Special guest blog post by Brad Krause
It happens to the best of us — you get so busy with your various responsibilities you end up going weeks without taking the time to care for yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in putting others needs before your own. However when you neglect self-care, you not only put your physical health at risk, but your mental health can also suffer. Take the time out of your schedule to practice the following tips for self-care to help prevent mental burnout and exhaustion.
Pick Up a New Hobby
Life can’t be all about work — you need to have some fun! Starting a new hobby is a great way to make room in your life for enjoyment. Hobbies are also great for building self-esteem. If you are the type of person who can’t stand the thought of stamp collections, check out this list of hobbies to try if you’re not exactly the best at starting a new hobby.
The “wanting mind” is the term we use to describe all of our desires that keep us from being happy with what we have in the present. When we listen to the wanting mind too much, it leads to dissatisfaction, anxiety, and even feelings of depression. Meditation trains us to quiet the wanting mind and instead exist in the present. Over time, a healthy meditation practice permeates throughout your day, leading to a happier and more peaceful existence. You can practice meditation at home, but a lot of people find it helpful to join a yoga class, where people cultivate mindfulness in a communal setting.
Alcohol and drugs are crutches people use when they can’t support themselves. People use them as an escape to avoid what is really making them sad, stressed, or angry. Avoiding substance abuse altogether supports your mental health because you then have to confront your problems head-on and resolve them, not just push them aside where they grow and fester. Say no to drugs and alcohol and participate in activities that facilitate sobriety, especially if you have a history of substance abuse and addiction.
Stress is a natural part of life — a certain amount of it is even healthy and motivating. So while you can’t eliminate it entirely, you can reduce it. Taking the time to relax is a necessary act of self-care, but that’s not the only way to cut down on the amount of stress you feel:
- Get enough sleep. When your body and mind are tired, they have a harder time functioning and dealing with things throughout the day. This can lead to feeling excess stress over ordinary occurrences.
- Spend time with those you love. Intimate relationships provide necessary support in our daily lives while also making difficult situations easier to bear.
- Exercise helps alleviate the physical symptoms of stress. When you break a sweat, the brain pumps out doses of dopamine and endorphins that ease pain and tension. Any high-energy activity will do, so get moving.
Self-care is often about the little things we do to maintain our physical health. Everyday activities from brushing your teeth to going to the doctor for your annual physical exam are things we consider self-care. However, sometimes it’s about more than maintenance — it’s about making life enjoyable for the good of your mental well-being. It’s important to prioritize yourself by making time for hobbies and doing what you love. We often let the noise our “wanting mind” makes overtake us, but meditating can quiet it down. Alcohol and drugs only offer a temporary escape while escalating other problem. Staying healthy and sober can prevent huge problems down the line. Finally, while stress is a natural part of life, you can reduce it and its effects by doing things like sleeping enough, spending time with those you love, and exercising regularly.