How Self-Care Can Positively Affect Your Mental Health

Neglecting to do the things that make you feel well in your mind can have a domino effect that leads to lasting health issues.

If you tend to be one of those individuals who perpetually puts themselves last, it’s about time you established a routine to start prioritizing self-care each and every day. Neglecting to do the things that make you feel well in your mind can have a domino effect that leads to lasting health issues. For example, if you’re stressed, your brain isn’t functioning properly — which means you’re not going to be running on all cylinders and are likely to make errors and feel cranky. Once you start to take better care of yourself, you’ll find that it will be difficult to go back to your old habits as you’ll be a happier and more productive person.

Saying “No” Will Alleviate Stress And Anxiety

Self-care means accepting that it’s okay to say no when it’s going to compromise your mental state. Saying yes to everything (even things that don’t bring you pleasure) and appealing to everyone else’s schedule but your own is a surefire way to promote stress and anxiety. Before responding to an invitation or favor, take a hard look at whether it’s going to serve you. Sure, sometimes you have to help someone out by returning a favor, but look at each scenario individually before deciding which direction you’re going to take.

Sleeping Equates To Sharpness

Approximately 40 million Americans deal with chronic sleep deprivation issues. Along with decreased mental function, lack of rest also contributes to problems such as depression, anxiety, risk of heart disease, and a volatile immune system. Not to mention, when REM sleep is disrupted (the phase that stimulates the brain and prompts learning), it can prohibit you from memory retention and clear thinking. Establish a routine that promotes a consistent bedtime, (60-70 degrees for the room temperature, regular exercise, a comfortable bed, and a sleeping ritual like a warm bath) to ensure proper shut-eye.

Self-Care Can Help Recovery Survivors Stay On Track

Considering 40 percent to 60 percent of drug and alcohol recovery survivors experience relapse, self-care is a crucial addition to overall recovery. Since this can also be a period of self-exploration, trying a new hobby, meditating, taking up yoga —  basically anything that puts yourself first —  can help with sobriety and increased mental health.

Eat Well To Boost Your Spirits

While self-medicating yourself is never a good idea, proper nutrition can alleviate feelings of depression while making it easier to concentrate. If you’re not sure where to start, look no further than the tried and true food pyramid. By eating the correct balance of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats (think olive oil, almonds, avocado), you will have all the tools you need to fuel your mind as well as your body. Research shows that omega-3-rich foods such as nuts, sardines, leafy greens, and fatty fishes like salmon can improve mood, so make an effort to avoid fast and processed meals as they’re void of the vital nutrients our mind needs to function on all cylinders.

Self-care is about so much more than daily tasks. With that in mind, basics such as proper sleep, diet, and recreational activities can make a world of difference when it comes to mental health. Remember that putting yourself first doesn't mean you’re selfish — rather, you’re doing what you need to do in order to achieve balance in your life. Should you feel as though you’re doing everything you can to improve your lifestyle yet not achieving the desired result, don’t be ashamed to consult a therapist. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to an objective party in lieu of a loved one when the chips are down.

Brad Krause believes strongly that we all have the potential to be the best versions of ourselves we can possibly be – but that it depends on how well we prioritize our wellness in taking care of ourselves – an approach which is very much in sync with the work of

Through his website, Self Caring, Brad's mission is to help people discover that it comes down to prioritizing our own wellness through self-care.