6 Self Care Habits to Support Better Mental Health
When it comes to your overall health and wellbeing, the quality of your mental health is every bit as important as the physical.
Being in great shape or having a healthy diet won't count for much if you're constantly depressed or don't believe you have a purpose. In fact, having a positive frame of mind and outlook on life, with a strong sense of self worth is such a powerful state of being, often it can even make up for a flimsy diet or exercise routine.
For this reason, practicing self care habits that support your mental and emotional health is ultra important. And so here, we reveal six simple, yet vital habits you can easily incorporate into your lifestyle, to feel and experience a brighter, happier version of yourself more often.
From getting outside into nature and embracing the mental healing powers of sunshine, these self care habits are for anyone who recognises and values mental wellness and all of its wonderful benefits.
1. Meditation and Gratitude
Meditation is a mental health buzzword. But what is it really?
Some people believe that meditation is about totally emptying the mind and experiencing pure stillness. Whilst others, use it as a practice of creating intention by focussing on certain areas of life they wish to improve or be grateful for.
Whatever the style of meditation is that works for you, it is designed to support your mental wellbeing by creating inner calm, stress relief and greater clarity.
The techniques for meditation are widely taught, so it’s easy to become proficient in meditation. There are many different ways to meditate, but focusing on words, mantras or chants, breathing or images are common in most types of mediation. You can work meditation into your commute, your morning ritual, or even to help you fall asleep more easily.
Whether you choose breathing meditation, mindfulness meditation, yoga, or walking alone on the beach or in the forrest, meditation can help you become more centred, focused, and stress-free in even just five minutes a day.
Practising gratitude helps put things into perspective. It can make problems or issues seem much more manageable, and make you feel more equipped to handle them. It also helps improve your happiness and reduce anxiety when you reflect on everything you have to be grateful for.
Combining these two practices are a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, while adding more calm and focus to each day.
2. Get Plenty of Sunshine
There’s no denying the benefit of vitamin D for your physical health. After all, it’s a critical component of a variety of bodily functions. But sunshine can also improve your mental health, making it one of the most important habits in supporting your mental health.
It's no coincidence that in northern countries that experience small amounts of sunshine throughout the year, depression and suicide rates are generally at their highest.
Sunshine heals and makes us happy because it stimulates feel-good chemicals in the brain known as endorphins, which can counteract anxiety, depression, stress, and more.
Sun gazing very early in the morning as the run rises for just a short amount of time, can be combined with your meditative practice to help naturally treat a variety of mental health issues.
Likewise, exposing your skin to sunlight during the early hours of the day for 20-30 minutes, can be extremely restorative and mentally healing, because as the rays of sunlight enters the visual cortex and into the brain, it activates emotional molecules of happiness and joy.
You can combine this self care habit with a variety of others, including meditation, earthing, exercise, and more. Unfortunately, media campaigns have taught the masses to fear the sun, even though the sun has been worshipped as a source of life, happiness and health since the beginning of time. The secret is to respect the sun for all of its life-giving qualities and be sensible, not avoid it altogether.
3. Practice Earthing
If you haven’t heard of Earthing, it might quickly become one of your favourite self care habits to support mental health. It’s a fairly simple practice, but it yields incredible physical, mental, and emotional benefits.
To practice Earthing, simply stand, sit, or walk around barefoot outside for at least half an hour. Your body will absorb free electrons from the Earth, which can boost energy, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, decrease stress, boost mood, and much more.
You can practice Earthing in so many ways, and you’re actually probably doing it more than you think. Natural ground surfaces that allow for Earthing include sand, grass, dirt, mud, and rocks. You can swim, read in the grass, garden, practice yoga on the beach, sleep on the ground while camping, or simply take your workout outdoors. The longer you spend outdoors, the more time your body has to absorb free electrons and reap the benefits.
4. Exercise Outdoors
Exercising outdoors is one of the most simple, yet profound self care habits for supporting your physical and emotional health.
It not only makes exercising more enjoyable, but brings so many other positive benefits to your day-to-day, including activating all of your senses, putting a smile on your face and giving you access to fresh, clean oxygenated air.
Consider doing your morning exercise outside in the morning sunlight so that you get to move your body and get some sun at the same time.
Exercising stimulates dopamine and endorphins (feel good chemicals), which make you happier and help counteract mental health issues. But by combining this with the other mood-boosting aspects of sunshine, fresh air, and earthing, you’ll have an incredibly powerful self care habit to support your mental health like never before.
Some wonderful outdoor exercises include:
- Road Cycling
- Mountain Biking
- Beach Walking & Swimming
5. Choose a Positive Environment
Not everything in your life will always be under your control, so you need to be mentally strong to adapt to all kinds of situations and challenges.
That said, there are a few things you can do to take control of your environment in order to better support robust mental health.
- Positive Work Environment: sometimes workplaces can be toxic, unproductive, and a drain on your mental health. When you spend such a significant part of your day in the work environment, it’s important to bring as much positive outlook and energy as you can to this space. Generally, a happy, healthy productive approach can rub off on those around you, helping you to be in charge of your environment to a certain degree. Realise that your co-workers, your manager, and even your customers may not always bring their best selves, so it's up to you to not take things personally and to have a positive perspective in every situation. Always have a "glass half full" rather than "half empty" attitude and you'll make a big difference to your working environment;
- Positive Home Environment: home is where the heart is and should be your retreat or sanctuary. So if it's mentally draining at home, it's usually a sign to talk about the challenges with those you care about and love to benefit everyone involved. Often by simply having an open line of communication with your spouse or kids, it can solve a lot of problems in the home which relieve any mental burden so that you remind yourselves that you're meant to be on the same team. Additionally, your physical environment at home should be clean, free of toxins and chemicals, and filled with fresh air and sunlight as much as possible. Transform your bedroom into a sleep oasis to ensure you’re able to get 8 hours of restorative sleep a night without disruption or distraction.
- Positive Social Environment: you become who you surround yourself with. Choose positive, uplifting people to spend your free time with rather than people that bring you down, make you feel badly about yourself, or who bring stress and drama into your life.
6. Choose Positive Mindset Messages
You may not always be in control of your surroundings, but you can control what you feed your mind. Life is full of uncertainty, set backs and obstacles, so anything you can do to develop a strong mindset will set you up to best deal with inevitable challenges whenever they arise.
Your daily radio channel should be tuned in to positive messages that help to keep you and your mind active and productively moving forward.
Listen to uplifting podcasts, watch inspiring You Tube videos, join positive community facebook groups. These things can all become healthy practices to feed a positive and healthy mind each day.
A positive mindset and regular incantations that you don't just say, but feel in your nervous system, can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Chronic stress can very quickly age you prematurely, as well as cause a number of illnesses and dis-eases. By simply changing the way you think and view things, you can protect both your mental and physical health no matter the circumstances.
Practicing self care isn’t selfish, particularly when it comes to your mental health and wellbeing.
The healthier and happier you are mentally, the more you'll be able to live a fulfilling life and to help those you care about to do the same. By constantly working on your mental wellbeing, you will feel more energised, focused, calm, and stress-free, without the need for invasive medications which ultimately keep you depressed.
Realise that the game of mental health is a never ending game throughout the journey of life. The key is to never give up, to always look on the bright side and to put yourself in an environment that gives you positive energy.
Find more ways to support your self care naturally with products from our store. From wholefood snacks to nature made salt and personal care products without harmful chemicals, pure essential oils, and so much more, you’ll be able to take better care of yourself and your family.
Tolman Self Care.