Self-care is vital to our physical, emotional and mental health. While these practices aren’t a substitute for any protocol you’ve developed with a physician for any serious mental health concerns, they are a beautiful addition. It’s so important to acknowledge our needs, and prioritize things that uplift and inspire us. When we’re feeling exhausted, drained, or over-worked, we can draw on our inner-resources and tools to give ourselves a boost and reconnect with our bodies!
Here are 9 Self-Loving Ways to Boost Your Mental Health:
1. Drink Water First Thing
Upon rising, hydrate and water yourself! Getting enough water is not only great for your brain, hair, skin, and nails, but it helps you feel more alert and satiated. During periods of stress, our hormones may go out of balance and cause excessive hunger. It’s important to hydrate first because often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty! Getting enough water is one of the most simple tricks in the book but goes a long way towards your self-care quota.
2. Get Fresh Air In the Morning
Whenever possible, take your exercise routine outdoors. Get your barefoot in the grass, or connect with nature by going for a power walk and taking deep breaths. Your exercise doesn’t need to be rigorous or painful to be beneficial. In fact, if you’re feeling stressed, a brisk walk amongst the trees may be just what you need to feel a sense of relief. Even if all you can spare is an extra 15 minutes to walk around the block, try it! Remember to leave your device in your pocket and focus on your breath and the sights around you. Presence with yourself for even a 15-minute window can be precious.
3. Make a Warm Drink that Soothes the Soul
You know that cozy feeling you get curling up by a fire with a warm drink on a cold day? That’s the type of self-care a warm morning beverage ritual can evoke! Try starting your day off with a cup of warm herbal tea like chamomile, holy basil or lemon ginger. Other options are some warm cocoa or almond milk and cinnamon!
4. Gratitude Journal
The simple practice of writing down the things you’re grateful for can work wonders for your mindset. When we’re struggling, it’s easy to fall into negative thinking and worry. And while your worries and anxieties are valid and deserve to be acknowledged, it’s not helpful to only dwell on the things that aren’t working!
By taking stock of all of the things that feel good, are working, or are bringing you joy in your life, you’re self-soothing and providing space for positivity in your day. Even the smallest things can help you shift your awareness: like being grateful for a clean glass of water in the morning, or the sound of the birds when you wake up. Maybe it’s a smile a stranger gave you on the street on your way to work or the last meal you ate. Whatever it is, practice finding the good in each day.
5. Find a Soothing Ritual
Do you love to cook? How about knitting, sewing, writing, singing or walking? Create some sort of soothing ritual that you can come back to in moments of stress or worry. Take time to tap into your creative mind and give your logical mind a break! Find something you really enjoy and get into flow. Flow states naturally shift our brain into a place of ease and pleasure.
6. Create a Screen-Free Bed Time Ritual
An hour before bed, turn off the screens and dim the lights! Getting enough sleep is crucial if you’re experiencing mood dips, anxiety or stress. Exhaustion only increases mood imbalances, so prioritize your zzzz’s at every chance you get! It can help to set an alarm and start your nighttime ritual around the same time each evening.
Perhaps you have space to have a hot bath before bed with your favorite soothing music, or a good book. Avoid anything that can increase your anxiety or turn your brain on before bed, like using social media, reading the news, or going through your to-do list. By avoiding blue-light, your brain will naturally produce melatonin and signal your sleep hormones. Sweet dreams!
7. Read a Book
Even 10 minutes of reading is shown to shift the brain into a more positive state and boost your mood! Choose something uplifting and positive to read, and set aside a bit of time (like before bed) to calm your nervous system and relax.
8. Listen to Your Favorite Music
Music is one of the greatest mood influencers of all! Have you ever listened to a sad song and all of a sudden felt overcome with emotion? Or what about a happy, upbeat song when you were feeling tired? Notice how music impacts you and select sounds that inspire you, cause you to feel relaxed, and happy. Everyone’s taste is different, but generally, it’s helpful to choose music with positive lyrics, and avoid anything too loud or intense when your system is overloaded.
9. Prepare a Clean Meal
Not everyone loves to cook, I get that! But Eating Clean and nourishing yourself is one of the best things you can do to naturally boost your mood and create a sense of inner calm. I find chopping vegetables super therapeutic, and I usually recommend everyone give meal preparation an honest chance without any pressure to see how that changes the experience for you. Find a recipe you are sure to enjoy and prepare it slowly just for you. Here are a few easy, delicious and super nourishing recipes you could start with: