Mental Health Mondays: Self Care as Prevention

Last week I took the opportunity to highlight how our body can physically respond to our mental and emotional health issues. Today, I would like to continue on from this, highlighting the benefits I touched on in that post of Prevention vs Cure.


Self-Care is one of the buzzwords of current times. As the stigma around mental health issues dissolves, self-care is seen as being as beneficial as medical intervention. So, what does self-care mean? Once viewed as more of a cosmetic luxury, the focus is shifting back to the traditional viewpoint as defined by Oxford Dictionary -


The practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.


Self-care is easy to incorporate into your daily life. You do not need more than twenty-four hours in a day. What helps to tailor a self-care plan to fit your own individual needs? It is very simple. It is a tool you have within your self and will cost you nothing.


AWARENESS



Once you internally engage your awareness, you will be able to gain insight and understanding as to the alignment of your health - mentally, emotionally and physically. Take some time to focus yourself from head to toe. Notice without judgement what your experience is. What are you feeling? Where are you feeling it? How does it feel? At this stage, why does not have to be asked. This simple exercise will take just five minutes or so of your time. The best part about it is it can be done anywhere - in the shower, on your commute to work (if you take public transport), or as you go to bed in the evening. Take a moment to sit with this experience. You may find it raises questions, or sheds light on patterns of physical ailments. This is very normal. All while being very unique to you.


**I understand that many of us carry pain and soreness as a result of injury or physical health concerns. These are to be managed with the assistance of your GP/ health practitioner. Separate from this, the purpose of this article is to help you learn more about your whole self.**


Symptoms you may recognise will vary from tension to fatigue, digestive concerns to skin irritations. Many of which can be prevented or remedied with ease:-


Quality Sleep

Most health professionals recommend approximately eight hours of quality sleep per night to ensure we maintain focus and alertness during the day.

How to achieve this -

  • The blue light on our devices and televisions disrupt our natural melatonin processes creating disturbances to our sleep patterns. By switching off half an hour or so before bed, the healing process can begin and our bodies can work their magic.

  • If your routine includes exercise later in the evening, incorporate lower impact and less strenuous activities such as yoga, walking or swimming at this time. Save the HIIT or pump classes for daytime

  • Prepare your bedroom for comfort - fully close blinds/ curtains, make the bed, wear weather appropriate pyjamas to avoid overheating or being too cold

  • Go to bed when you are tired. Sometimes anxious thought processes kick in when we can't get to sleep, therefore sleep eludes us. Incorporate some mindful breathing, working to let go of thought processes. This will aid in releasing the tension and relaxing you.

Hydration

Two litres or more of water per day helps us maintain our health, flushing out toxins and preventing symptoms such as headaches and fatigue.

How to achieve this -

  • Keep a reusable bottle of water with you at all times - if you like cold water, use an insulated bottle.

  • Monitor your caffeine intake - caffeine can heighten our responses and effect our sleeping patterns.

  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with water to help avoid a hangover.

  • If you struggle with drinking plain water, add a slice of fresh lemon, lime, green apple or cucumber to your glass for a delicate flavour boost.

Positive Diet

Our diet is not limited to what we eat or drink. Our whole diet consists who we connect with, what we read, watch and so much more. Toxic elements within these areas can contribute to poor mental health, a example being FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

How to achieve this -

  • Monitor social media use - How often are you browsing, what pages do you follow. If what or who you follow detracts from your mental and emotional health, block it!

  • Select News Sources - 2020 has proved how crucial unbiased, fact-based news reports are. Sensationalised stories can lead to anxiety or worry. Select a reliable factual source to educate yourself about world or local matters.

  • Be Cautious of Toxic Positivity - motivational quotes can be fantastic tools to pep us up. However, when relied upon or over used they have the power to bring about feelings of inadequacy or an eternal chase for a better circumstance. As humans, we are supposed to experience the full spectrum of emotions in a healthy manner.

  • Moderation - Like with our food diet, moderation is key to achieving a healthy lifestyle. For example - The occasional binge on Netflix is not a problem, however finishing multiple seasons of a series in a week or two can be cause for concern.

Time-Out

Burnout is the culmination of the 'keep on keeping on' and putting everything else first mindsets of today. As per my previous post, this can have a range of detrimental effects on our physical selves. Taking time is a great way to prevent this from happening.

How to achieve this -

  • When planning your calendar, allocate a 'block out' period each day or week. This can be as little as fifteen to twenty minutes per day, or a full day should you feel it necessary. If you can, once a month, book a block out day! Take the day as it comes - rest, exercise, surprise yourself.

  • Take your entitled breaks - it is easy to work through your lunch break or hold for the bathroom until you can't wait anymore. Don't! You won't be rewarded for this, instead, you could burnout resulting in days off work and illnesses.

  • Sit in the car for a few minutes - finish singing that song on the radio, take a deep breath to fortify yourself before going home, to work or an appointment.

  • Allow yourself time - do not push to the last minute. Consider the time taken to get from A-B, don't over book or double book your calendar. Allow for reasonable time between tasks.

These are just a few tips to include into your routine that will help you look after yourself and aid in preventing burn-out or severe side effects of anxiety or other mental health conditions. There are so many ways to tailor self-care to suit the individual needs of your health to achieve a strong well being.


For more information on how The Health & Wellbeing Haven can help you develop a suitable self-care plan, please call, email or message me for a free consultation.


Well Wishes,

Claire @ The Health & Wellbeing Haven

0438 198 949





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