Self Care – How Does It Impact Mental Health?

When it comes to mental health how a person treats themselves is extremely important. A great way to help manage and decrease mental health symptoms is by implementing self-care techniques.

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Contributor: Katrina Leggins – Masters Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Expert

When it comes to mental health how a person treats themselves is extremely important. A great way to help manage and decrease mental health symptoms is by implementing self-care techniques. While self-care practices look different for everyone, many individuals don’t incorporate them into their lives merely due to a lack of understanding of what self-care is and why it’s significant. 

Before jumping straight into this subject, let’s break down what mental health looks like and why it should be a number one priority for every person on this planet. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Everyone experiences mental health and with this comes challenges that impact individuals in different ways. Mental health includes our thoughts, emotions, moods, and our behaviors. 

Mental health conditions can be caused by biological, psychological, and environmental factors. Once the definition of mental health is understood,  it’s important to know some of the warning signs that signify a decrease in mental health and wellness so issues can be addressed and corrected before 

Here is a list of ten examples that are early warning signs that should never be ignored. If you or someone you know is experiencing one or more of these symptoms on a frequent basis, please seek out a mental health
professional immediately. 

1. Overeating or not eating enough 

2. Sleeping too much or not enough

3. Experiencing frequent mood swings

4.  Experiencing reoccurring thoughts/memories you can’t get rid of

5. Experiencing low or no energy

6. Feeling helpless or hopeless

7. Confused or forgetful

8. Hearing or seeing things others can’t 

9. Unable to perform daily tasks, e.g. (going to work, school, taking care of kids, etc.)

10. Isolating yourself

As you can see, understanding mental health is vital. Mental health impacts everyone differently and poor mental health may be temporary for some. In life, some days may be harder resulting with someone feeling stressed out, sad, or angry. Just don’t ignore the symptoms. Doing this can put yourself more at risk which can then cause negative long-term effects.

What is self care? Why is it so important?

Self-care is a vital component of maintaining positive mental health and well-being. The act is made up of various activities and practices
individuals engage in to take care of their mental, emotional, and physical health. Self-care has been a buzzword going around on social media for a while now, but it’s more than that.

Two questions I find most important when it comes to understanding the basics of self-care are simple. One, do you take care of yourself? Two, if so, in what ways is this done? The first question typically can be answered with ease, but the follow-up question is more thought-provoking and may be challenging to explain. Please understand that self-care should never feel forced or uncomfortable. It also shouldn’t be something that is obsessed over or causes stress. It should be something that replenishes and
refuels you. Self-care is identifying what your needs are and taking the steps necessary to meet those needs. If you can’t adequately take care of yourself, it’s nearly impossible to take care of others.

Now keep in mind self-care isn’t only about getting a mani/pedi, going to a beautiful spa, or purchasing expensive bath products; it’s about the intentional work you do on the inside. Self-care can include going to bed an hour earlier, turning your phone on do not disturb, or saying no to a

To help simplify self-care even more, I’ve broken it down into seven categories to help you identify areas that may need more improvement. These include:

Physical Self-Care

Mental Self-Care

Emotional Self-Care

Intellectual Self-Care

Spiritual Self-Care 

Social Self-Care

Professional Self-Care

Self-care can’t be something you do every once in awhile. Building in time for self-care daily, weekly, and monthly can be done if you balance your time and make the commitment. Self-care can be difficult for those who never practice this act or find themselves busy the majority of the time. Self-care is all about discipline and choosing to make caring for yourself a priority. Just like mental health look different to everyone, so does self-care. Self-care practices don’t need to reflect the trendiest filtered photos on Instagram but rather, should include activities that work best for you and make you feel good about yourself. As you can see self-care can impact our mental health significantly in a positive way. Self-care enriches coping skills and helps create more balance in your life. When practiced correctly, self-care has long-term benefits towards maintaining positive mental health.

Here are some action items that support self care:

Going for a morning or evening walk
Drinking more water
Seeing a therapist
Using daily affirmations
Reading a favorite book
Listening to a podcast
Burning a scented candle
Scheduling a date with a favorite friend or relative
Joining a support group
Not taking your work home
Taking mental health days off from work

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