Take Care of Yourself First
Written by Savannah Heck
Taking care of another person, in any capacity, can be exhausting. Whether you are a parent or a friend, we’ve all helped someone else in their time of need. However, when is the last time that you took time for you? When it comes to helping someone in a time of crisis, it is important to make sure that you too are in a healthy state of mind. To quote Eleanor Brownn, an author whose career is built around positive self care, “You can’t serve from an empty vessel”.
Here are some excellent ways to keep in touch with your mental health, and ensure that you are ready to help when others need you.
Develop a Routine
When you develop a healthy routine for your day, you eliminate many small decisions that otherwise cause stress. Often, people without routines are more stressed, sleep less, eat unhealthily, and use their time ineffectively. Sticking to a routine can mean a steady sleep schedule, time to prepare healthy meals, and the discipline to finish tasks both large and small.
Making a routine is easy—it’s sticking to it that will take some time. Positive habits can be difficult to build. However long it takes, sticking to your routine will be worth it when you see the benefits. By establishing a routine, you not only help yourself, but you influence others around you to make better choices.
Oftentimes when we think of goals, we think of them in a professional context. While professional goals are good to have, it’s important to think of personal goals to achieve as well. Your goal can be anything. Learning a different language. Creating the perfect chili recipe. Drinking a glass of water with breakfast every morning. The time you spend achieving your goals can vary. What is important is that you are working toward something, and that you recognize your accomplishments.
When setting goals, it’s important to remember a few things. First, that writing them out on a piece of paper can help you stick to them. Second, that setting a realistic timeframe is important. You can’t learn a new language in two months, but you can sign up for classes. Breaking your goals down by time and steps can make them more manageable.
Take time for Joy
What makes you happy? For some, this can seem a daunting question. Whether it’s spending time doing your favorite hobby or spending time with another person, keep what gives you joy at the forefront of your life.
Once you’ve decided what makes you happy, work it into your routine. This does not have to be a huge commitment, either. Even five minutes a day of a joyful activity can help you take care of yourself. If you feel you need more time with your activity, make it happen. There are so many responsibilities in life, and at times it may seem impossible, but there’s always time for you. You can start small, but make it a goal to spend more time doing the things you love. It’s all about balance.
Get Physical Exercise
Exercising is one of the best ways to feel better physically and mentally. Numerous studies like this one explore the link between physical exercise and mental health
If you think that exercise isn’t for you, think again. There is always a way to get active. Taking a half hour of your day to take a walk may seem like a major commitment, but the results will speak for themselves. You may even find that exercise becomes one of your favorite activities!
These are just a few ways that you can manage your mental health through self care. Building good habits will take time, just as anything does, but it will be worth it. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll influence those around you with your good habits.