How Does Self-Care Affect Mental Health?

lindsay giguiere, self care guide, positively affect your mental health

The terms “self-care” and “mental health” have been around for a long time, however, there’s been a significant resurgence in the popular culture surrounding the concepts of wellness, supporting your mental well-being, and caring for yourself in a variety of ways. This is a very good thing as there is a direct correlation between self-care and mental health.

“Self-care is part of the answer to how we can all better cope with daily stressors,” explains Kelsey Patel, a Los Angeles–based wellness expert and the author. Sounds easy enough, but in reality, self-care is not easy for many. Why?

  • Not enough mental health support
  • The negative mental health stigma
  • Not enough affordable, accessible, and transparent products and services
  • Not enough time

Mental health was already a pandemic that was neglected before COVID-19. When you add a new pandemic to an existing pandemic, the impact is dangerous and requires immediate attention.

  • 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness each year
  • 1 in 6 youth ages 6-17 in the U.s. experience mental health disorders each year.
  • 40% of respondents of a recent study reported mental health conditions during COVID-19,  including symptoms of anxiety disorders.

With the introduction of online telehealthcare, a changed perspective of mental health, and easy self-care tips, those statistics will decrease in time. Luckily COVID-19 and its impact on mental health have garnered more attention and the health and wellness industry has taken notice. 

Greenfield Groves is one of those companies and has strategically created multiple brands to offer affordable wellness solutions for all, anytime, anywhere.

What Is Self-Care and Why Is It Important?

World Healthcare Organization (WHO) defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”

It starts with the self-awareness of your self-care needs to promote your physical, mental, and emotional health. Self-care allows for self-love and when you love yourself, relationships with others can blossom. Many of us are selfless and put everyone before us, motherhood being a great example. 

If we don’t take care of ourselves first, it’s very difficult to take care of others. The consequences of ignoring self-care can lead to burnout, anxiety, depression, bitterness, stress, lack of energy, substance abuse, and even suicide. I’m pretty sure we can all relate.

Self-Care Tips for Mental Health and Physical Well-Being

You’re aware you need to pay more attention to yourself and what that means for your health and wellness, as well as those around you. Now what? Where do you start? What are your resources? Below are simplistic tips and tools, yet the significance is anything but.

Be kind to yourself

Tell yourself you are never alone. Everyone has days when they feel anxious, are struggling to focus, feel unmotivated, and juggle a million plates. That is normal and okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself and allow yourself to feel how you feel. 

If you’re experiencing more serious mental health issues, there are resources and support you can turn to at a moment’s notice. Tomorrow is the start of a new day and a new you. Change takes time, so be patient with yourself as you begin your journey to better health and wellness.

Talk to someone

When you’re not feeling your best mentally, some people tend to withdraw within themselves to cope, which can actually make the situation worse. A quick call to a family member or a lunch date with a close friend could be what turns your day around or helps you remember what’s truly important.

At times, speaking to a professional or a stranger allows for more honesty and leads to more solutions. Take advantage of modern-day wellness communities and online telehealth consultations with doctors and professionals. Resources are in place to help you increase your self-care, positively impacting your mental health.

This is all why I created Greenfield Groves – to help you take control of your health and happiness. It Matters, one of our distinct consumer brands, offers simple and affordable online mental wellness with on-demand therapy sessions, mental wellness supplements, and more, bringing you back to your place of comfort and stability.

Give yourself enough rest

Getting adequate sleep each night is vital for mental well-being because lack of sleep can lead to several mental health problems. I know what you’re thinking. “Who has time to get eight hours?” No one, but you have to make the time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a third of adults in the U.S. report that they get less than the recommended amount of sleep each night. 

Creating an enjoyable bedtime routine can help prepare your brain and your body for a restful night’s sleep. Shut down your computer, take your work hat off, get the kids to bed, and concentrate on yourself.

  • Enjoy a hot cup of tea
  • Relax in a warm bath
  • Read a good book 
  • Listen to music

That glass of wine you always considered self-care? It should actually be avoided. 

What are the long-term effects of not getting enough sleep? Shortage of sleep is “linked to a number of unfavorable health consequences including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression,” writes Verywellmind.com

Where it gets complicated is “sleep problems can lead to changes in mental health, but mental health conditions can also worsen problems with sleep.” Talking to a professional can help determine the factors contributing to your lack of sleep and discovering solutions. 

Journal and meditate

Many find it helpful to sit in a quiet place, reflect, and put emotions on paper. Journaling allows you to get all of your feelings out without any judgment from a third party. There’s something cathartic about writing down your inner thoughts and fears, as well as exploring past experiences you’re working through. 

Meditation is another personal activity that has emotional benefits. The Mayo Clinic shares some of those with us:

  • Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
  • Building skills to manage your stress
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Focusing on the present
  • Reducing negative emotions
  • Increasing imagination and creativity
  • Increasing patience and tolerance

Eat right

Dietary nutrients are critical for brain structure and function, therefore they have the potential for an intense impact on mental health. This means a healthy and balanced diet, along with supplements like CBD, fish oil, ashwagandha, and L-theanine are all ingredients to the successful health and wellness recipe. 

About 20% of adults in the U.S. report taking herbal products to treat medical illnesses, and that number is quickly increasing, especially Post-COVID. CBD, for example, interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the brain, which are the same receptors that affect our mood and behavior

While there is no specific diet on record to treat depression, “eating more of some foods and less or none of others can help some people manage their symptoms,” says Medicalnewstoday.com. 

Exercise

The mind and the body are very closely connected, which is why exercise has such a strong impact on mental well-being. I know if I don’t work out, I feel sluggish, have negative thoughts about my body, and feel unmotivated. Whether you like to run, lift weights, bike, or only have time to run around the backyard with the kiddoes, a regular exercise regimen is key to keeping your body functioning as it should.

The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health shares the benefits of exercise:

  • Improved sleep
  • Increased interest in sex
  • Better endurance
  • Stress relief
  • Improvement in mood
  • Increased energy and stamina
  • Reduced tiredness that can increase mental alertness
  • Weight reduction
  • Reduced cholesterol and improved cardiovascular fitness

Why? Exercise increases serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain, which boosts your mood. Trust me, exercise is one of the best natural ways to stay sane in a world that has been anything but. It all leads to feelings of happiness and the ability to conquer the world, which as we know, is wonderful for your mental health. 

Mental Health is Not One Size Fits All

lindsay giguiere, physical health, mental health, emotional support, self care

The importance of physical, mental and emotional self-care is at the forefront of our health and wellness journey, especially after the mental strain the pandemic caused. Optimal mental health is comprised of several components and is a lifestyle rather than a quick fix. It starts with education, resources, self-love, support, and the realization that you have the power to create your own successful wellness journey. It matters! 

Hope You Enjoyed the Read!

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Authored By: Lindsay Giguiere

Lindsay is an entrepreneur, influencer, and advocate with a passion to help women and their loved one’s thrive beautifully.

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