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How Self-Care Improves Mental Health and Makes You Happier

While things have gotten somewhat better, mental illness is still largely stigmatized in our modern world. However, the truth is that just about everyone will struggle with a mental illness at some point in their lives. An estimated one in five adults experiences a mental illness during any given year. One in 25 people experiences a serious mental illness that eventually interferes with his or her ability to participate in major life activities. And it’s not just adults — one in five adolescents aged 13 to 18 deals with a severe mental disorder during their youth. Left untreated, mental illness can lead to physical pain, substance abuse, chronic health problems, victimization, trauma, career setbacks, homelessness, incarceration, and suicide.  It is better to learn how self care improves mental health.

Self care improves mental health

Self-care is as important for your mental health as it is for your physical well-being. Not only are the mind and body intrinsically connected, taking the responsibility to perform self-care is important for personal growth. If you struggle with feelings of depression or anxiety, other mental illness symptoms, or addiction, try incorporating the following self-care practices as ways to facilitate your recovery and ultimate happiness.

Declutter Your Environment

Clutter and visual noise can lead to overwhelming feelings such as depression and anxiety. Decluttering your environment is one of the best ways to alleviate stress and support your overall mental health. To create a more serene environment, sort through your belongings and put each thing in either a “keep” or “discard” pile. Anything you keep should be assigned a new “home” where it always goes. When you know where something is supposed to be, it’s less likely to get placed on tabletops or on the floor. Anything you don’t want to keep can either be donated, sold, recycled, or trashed.

Take Time to Relax

We live in a society that praises excess. However, in order to have more things and money, people have to do more. This leads to people overworking, undersleeping, and generally avoiding any type of rejuvenating downtime. That said, relaxation is an important part of maintaining one’s health. Failing to take a beat and unwind can lead to burnout, which manifests in both mental and physical symptoms. On the other hand, people who relax more often tend to be more successful and productive. Relaxing clears your head and reminds you of your priorities. It allows your brain to actively rest and gets you in tune with your emotions. It even makes you more creative. Schedule some downtime if you’re feeling overwhelmed and give yourself a chance to recover from your depression or anxiety.

Go With Your Gut

While you should trust your intuition when it comes to caring for yourself, we’re not talking in metaphors here. The mind-gut connection is real, not just perceived. A variety of bacteria in the gut, known collectively as your microbiome, help digest food, regulate metabolism, reduce stress, and improve your mood. Eating foods with live cultures, like yogurt, and taking probiotic supplements can help keep your gut healthy, which can properly fuel your body and mind.

Make Sleep a Priority

Self care improves mental health

For some reason, a lot of people think that getting only a few hours of sleep a night is something to brag about. However, sleep deprivation can be as debilitating to your mind and body as binge drinking. And here at Love being alcohol free, we have discussed the problem with drinking too much.

Establishing a healthy bedtime routine is an important part of supporting your mental health. Getting a solid eight or more hours a night gives your brain time to recover so it can function better the next day. An hour or two before bed, get yourself in the right mindset to fall asleep. Lower the lights and temperature. Engage in relaxing activities such as reading or meditating. If you have a hard time falling asleep, try taking a warm bath or sipping a sleep-inducing tea. Most importantly, go to bed around the same time every night. In a few weeks, the habit will be ingrained in your body so it knows when it’s time to rest.

How Self care improves mental health

Self-care alleviates symptoms of mental illness while improving self-esteem. Tidying up your environment is a great way to relieve stress and prevent feelings of anxiety and depression. Relaxation is also important — people who take a break when they need it are more productive, creative, and healthy. Finally, never underestimate the importance of sleep. A tired brain is less able to handle the difficulties that come with mental illness.