Small doses of self-care daily can do wonders for your overall mental health
To ensure good mental health, it is important to make self-care a priority.
"Self-care is like our oxygen", said Barbara Randall, director of Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care Employee Assistance Program. It can be integral to our overall wellness.
Practicing self-care increases energy and our capacity to function daily.
Most people think of their bodies when it comes to self-care. While that’s true, there are other dimensions of self-care, said Randall. Self-care practices include financial, spiritual, environmental, intellectual, physical, and emotional wellness.
Oftentimes, people think self-care is an all-day event, like having a “spa” day, Randall said. While it’s completely fine to dedicate an entire day to self-care, it doesn’t have to be that way.
She insists just a small dose of self-care every day can have a positive impact on both the body and mind.
Take three minutes every morning to do positive, self-guided meditation. “I think if people were to recognize it, it can be as something as small as that,” she said.
Those working in the mental health field take in a lot of negative feelings from other people every day. So, for these people to continue doing that, process it, and not take it on, they have to be able to take care of themselves to be able to give to others, Randall said.
Self-care is not selfish. She said practicing self-care is investing in yourself, which then allows you to be more present in your interactions with others.
Building self-care into our daily lives, for just a few minutes, can do wonders.
Randall said at work, be sure to go for a walk on your lunch break. If you normally sit at your desk, go outside in the sunshine, breathe in the fresh air, have lunch and just enjoy the peace. Changing the environment is key.
At work, have things at your desk that bring you enjoyment like pictures of your kids, animals, or flowers, for example. When things start to get stressful, she said to look at those pictures and breathe, just for one minute.
Practice visualization. Randall said to think of a place that brings you joy. If it’s the beach, for example, close your eyes for a few minutes, breathe and think about sitting on that beach.
Before bed, ditch the binge TV watching or the cellphone scrolling. Instead, take a few minutes to write down five or six things that bring you gratitude. It could be good health, financial stability, a loving relationship; or anything positive.
Randall said to always surround yourself with things you love, whether it’s family, animals, flowers, or books.
Taking a few minutes of “me” time will help recharge the mind, body, and soul.