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Lindsay Laing, MA, RSW, RP, ICCAC, TITC-CT

Boost Your Mental Health with These Self-Care Tips

By Mellisa Howard, Head of Outreach, Stop Suicide

Photo Credit by Unsplash

Many people think that self-care is selfish, but it is actually a necessary part of ensuring people enjoy a balanced and content life. Psych Central defines it this way: “Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.”

Why You Need Self-Care For Good Mental Health

Why is self-care so crucial? Lifehacker lists these reasons:

  • It prevents burnout. When we take on too much, we are neglecting our own physical and mental health at a high price.
  • It reduces the impact of stress. Proper self-care means you are managing your stress in a healthy way.
  • It helps you refocus. Non-stop work has a way of reducing your productivity.

Commonly Overlooked Self-Care Tips

So, what are some easy ways you can make sure you take care of yourself? You may be overlooking some very simple and common tools for self-care.

  • Getting the Right Amount of Sleep

Everyone needs a different total amount of sleep, but all adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night. If you are short, go to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier each week for a couple of weeks to try to get back on track.

  • Setting Time for Relaxation

Everyone needs periods of relaxation. As mentioned, working without a break can be counterproductive. Some people swear by the Pomodoro Method, which advises scheduling breaks and work periods throughout your day. Read about this and three other techniques for taking breaks at Buffer.

  • Reducing the Stress in Your Life

You may have a hard time believing this, but your stress is controllable. The key is to determine what triggers your stress and then find manageable ways to cope with it. Sometimes, that means you can avoid the trigger, but you can’t just quit your job if it’s stressful. Instead, learn to turn stress into productive energy, as advised by

  • Learning to Say “No”

We get overwhelmed when we feel it’s our duty to say “yes” to everything that comes our way: opportunity, favours, late nights at work, etc. When we do, we are stretched too thin to give our best, even to our loved ones. Living a balanced life means prioritizing the best times and opportunities to say “yes” and learning to say “no” to everything else. Read this article from the New York Times on why it can be good for your career to say “no” more often.

Other Easy Self-Care Tips
What else can you do to create a self-care routine? It doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. In fact, you can create the right atmosphere in your own home.

Create A Spa Day At Home
A lot of people think self-care means a day at the spa, but with busy lives and frugal budgets, who can manage that? Instead, create a spa day at home. Think about what you like best at the spa (that you can manage on your own) and recreate it at home. Some suggestions include:

  • Dim the lights and light some candles.
  • Brew a cup of herbal tea.
  • Take a bubble bath with Epsom salt.

Use Meditation
This can be part of your spa day, or you can consider integrating into your daily routine. Play relaxing music that sets you up to meditate. Here are some helpful meditation techniques from

Create a Relaxing Bedroom Atmosphere
Make sure your bedroom is dark at night and your bed is firm but cozy. You might want to diffuse lavender essential oils and set a nighttime routine that allows you to wind down: a cup of tea, a non-violent book, and a white noise machine if necessary.

Self-care is critical for good mental health and living a life in balance. Use these simple tips to help you get there.