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Self-Care for the Good of Your Mental Health

Self-Care for the Good of Your Mental Health

Brad Krause at Self Caring
Self Care for the Good of Your Mental Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image via Pexels

 

Mental Health: Overcoming the Stigma

 

It wasn’t long ago when talking about mental health was considered uncouth. If you were struggling with an issue like depression, addiction, or anxiety, you were expected to shut up and bottle it all inside. While some people still face this pressure to keep it to themselves, the conversation is growing. In 2018, several NBA players including Channing Frye, DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love opened up about their mental health struggles. The league responded with an improved mental health program to address the needs of its players.

 

You may be thinking, “Why do all these basketball players have mental health problems? What is it about the NBA?” Of course, playing basketball doesn’t cause depression or anxiety. These players are simply using their platform to help remove the stigma associated with the difficult issues that we all have. Everyone everywhere struggles with their mental health at some point in their life, we just don’t talk about it. Since we don’t talk openly about this issue, most people don’t even know how to care for themselves when dealing with mental health struggles.

 

If your mental health problems are getting in the way of living a happy and productive life, it is important to talk to a doctor about your symptoms immediately. Your physician can recommend a number of treatments including medication, talk therapy, psychotherapy, meditation and lifestyle changes.

 

Self-Care for Mental Health

 

An important aspect of treating mental illness is practicing daily self-care. Mental health problems often distract us from doing the little things for our own good. A person dealing with depression and anxiety may forgo hygiene, nutrition, and sleep while struggling with their problems. By practicing self-care in even the most basic ways, you can help alleviate symptoms of mental health problems while you explore options for treatment.

 

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

 

All the stigma around mental health has lead a lot of people to try self-medicating with alcohol and depression. But substance abuse only makes mental health problems worse. In fact, it can lead to addiction — a mental health issue and physical disease all rolled into one. Avoid turning to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope and consider going into rehabilitation if you fear your drug or alcohol use has already gotten out of control.

 

Practice Healthy Sleep Habits

 

When you are struggling with mental health issues, quality sleep is one of the first things to go. Some people oversleep which causes fatigue, back pain, weight gain and headaches. Other people develop insomnia, a disorder with its own troubling consequences. Establishing a routine is the best way to avoid over and undersleeping. Make it a point to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at a consistent hour each morning. An hour before your bedtime, start winding down by turning off electronics, sipping warm herbal tea and doing an activity that allows the mind to unwind such as coloring, reading or meditating.

 

Reduce Stress

 

Life is about balance, and if you are going at 100 percent all day, everyday, you will eventually burn out.

 

  • Make your home a sanctuary separated from work so your mind knows to switch off the cortisol once you walk through the door.
  • Pick up a hobby that improves mindfulness like meditation, yoga, or painting.
  • Exercise releases dopamine, serotonin and endorphins in the body to release stress and improve your overall mood.

 

  • Engage in positive thinking. Staying optimistic is an effective way to manage stress.

 

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Everyone struggles with mental health issues, but the stigma surrounding them prevents us from having a conversation about them. Those dealing with serious issues should talk to a physician about treatment options. It’s important to embrace positive routines to help maintain our mental health in our day-to-day lives.

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