Mental health is essential to our overall health- it includes the emotional, psychological, and the social sides of our well-being. Our cognitive thinking, actions, our feelings, and our perceptions are all influenced by our mental health.
Everyone has their own “why” behind their commitment to health and wellness and for me, mental health has been at the top of the list. I never really struggled with my weight or my skin, but mental health (stress/anxiety, depression) has been an area that I, like many others, have had experience with. This is a large reason why I take a natural approach to health and wellness. I share this because, first, it’s mental health awareness month and second, I think talking about mental health should be something we start to make more normal and comforable. In fact, when you have overcome a struggle of any kind, it should inspire others to have hope that they too can make it through those hurdles and have a happy, healthy, and successful life.
I have listed some of the self-care strategies, complete with checklists under each strategy, that have helped me with my mental health and can help you too.
Self-Care Checklists for Mental Health
Simply click the arrow next to each category for a drop down checklist.
Exercise- Incorporating 20-30 minutes of exercise 5 days per week will help reduce stress hormones and increase feel good endorphins.
Spend time in nature- A simple daily walk can do wonders. Finding exercise you enjoy outdoors is a win, win.
Journal- Pour a cup of tea and spend a little time pausing, and reflecting. Getting your thoughts and feelings down on paper will also help with mental clarity throughout the day.
Active rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation- Deep relaxation stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. Have a spa day, get a facial, massage, body treatment or sweat it out in an infrared sauna session.
See a therapist- We see health care professionals for our physical health and it's important to include mental health. A therapist can help offer support in dealing with life's various challenges.
Have a skincare ritual- Morning and evening skincare rituals can help us feel refreshed and develop skin health. Try an aromatic steamed facial compress for added relaxation. Having time for yourself to decompress will rejuvenate your senses and uplift your mood.
Hydrotherapy- Take a 20 minute hot epsom bath once per week. Start by dry brushing your body to stimulate the lymphatic system for added detox. Use your favorite essential oils and do a face mask while you soak away your stress.
Get Quality Sleep
Create a welcoming sleeping space- Make sure your bedroom is clean and free of clutter, invest in comfortable bedding that you love, and maybe put some fresh flowers or a candle on your nightstand.
No electronics 30 minutes before bed- Blue light is known to decrease melatonin production, necessary for a restful night's sleep.
Use a sleep mask- Sleep masks block out light and external stimuli which help you reach REM sleep. Sleep masks have been a game changer for me.
Avoid large meals and alcohol before bedtime- When our bodies are working to digest foods we are unable to attain quality sleep.
Try a relaxing activity before bed- Anything to help relax the mind and body before bed can help you get a deeper, more restful nights' sleep. Gentle yoga, meditation with lavender essential oils, or a nourishing skincare ritual are some calming activities to try.
Stick to a set bedtime- Going to bed regularly at the same time helps your body's maintain its circadian rhythm. This will help you naturally feel more tired at your bedtime.
Maintain a Healthful Diet
Have a smoothie-a-day- Having a daily smoothie helps ensure that you get your nutrients each and every day. I like to include Kale or Spinach, Superfoods like goji berries, fruits, greek yogurt, dark chocolate chips, almond milk, and protein powder.
Meal plan and prep- This will help you not only save time but also eat health meals consistently.
Limit refined sugar and refined carbs- This will help with overall health but also maintaining a balanced mood by keeping blood sugar levels in check.
Follow the 90/10 rule- Strict dieting has been proven to be unsustainable. If you can stick to eating healthy 90% of the time and allow yourself your favorite desert or some pizza on occasion- sticking to 10% of the time, you will be able to maintain a healthy diet without depriving yourself.
Limit eating out and increase home cooking- Cooking your own meals will ensure a healthier ingredient list and add the nurture behind caring for yourself and your family.
Build Social Connections
Bond with your kids and your partner- Spending quality time with your kids and partner will help build your connection and create a stronger bond between your family.
Join a group- Joining a group based on your hobbies and passions will help connect you with like-minded people with similar interests.
Volunteer- Volunteering helps you support causes that you care about while also connecting you with people within your community who care about the same things.
Take a class- Taking a class gives you the opportunity to try something new or meet other people that enjoy the same activities you love.
Schedule get togethers with friends- In our busy lives it helps to be proactive about planning time to spend with the people you want to stay connected with. Friends that support your healthy lifestyle and goals will have a positive influence in your life.
Meditate- Mediation has been shown to build stress management skills, improve self awareness, increase patience and tolerance, and help you focus on the present moment.
Yoga- Yoga is a moving mediation with the added benefit of deep breathing, physical fitness, and body awareness.
Eat mindfully- Staying present while eating not only helps you enjoy your foods more, it helps prevent overeating.
Practice gratitude throughout your day- Being mindful of all the things we are grateful for can help make us happier throughout the day, instead of dwelling on problems or challenges.
One of our certified health coaches can help provide you with the accountability and support you need to help reach your health goals. A variety of areas are covered including diet and exercise, stress management, self-care, time management and more. For a free 30 minute consult click below.