tricky, or you might feel that focusing on yourself when others need your time and attention is selfish. Rest assured, it’s never selfish to take care of your mind and body, and boosting your mental health is a good way to reduce stress and anxiety and learn to relax a bit, even when you have a full schedule.
Fortunately, there are several types of self-care that can be worked into your daily or weekly routine and won’t interfere with your responsibilities. It’s a very personal choice, so it’s important to try out a few different methods to see which ones are right for you. Whether you want to focus on reducing stress or using a fitness tracker to get in more physical activity, there are many things you can do for your mental health.
Here are a few tips on how to get started.
Maybe you haven’t had a vacation in a while because it’s not in the budget, or perhaps you’ve been too busy to get away. There are still some options when it comes to relaxing, however. Consider a “staycation” in and around where you live. Choosing a vacation rental over a hotel will also help you save money, since you’ll be able to cook healthy meals in the rental’s kitchen.
Look for ways to save
For some many of us, our financial well-being can be a major source of stress. If you’re in debt or having trouble keeping up with your bills, there are many ways you can cut costs while still enjoying life. Instead of dining out multiple times a week, prepare your own meals. Not not only will you save, but you can eat healthier as well. You can also cut back on expensive services by mowing your lawn, cleaning your home, and washing your car on your own. Another idea is to find free yoga classes online that you can do at home instead paying for a studio membership. And if you’re a homeowner, refinancing your mortgage could save you thousands, especially with interest rates at all-time lows. You can refinance to reduce your monthly mortgage payments or to free up cash.
Find a workout that you can maintain
Exercise has long been touted as one of the best things you can do for your mind and body. The benefits are numerous, but it’s important to choose a workout that’s realistic; otherwise, you won’t see the results you want. Take your schedule, abilities, and surroundings into account when choosing a workout, and have a backup plan. If you love running, find a gym nearby that you can go to when the weather is nasty. If you get bored easily, consider changing up the routine every other day so you’ll be motivated to stick with it.
Learn to say no
Learning to say no when someone wants too much of your time or energy can be extremely difficult, but it’s an important part of self-care. Sometimes, we just can’t take on any more responsibilities, and it’s unhealthy to say yes to everything that comes your way just because you don’t want to rock the boat. Whether it’s related to work or your relationship with a significant other, learn how to say no in a diplomatic way so that everyone is happy.
Get some good rest
Sleep is important for all of us, but it’s not just about quantity; your rest also needs to be of good quality in order for it to make a difference. If you have a pet or child who likes to sleep with you, set some boundaries, since their nighttime movements can interrupt your rest and leave you feeling exhausted the next day. Make sure your bedroom is perfect for rest with the right temperature and invest in soft bedding. There are even free sleep apps available that can help you get a good night’s rest.
Practicing self-care for your mental health is something that must be learned. Many of us find it hard to do naturally, because we have so many other things to take care of. Think about your mood and emotional limits each day, and how you can improve things for yourself. Even if it’s only a short walk on your lunch hour, taking some time for your needs is an important part of staying healthy.
by Brad Krause