Mental Health Tip of the Month – February 2020 – Self Care
Despite February being a short month with only 28 days, it can feel like a long one due to the shorter days, lack of sunshine and cold weather. Being attentive to how we are feeling, along with being intentional about our self-care is important to both our physical and mental health. It’s essential to take care of yourself, not just for your well-being, but also for those you care about and support. Your self-care will help improve your energy, focus, ability to cope with challenges and overall life experience. And you are modelling wellness strategies for the children and youth you serve and/or parent. Here are some ways to ensure you are practising good self-care.
Pay attention to how you talk to yourself. Treat yourself with compassion and gentleness, as you would a dear friend. We all make mistakes. We all have tough things happen to us. Be gentle with yourself. You are doing your best.
Commit to your self-care. Persist with this, even when life gets busy. Especially when life gets busy. Trying a new skill or habit for 21 days in a row seems to increase the likelihood of maintaining a new practice. Having an accountability partner during those first few weeks can help!
So often it’s the little things, like taking time to eat and hydrate adequately, that get missed when we are busy caring for others. Be mindful of the foods you choose and how much water you drink. Food and water fuel us for the day. Pack healthy snacks. Use a reusable water bottle. Limit caffeine intake. Notice and enjoy your meals and snacks.
Aim to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Research has shown that getting five hours or less of sleep a night can lead to health problems. Getting enough sleep also helps you cope with the stresses of everyday life.
Physical activity increases your energy, enhances your immune system, reduces insomnia, stimulates brain growth, and even acts as an antidepressant. You can achieve these benefits with as little as a 30-minute walk. Plus, the endorphin production following physical activity is nature’s gift to you for stress management.
Supportive relationships are one of the most powerful influences on our sense of wellness. People who regularly spend time with friends and family show the highest levels of happiness. If you can’t see your loved ones every day, you can still send an email or make a phone call.
Make sure to take time for yourself during the day, to listen to music, take a few deep breaths, meditate, write in a gratitude journal, do a few stretches, take a brisk walk or do some other activity that helps you feel restored.
Be mindful of your thoughts and feelings, both positive and negative, as part of your self-care. Take time to reflect on what is important to you both personally and professionally. Your values and a sense of purpose help you focus on what is meaningful for you.
Please see https://smho-smso.ca/ for more information.