Self-care is kind of a buzzword lately. Every magazine you open gives you tips on how you can take better care for yourself, and in doing so, live your best life possible. You know why? Because it works! Who doesn’t feel better after taking 15-20 minutes to relax and restore?
Sometimes, it is hard to reach that place where you can feel “taken care of,” and feel like your spirit is lifted. Sometimes, we’re in a bad place, and we can’t find it the strength to do nice things for ourselves. I have been there. I am still there sometimes. This past year has been an eye opener for me as far as figuring out what I need to feel emotionally well, and finding the strength to go about getting it.
There is no shame in struggling with mental health, but there are some easy steps you can take TODAY to make the journey a little more manageable.
7 steps to better your emotional health
Read books designed to encourage you.
I wrote about some great personal development books the other day. Like I mentioned earlier, I have spent a lot of time in the past several months trying to figure out what was going on in my mind and what I could do to start feeling better.
I truly believe getting even a small amount of personal development in each day will help you feel better. Pick out a book that inspires you and spend 10-15 minutes a day reading it or listening to it. Bonus step: Choose a pretty notebook and a pen with your favorite colored ink and write down your thoughts as you read. I am currently reading this GORGEOUS book by Jacqueline Pirtle called 365 Days of Happiness. In it she says:
[…]ask yourself these questions:
-How do I feel right now?
-What do I need right now?
-What do I desire right now?
-How can I serve myself better?
365 Days of Happiness, page 34
Use these questions as jumping off points in your daily self-improvement exercises. There are also a lot of really great ideas for journaling prompts and self care exercises on Pinterest!
Get some physical activity.
You don’t have to go out there and run 10 miles. But if you spend even 15 minutes doing something that will increase your heart rate, you will be grateful for the rush of endorphins.
I definitely suggest starting slow. Make it a goal to walk around the block on your lunch break each day. You can gradually build up from there. After a few weeks, you might even feel confident enough to jog!
Some of my favorite physical activities that can be done in a short amount of time:
-A nice walk outside
-The elliptical trainer
-Doing strength exercises like bicep curls and crunches and leg presses
Science has shown that regular exercise is vital for improving mental health. I boosts endorphins and dopamine levels— feel good chemicals that make you feel happier. So make it a priority!
Choose foods that nourish you.
Certain foods have the capacity to make you feel mentally better. Check out this short list of foods in the picture above you can incorporate into your diet daily to make yourself feel better. (Hello, dark chocolate! I’m coming for you!)
You may not feel better immediately. It will take time. But making a habit of eating healthier, and especially specific foods will make a difference in the long run.
Take care of your physical appearance.
This is one I struggle with at times, but I think it is truly important. When you wake up, set aside 20 minutes. I think we all have that. Set your alarm for 20 minutes earlier if necessary. Once you’re awake, do the following:
-Brush your teeth
-Wash your face
-Take a 5-10 minute shower
-Comb your hair
-Put on deodorant
-Apply a little make-up.
-Put on clothes.
I have been so inspired by my friend Amy (the genius behind Amy of all Trades) She posts super cute hair style ideas and make up tips and it makes me want to actually make an effort. Definitely check out her page if you need some inspiration. (She is also on Facebook and Instagram.)
Go for a check up at the doctor.
If you’re feeling really run down, it might not be a bad idea to check in with your primary care physician. Get some blood work done and make sure your vitamin B and D levels are where they need to be. They can also make recommendations for specialists that might be appropriate for your situation.
Do something artistic.
I LOVE coloring. I cannot draw to save my life, so I rely on others to create the artwork for me to color. Check out this adorable coloring book that’s pretty cheap on Amazon. If you want to just print something out, click here to check out my board on Pinterest for adult coloring pages. Order, or print something out, grab some colored pencils, and be amazed at how much better you feel.
Talk to someone.
This has been helpful- nay, critical- in my beginning to get well. Share your struggles with a trusted friend. Or, like me, start a blog about them. There really is no limit to how your battles can positively impact others, and in doing so, help you as well. You just have to take the first step.
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These are only a few ideas. There are so many more I could have possibly written about! What do you do for yourself regularly to better your emotional health? I would love to hear what you come up with in the comments!
Make sure you share this post! You never know who it might benefit.
Looking for a safe space to discuss mental health and connect with others? Join my private Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1206005752776704/