Declining mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety challenge your coping mechanisms. You might be thinking of ways to get away but can’t afford that dream holiday. However, there are several mental health self-care strategies you can use to make the days (and nights) a little easier.
Try these 9 self-care strategies:
1. Scream and Cry, and then Laugh – Find a safe time and place to indulge your feelings and let out your bottled up emotions. When you’re alone, or with someone you trust, scream and cry and let it all out. Then, put on a funny movie or do something that makes you laugh. The combination of catharsis and laughter will really boost your mood.
2. Treat Yourself – Treating yourself or indulging yourself can help to lift your mood. Don’t just eat a meal; indulge in your favourite food. Don’t just shower, soak in a hot, bubbly bath. Take yourself out to see a movie or run a marathon of your favourite TV shows. If something makes you feel even just a little bit better, do it.
3. Meditate – Meditation increases concentration and focus, creates mindfulness and has physiological effects like lowering blood pressure and easing muscle tension. These results are helpful to anyone, but especially to people with declining mental health or conditions such as anxiety or depression.
4. Talk About It – Talking to someone about your problems helps. Turn to a close friend or family member, and let them know you just need someone to listen. You might also rely on a crisis line in your area if you need to talk and no one is around.
5. Do Something Small – Setting a small, achievable goal for the day and then accomplishing it can help combat feelings of uselessness, helplessness, and lack of control. Remember to celebrate your accomplishment when you do it. Write down your goal as a single-item to-do list and put a big checkmark to it when you’re done.
6. Write It Down – Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you identify and clarify what’s bothering you. Externalizing your thoughts and feelings makes them easier to examine and address them and removes the need to dwell on them.
7. Take a Walk – Exercise has both mental and physical benefits. Taking a walk outdoors is a proven mood booster as it can get you close to nature. Sunlight contains vitamin D to boost melatonin production, which helps regulate sleep and mood.
8. Get a Pet – Pets can be good for your health because they offer companionship, encourage exercise, reduce stress, improve mood, and lower blood pressure. They force you to focus externally, provide meaning and purpose, and create a sense of value and accomplishment.
9. Sleep/Rest – According to Harvard Health Publications, 80% of people with mental health issues have problems sleeping. Avoid caffeine and nicotine a few hours before bed and set a regular bedtime, to promote better sleep.