In the grand scheme of your overall health and wellbeing, your mental health plays a very important role.
Being in great shape or having a healthy diet won't count for much if you're regularly depressed, anxious or if you feel you don't have a sense of purpose.
In fact, a strong sense of purpose and a positive outlook on life are so powerful, that they can even make up for a sub-standard diet or lack of exercise.
For this reason, practicing basic self care habits regularly, is one of the key secrets to a healthy mindset and your emotional wellbeing.
Here, we reveal six amazing self care practices that can help you to be a happier, brighter version of yourself, with positive spin-off effects into every aspect of your health and wellness.
1. Practice Regular Meditation
Meditation is one of those misunderstood practices that many people dismiss, because they believe they need to learn some kind of weird, new technique to do it right.
But this is not the case.
In its simplest form, meditation is a basic practice of stillness, that enables you to clear your mind, reduce anxiety and stress, and to set some form of positive intention.
The reality is that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to meditation.
Meditation can be done anywhere by anyone and there are different ways to meditate. However, stillness and breath are the common themes that any type of meditation should be built around.
You can do meditation on the front porch at home, by the beach, or in your local neighbourhood park.
Spend 5-10 minutes doing it at night before bed to help you sleep more peacefully, during your lunch break to reset and relieve work related stress, or first thing in the morning to help you approach your day with clarity and intention.
If you need guidance to help you meditate, there are some great Apps you can download onto your smart phone, such as "CALM". Each day, new guided audio meditations are released which you can tune in to and practice at any time that suits you, for as many or as few minutes you have available.
Finally, another valuable reason to meditate is that it helps you to restore a sense of gratitude and to put things into perspective.
Meditation has a way of reminding you about the most important things in life and can make seemingly big problems or challenges not seem so great. This of course, can be a very effective tool for reducing anxiety and stress in your general day to day.
2. Get Plenty of Sunshine
Vitamin D is vital for your physical and mental health.
And of course, one of the greatest sources of Vitamin D is Sunshine!
Sunshine activates emotional molecules in the brain known to stimulate happiness and joy. This is why people who live in climates where the sun regularly shines, tend to have more spring in their step than those who live in cold, dark climates where rates of depression and suicides are high.
Sunshine helps to release "feel-good" chemicals in the brain known as endorphins, which are very powerful for counteracting negative emotions as well as energising your overall body and mind.
A great way to get your daily sunshine fix is by spending 20-30 minutes outside in natural sunlight during the early part of the day before it reaches it's highest intensity.
Sit out in the morning sun with your tea, coffee or fresh juice. Take a walk along the beach and allow your body to absorb the sun's warmth and nutrients. However it is that you choose to get sunshine, just remember it is such a crucial factor in maintaining and boosting your mental and emotional health.
3. Practice Earthing
If you haven’t heard of Earthing, it might quickly become one of your favourite self care habits to support your mind and body wellbeing.
Even though it's such a simple practice, it provides wonderful restorative benefits to your health and wellness.
Earthing or Grounding as it is also commonly known, simply involves connecting your body (usually your bare feet) directly to the earth's surface.
When you do this, your body absorbs free electrons from the Earth which can boost energy, reduce inflammation, decrease stress and improve your mood.
The easiest way to practice earthing is by walking bare footed on the sand at your local beach or on the grass at your local park.
Other versions of earthing can be lying on the grass under a tree whilst reading a book, practicing yoga in the back garden, sleeping on the ground under the stars whilst camping.
The point is that nature and the outdoors is one of the most powerful tools for supporting your mental health and wellbeing and earthing is a simple way to benefit that most people overlook.
4. Exercise Outdoors
Any form of exercise is very beneficial to your mental health, but there is something extra special about exercising outdoors.
Just as earthing does, outdoor exercise activates all of the senses and gives you access to nature and fresh, oxygenated air to clear your lungs, which is quite different to exercising in doors.
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.
Exercise stimulates dopamine and endorphins (feel good chemicals), which make you happier and help counteract mental health issues. But when you combine this with the other mood-boosting aspects of sunshine, fresh air and the beauty of the outdoors, it adds another dimension to your self care and can elevate your mental health.
Some wonderful outdoor exercises include:
- Tai Chi
- Beach Walking
- Mountain Biking
- Body Surfing
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 your mental wellbeing.
- Positive Work Environment: If work is a significant part of your every day life, then it's important to bring as much positive energy to this space as you can. Generally, a positive, happy attitude can rub off on your work colleagues and those around you, so if you value your work, it's a great idea to try and show up as the best version of you as often as possible. Of course, in any work environment, challenges can arise. But the key is to put these challenges into perspective and to do your part to try and solve problems as they arise. As in any situation that involves other personalities and important tasks, communication is key and will make a big difference to your long term working environment;
- Positive Home Environment: home is where the heart is, which is why home should be your retreat, sanctuary and place where you can relax and enjoy your surrounds. However, if home is mentally draining or associated with conflict or other challenges, it can have a big impact your mental health. For this reason, having an open heart and having gratitude for those who you care about is one of the keys to a healthy, happy, home environment. Additionally, your living quarters should be kept as free as possible of harmful toxins and chemicals in terms of the products you use, and filled with fresh air and sunlight. By valuing your home environment and playing your part in keeping it a happy, sacred place, you'll do a lot for your mental and emotional wellbeing.
- Positive Social Environment: it is well known that we become a product of those we spend most time with. That's why socially, it is very important to surround yourself with positive, uplifting people as much as possible. Conversely, if you spend too much time around people who bring you down, it will only impact the level of anxiety and stress you feel in your life. Be very selective about your social circle and seek out positive communities to ensure you keep yourself in the best frame of mind.
6. Build A Positive Mindset
You may not always be in control of your surroundings, but you can control what you feed your mind, which in turn can have a big impact on your mental health.
One of the best ways to take control is to set aside some positive mindset building time every single day.
It can be as simple as listening to an uplifting message, podcast or video after your morning walk or on your way to work. Or dedicating 15 minutes of reading time before you go to bed.
The more you tune into positive messages or educate yourself with information that feeds your mind in a productive way, the more mental clarity and purpose you begin to develop.
Find a topic, book, author, podcast, or influencer that energises you and tap into an episode or chapter every single day.
It's a far better way to work on your mindset than listening to the mainstream media first thing in the morning, on your walk or on your way to work!
The Main Takeaway
Your overall self care depends on more than just a healthy diet and daily movement.
Your mental health and emotional wellbeing are vital parts to looking and feeling good, but it's a lot easier to maintain when you have simple conscious tools and habits to follow.
By embracing some of the daily rituals we've shared with you here, you will go along way to reducing stress, anxiety and you'll become more energised, focused, positive and happy, no matter what life throws your way.
Tolman Self Care.