Everyone needs a reset button. Something to help rejuvenate their mind, body, and soul. This can be hard sometimes. It can be even harder to maintain a positive mindset, especially, when there are so many external factors that you can’t control. Though mental health is commonly talked about nowadays, people still have a hard time finding a balance between taking care of their mind and their bodies. We are all so busy that we often forget to practice self-care. Be it by repeating positive daily affirmations to keep you going or finding an outlet to help you release your pent up energy. Acts of self-care behave as the reset button that one needs to maintain a healthy mind, body, and soul. It helps us improve and better control ourselves. From the way we think and feel to the way, we perceive and behave.
Here are some tips to help you start becoming the best person you can be.
1. Go Outside
Did you know that going outside has so many benefits not just for your body but for your mind as well? Going outside for just 15 minutes a day can help boost your Vitamin D levels and your creativity. Not only that but being exposed to sunlight can cause help to improve your mood and instantly get you out of your funk. This is because being outside stimulates your brain to produce more serotonin – a “feel good” hormone that affects your mood, helps relieve stress and make you feel more confident. Exercising while outdoors can also boost your endorphin levels which helps make you happier. Not only that but going outside can help increase your alertness during the day, make you less anxious, and improve your sleep.(“All The Psychology”) (Matthews 2017) (Stein.stein 2018)
2. Unplug for a day
Our society has created a generation of copy-cats. This is due to how much social media is a part of our lives. And is one of the many reasons that it’s quite easy to get dragged into a cycle of comparison. Social media has become a means of escaping reality. That most people don’t realize that all that they’re doing is imprisoning their minds further. Studies have even shown that constantly being online makes you more susceptible to having mental health problems, sleep issues, stress, and lack of self-confidence. That’s why unplugging for a day has many benefits. Being offline teaches you to value those around you and to appreciate human interactions.
Not only that but we are able to accomplish a lot more during the day. Taking time away from your phone and social media can improve our mood greatly. This is because you are taking a step away from the constant flooding of expectations that social media provides. It also teaches you to appreciate the present rather than the past. A break from being online has also proved to help break the cycle of comparison and obsessive competitiveness that we experience unconsciously. In turn, this helps improve your self-confidence, change your perception on life, and most importantly improve your approach when it comes to setting and achieving your goals. (Stein.stein 2018) (Chavez 2016)
3. Catch them ZZZ’z
We have all at one point or another experienced being sleepless. It absolutely sucks. Lack of sleep not only affects us mentally but also physically. We feel drowsy, anxious, and experience a lack of concentration. This is because it has been found that lack of sleep has the same effect on a person as being drunk. Lack of sleep also contributes to mental illnesses, cause a person to look much older than they are, and affect aspects of brain functions. Not only that but poor quality of sleep has been found to affect your metabolism and eating habits negatively. And, simply making sure that you get enough sleep can dramatically improve your concentration, productivity, and health.
Getting proper sleep also helps decreases your chances of developing numerous illnesses, such as strokes, cancer, and type-2 diabetes. It can also improve your memory, creativity, and most importantly decrease your stress levels. Getting enough sleep also helps a person gain better control of their emotions, and understand social cues better. (“10 Reasons Why Good Sleep Is Important”) (Stein.stein 2018) (“11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep”)
4. Water, Water, Water
Making sure that you drink enough water throughout your day is by far the easiest way of practicing self-care. Not only that but making sure that you are properly hydrated comes with so many benefits. Drinking enough water can help make you physically refreshed and awake. It has also been found to help prevent migraines, improve your skin, and brain performance. Did you know that dehydration can cause people to be cranky, impair concentration and memory, and increase feelings of anxiety and fatigue? If you ever feel like this throughout your day it’s probably because you’re not drinking enough water. So, make sure you drink up. (“7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Enough Water”) (Stein.stein 2018)
5. Write it out
This is a personal favorite of mine. I find that creative writing is one of the best forms of self-care. It’s not only easy to do but it’s something that is only for you. Journaling allows you to let out all your thoughts and any pent up emotions that you have. It is an amazing tool that helps you better understand yourself. The process of journaling and creative writing allows you to fully dive into your emotions and thoughts. This is because it causes you to blow up and break down everything that you are feeling, thinking, and going through. It also engages both hemispheres in our brain which helps us heal and rewire our mindset into being more positive. As a bonus factor, it also helps increase our IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence) because it causes us to expand our vocabulary and horizon of understanding. While also helping us identify what things benefit us and what we needed to cut off. (Nguyen & Nguyen 2017) (Scott 2019)
6. Eating Right to Feeling Right
Our diet has a big impact on the way we feel physically and mentally. So make sure you start your day off right. Eating a healthy breakfast has been proven to have numerous benefits. It helps you avoid becoming overly hungry later on during the day and allows you to maintain healthy blood sugar levels – which is especially important if you have diabetes. A healthy, balanced diet daily also makes sure that your body is provided the nutrients that it needs to keep your bones, organs, and muscles in optimum shape. It will also make you feel much more energized and confident. Not only that but certain foods have been found to improve your mood and battle mood disorders. Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, a professor of physiological science at the University of California, Los Angeles, says that Omega-3 fatty acids help improve your memory, ability to learn, and battle mood disorders such as schizophrenia, dementia, and depression.
A balanced diet with limited processed foods can help you stay within your daily limit of calories without having to keep count of them. Plus, pairing a healthy diet with exercise has been found to improve your physical, mental, and emotional health. This is because not only are you providing your body with the nutrients that it very much needs but you are also finding a healthy alternative to take time away from your stressors. Both which help get your body into optimal shape. (“Benefits From Eating Healthy”) (“5 Benefits of Healthy Habits”) (Crichton-Stuart) (HHS Office & Council on Sports 2017)
7. Inhale Positivity, Exhale Bullshit
Negative emotions have been found to narrow your mind and focus your thoughts on the small picture, – which is good when it comes to fight or flight situations but not when dealing with long term situations. This because our brain responds to negative emotion by shutting off the outside world and limiting the options you see around you. Experiencing positive emotions has the complete opposite effect on our brain. Positive emotions cause us to see much more possibilities within our life – both in the short term sense and in the long term.
Barbara Fredrickson, a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, did a study on the effects of positive emotions and found that positive emotions broaden your sense of possibility and open your mind up to more options. Not only do you feel on top o the world when experiencing positive emotions but it’s a feeling that doesn’t stop after a few minutes of feeling good. Positivity breeds positivity. A good feeling will cause you to think much more positively. Positive thoughts help enhance ones ability to build skills and develop resources that benefit you later in life – like people skills, and problem-solving. Looking at things from a half glass full point of view will help you feel lighter and happier because rather than focusing on the downside will help you mature and broaden your horizons. (James Clear 2019) (Tracy 2018)
8. Keep On Moving
We spend so much of our time indoors sitting at a table working or laying down on your bed while on your phone that we become lazy and tend to wallow in our stress and exhaustion. We don’t spend enough time being active. People tend to work out or be active either because they are trying to lose weight, maintain weight or they just love a certain sport. Exercising is a great way to relieve pent up emotions. Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. This is because being active helps increase brain production of the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which relieves the feeling of depression. It also increases the production of endorphins which help you feel more positive and reduce the perception of pain.
Being active for at least 30 minutes a day can help reduce the risk of health problems. Regular exercise also increases your stamina, which makes your heart and lungs stronger and increases the muscular endurance that helps you cope better when it comes to everyday physical tasks – such as carrying groceries or walking to and from places. (Department of Health & Human Services 2012)(“General benefits of being active”)(“The Top 10 Benefits of Regular Exercise”)
9. Me, Myself, and I
We live in a very chaotic society and sometimes we forget to take time out of our crazy busy schedules for ourselves. Spending time on yourself by yourself will help you to clear your mind and get back in touch with your intuition. We spend so much times obsessing or taking care of other people all the time that we forget who we are. We lose touch with what really matters to us because we focus so much of being there for everyone but ourselves. Solitude allows your brain to reboot and helps you unwind – be it your thoughts, feelings, or just relax. Not only that but spending time alone can help improve your concentration and increase productivity. Being around people all the time can distract you from focusing on your goals and your own workload.
Spending some alone time can also help improve depression symptoms because being alone gives you a chance to deal with your stress in a healthy way and process your thoughts and feelings at your own pace. Learning to handle your mental demons can help build and strengthen your mental strength. Studies show that the ability to tolerate alone time has been linked to increased happiness, better life satisfaction and improve one’s stress management. (“6 Reasons You Should Spend More Time Alone”) (Designs 2018)(“GET IN TOUCH”)(Morin 2017)
10. Use the Power of NO
It is human nature to be empathetic, sympathetic and to want to help other people out despite not wanting too. We say yes to so much that our yes’s have lost its power. Learning to say no from time to time will help you gain back control of your life and how you spend your time and energy. It will also make your yes’s mean more. We spend so much of our time doing things for other people and caring for them, yet we don’t do the same thing for ourselves. Saying no allows you to be more honest about your feelings and it also allows you to spend more of your time doing things that you enjoy, guilt-free. You can spend more time focusing on you and your mental and emotional well being. It will also allow you to focus more on your list of priorities without the worry of dealing with other people’s issues and problems. Not only that but learning how to say no will also strengthen you as a person. (Khoury 2018) (2019)(DiPirro 2015)
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