Why is it so easy to take care of others but so hard to prioritize taking care of ourselves? We constantly shower our friends and family with love and kindness but forget about ourselves. It's time to get in the habit of practicing self-care this summer because your mental health and wellness depend on it.
How essential is self-care?
If you are wondering whether or not self-care is important, the answer is simple— it is. It should not be viewed as a luxury but as an important part of your daily life. It's the activities that help you feel your best physically, mentally, and emotionally. As you incorporate self-care into your routine, you'll notice your mental health improving.
Think about this for a minute; most people have a regular appointment with their hairdresser. You may do the same because you feel uncomfortable when your hair is unkempt. So, even though no one pushes you to make an appointment, you do it because you know it will help you feel your best. The same is true for self-care.
Self-care and mental health
It's all too easy to put self-care on the back burner when life gets busy. But self-care is one of the last things that you should cut from a busy schedule because removing it can negatively affect your mental health. You may notice that you start to feel more tired, burnt out, and anxious. Little problems may start to seem like big problems that quickly become overwhelming.
If you ignore self-care long enough, you may begin to struggle with things like anxiety and depression. In addition, if you are diagnosed with a mental health disorder, you may find that a lack of self-care makes it more difficult to manage your symptoms. Other consequences of ignoring self-care include:
Strain in relationships
Errors at work
Not feeling motivated
Stomach aches, headaches, and chronic pain
This is why practicing self-care is essential for your mental health and wellness.
Self-care tips to help you get started this summer
If you struggle with making time to take care of yourself, these tips can help you get started with self-care:
1. Celebrate your success
This is a simple way to start self-care. Recognize and thank yourself every time you make progress. Pat yourself on the back and be encouraged by what you have done. It's important to learn how to recognize our own successes and celebrate them.
It's easy to get carried away in always striving for more or trying to reach the next goal, but there are a lot of ways you can thank yourself this summer.
Plan an outing with your friends
Take a trip with your family
Go to your favorite park to relax
Take an afternoon off
Keep a journal of your successes
Thanking yourself is a way of prioritizing your happiness and comfort. It can also help build confidence and boost your self-esteem. If you've been feeling down, focusing on your "wins", even the small ones, can help give your mood a boost.
2. Eat fresh
With the warm summer weather comes locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. In the summer months, you may want to focus on lighter meals for those hot evenings. Hitting the local farmer's market can give you a fun activity to enjoy for a day and delicious, healthy food to include in your meals.
You can also combine self-care efforts by having a barbeque with friends or family. Have everyone bring a dish to pass. This allows you to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, good food, and fun company.
3. Build in time to rest
Even though school is out and kids get a break, summer can be a busy time for adults. There are lots of other activities that pop up, vacations to take, and places to run your kids around. If you're not careful, you can end up exhausted by the time fall rolls around. Be intentional about building in time to rest into your schedule.
Think of your body like a machine. You can't run it 24/7 without it eventually breaking down. Taking time to rest and enjoy yourself can go a long way in helping you have the energy to keep going. Read a book out in the hammock, take a Sunday nap, and sneak away for a long weekend to the lake.
4. Enjoy your summer hobbies
Spend time doing the things you love. We had a long winter, but the nicer weather is here. It's time to shift your focus to your summer hobbies.
Hobbies are activities that energize you and help you feel your best, so make time for them this summer.
Learn a new language
Play an instrument
Color or paint
Photograph the world around you
Go stargazing on a warm summer night
Get out in your garden
Go swimming or boating
Spend time outside and soak up summer
There is no right or wrong when it comes to hobbies. Choose what helps you feel your best and incorporate it into your summer schedule.
5. Spend time with people you enjoy
Make time for friends and family this summer. If you have loved ones far away, consider traveling to see them. Go golfing with your friends. Get ice cream with another family after your kids' baseball game. Go camping with friends.
Building a strong support community can make a significant difference in your mental health and wellness. Be intentional about building relationships with people you trust so you can support each other and encourage each other throughout life.
Give therapy a try
While self-care can play an important role in helping us feel our best, there are times when it's helpful to get support from a mental health professional. If you are struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or have any other concerns, contact us today to be matched with a therapist who can help with your unique situation.