How Self-Care Can Reduce Stress and Boost Your Happiness

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Did you know that around 21 percent of people suffer from a mental health problem? Although the majority of mental health issues are mild, they can still have a life-altering impact on us. Our mental health influences every aspect of our lives, from our work to our relationships. Start acting today to improve the health of your mind so you can live a happier and more fulfilling life. These simple self-care strategies might just be all you need.

Get More Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important and overlooked things we can do for our general health. Sleep plays a significant role in how we feel emotionally and is vital to ensuring our brain functions optimally. Thrive Global explains that when you sleep poorly, you compromise your brain’s ability to determine what’s important and what’s not, leading to emotional instability and poor decision making. At the same time, lack of quality sleep tends to exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Try to get a better sleep during the night by setting your bedtime just one hour earlier than normal. This can help you get those extra zzz’s we all need. If you have problems falling asleep, check out these tips for improving your sleep hygiene.

Reduce Stress at Work

Work stress is one of the biggest threats to our mental health. Employees these days are expected to work harder and harder in less and less time. Plus, technology allows us to bring our work home and stay connected to the office outside of work hours.

You may be able to reduce job stress by changing your reaction to events at work. This involves avoiding knee-jerk reactions to negativity that often lead to worry, self-criticism and anxiety. If you’re stress about certain projects or tasks, talk to your employer, supervisor, or fellow employees about clarifying your role and resolving any issues you’re having with time constraints or workload. Finally, get up the courage to say “no” to work requests when you’re already feeling overwhelmed.

But work isn’t the only place where we can feel stressed. There are some changes you can make in your home to make it less stressful, such as bringing in some houseplants, going through your belongings to limit clutter, and purchasing an oil diffuser to help you relax.

Eat a Variety of Healthy Foods

If you suffer from fatigue, depression, anxiety, and low motivation, you’ll benefit from a change in diet. What ends up on our plate has a direct impact on our mental health since our brain chemistry is dependent on the vitamins and minerals we get from our food. One Green Planet recommends eating a colorful diet rich in fruits and vegetables to ensure you’re getting an array of essential nutrients. Reach for complex carbs such as quinoa, lentils, oats, and starchy vegetables instead of white bread and pasta.

Healthy fats should also have a place in your meal plan. The omega-3s in avocados, salmon and nuts play a crucial role in our brain functions. Keep a variety of healthy food options around so you avoid becoming bored with your diet choices. This will make it easier for you to stick to your healthy habits.

Develop a Relaxation Routine

No matter how busy your schedule is, carve out at least 10 minutes per day for relaxation. The idea behind relaxation exercises is to relieve anxiety, increase your focus, and improve your mental state. Some great relaxation techniques include mindfulness meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation. These relaxation activities work to quiet a racing mind by focusing your attention on your breath and internal feelings.

Exercise More Often

Try to get your body moving for at least 150 minutes each week. If you can’t find time in your schedule to work out, you can divide your activity hours into multiple 10-minute segments throughout the week. Ideally, you should engage in a combination of muscle-strengthening and aerobic exercises throughout your week. Aerobic exercise is particularly good for mental health, increasing the production of feel-good hormones and reducing stress in the body. Plus, getting in shape is sure to boost your self-esteem.

In our busy lives, we often forget to take care of ourselves. We find pride in our selflessness, boundless work ethic, and tendency to put others before us. You may even feel a sense of guilt about dedicating time for yourself. However, self-care is vital to your mental health and should have a dedicated place in your personal health care routine.

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