Technology connects us with a virtual world instantly through our myriad of devices and social platforms at any given moment, but it seems that most people are feeling increasingly isolated and stressed – even with the ease of connecting. Why is that? Regular “me time” to connect within ourselves is easily forgotten, unless we make it an intentional priority over scrolling through our Instagram feed. Between work, raising children, and other responsibilities, we tend to leave our well-being at the bottom of the list. Practicing some form of self-care every day is essential for one’s mental health, especially when feeling overwhelmed, anxious or detached. Maintaining balanced mental health is a skill that requires daily attention.
The good news: Taking small steps such as limiting your screen time in the evenings or scheduling 5 minute morning meditations is proven to have positive effects on your emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Just a few minutes of TLC will drastically improve your quality of life and won’t cost you anything – it’s worth trying right? While exercise and a healthy diet are the common recommendations to improve one’s overall health, practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, taking a hot bath, or learning yoga will help trigger the relaxation response. Learning relaxation techniques is an empowering way to prevent some chronic stress that can in turn cause a variety of illnesses and diseases. Creating a personalized routine that works for you is an investment in long-term health and happiness!
PsychologyToday shares helpful suggestions in an article entitled Self-Care: 12 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself. It emphasizes the importance of sleep, learning to say no to people, and enjoying the outdoors.
On the other hand, there is only so much self-care that can be done on your own. Are you struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, or a relationship issue? When living with certain psychological and/or emotional issues, it’s highly recommended to seek guidance from a professional. Psychotherapy can help you reach your optimal physical, mental & emotional well-being. Our therapists can help you uncover the root causes of your problems. Mental health professionals are here to listen without judgment and guide you to uncovering the answers within yourself. Choosing to work with a therapist is giving yourself the gift of self-care, committing to a special time to focus only on you – a very admirable and worthwhile investment! They can help you understand why certain behaviors or thoughts are occuring, what may be the root cause of your suffering, and facilitate change that can improve your life!
An individual may experience difficulty with practicing regular self-care for several reasons:
- Depression can sometimes inspire a lack of care for one’s condition: a loss of appetite or motivation, a lack of energy, or a sense of self-loathing. All of these can impair the ability to care for one’s self.
- Survivors of abuse or violence may find it challenging to maintain good self-care habits.
- Cognitive decline associated with dementia can impair self-care skills.
- Psychosis, a split from reality that may include hallucinations or delusions, can often have an effect on one’s ability to care for oneself.
Lakeshore Psychotherapy fully believes in the idea that, “You owe yourself the love that you so freely give others.” While we specialize in treating a variety of situations for our clients, here are some general best practices for self-care that are fun, practical and cost effective…
- Live Healthy – Eat nutritious food, get proper sleep, exercise regularly, and avoid consuming drugs and alcohol.
- Practice Good Hygiene – This doesn’t have to be a luxurious face mask or a long bath, but having good hygiene (such as daily showers, using deodorant, brushing teeth) are important for social, medical and psychological reasons.
- See Friends – Getting together with friends will help build a sense of belonging. Consider joining a support group or local meetup to make new friends!
- Get Active – Commit to attending free fitness classes, dance yourself silly in your own room, working in the garden, or walk around the neighborhood while feeling the sun on your skin!
- Scheduling “Me Time”- Journal, a long bath, meditate, recite self-love affirmations, unplug from social media and emails for at least an hour each day.
- Find Ways to Relax – Learn yoga, read a good book, drawing, or walking in the park.