By Emma Campanella
As someone who has struggled and still struggles with mental health issues, I know putting myself first sometimes isn’t as selfish as it may seem. It’s great to be able to check in on how you’re doing, and sometimes you might not be doing so hot. If you feel that seeking help is necessary, it should never be an embarrassing thing. It really can be the difference between suffering mentally and reaching happiness.
Here are some steps that may be helpful for your mental care routine. Everyone has their own way of coping, but I found these extremely helpful for staying positive and controlling my vices.
Me Time, Please!
Being in the company of others is great! But sometimes, you need that one-on-one connection with yourself. It’s not stupid to put some time aside for the sake of relaxing. Winding down at the end of a busy day by doing something you love (like painting if you’re me) is a great way to keep your mental health a priority. Me time is also a great time to check on any issues and see how you’re feeling.
Always rushing around or thinking about the deadlines swamping your planner is stressful, so having a peaceful minute (or two hours) can help recharge and ease your mind.
Pump Those Arms, Ladies (and Gents)
Every morning, I try to exercise. If something makes me angry or upset, I exercise. If I have low energy, I exercise. At least once a day, I find time to go to the gym and get my body moving. It doesn’t have to be the most intense workout on Biggest Loser. Yoga, walks or light running are all great too.
Exercise is a healthy way to relieve stress and energize your body. Your body releases endorphins, which reduce pain and create a positive, euphoric feeling. It has been found that exercise also reduces stress, anxiety and depression. It is a healthy way to improve your mind instead of self-destructive actions, so I always make time for a run and some amazing music.
Peace and Tranquility
Meditation can be practiced by anyone, regardless of religious beliefs. This is a time, even as little as five minutes, where individuals can just focus on the mind. Deep thinking is usually done to tap into the flow of your consciousness. It can even consist of not thinking at all. Whatever you do, it is your time to focus on yourself and relax, especially if you are feeling extremely emotional or stressed.
There are many helpful apps such as Headspace that can walk you through short meditations. Sounds are also something that people like to listen to during their sessions, such as nature sounds or ASMR. Find what works for you!
Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Far, Far Away
The friends you spend time with can have a big impact on your life. They are the people you talk with, connect with and learn from. But as much as you may love them, they can drain you and make you feel worse when you’re around them.
Positivity is key. If you aren’t excited to spend time with someone, there may be something that isn’t good for you about that person. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and support you entirely. You don’t need to change for anyone, because you’re pretty great just how you are.
Add More Zs to ZZZzz…
SLEEP! Please! Sorry, that was aggressive. It’s just such an important thing for your body. When dozing away, your body maintains healthy brain functions and keeps your physical health in check. Getting at least eight hours will give you energy during the day and make you feel good. Naps during the day help to rejuvenate as well.
If you have trouble falling asleep, I find ASMR or nature sounds really helpful as well. It’s also healthy to set a biological clock by going to bed the same time every night, if possible.
No matter how cheesy this sounds, nobody will be just like you. Focus on your positive traits instead of being so critical on everything you see wrong. You’re unique. Accept your imperfections. Building yourself up instead of breaking down every miniscule thing that only you notice will help your mindset tremendously.
You can’t expect someone else’s love to make you feel better, either. For me, I have been working on accepting myself and fixing my mental health issues before even considering letting a romantic person into my life again. I am being patient until I am ready.
The way I describe it to my therapist is that I can love myself about 80 percent, which I am still working on. But it might take someone that I share mutual love with to come along in order for me to be 100 percent happy. Sometimes I struggle with relying on another person too much, causing that 80 percent to drop, which is when relationship problems begin. It’s about finding a balance. I try to make sure I can take care of myself (including me time) and keep that self-love in the midst of caring for others.
Remember, it’s not selfish to make yourself a priority. I hope you all find peace!