Daily Self-Care Practices That Can Change Your Life
(Guest Post by Julie Morris)
They say how you spend your day is how you spend your life. And it’s true! The actions you take every day combine to create the person you are, the things you prioritize, and the values you uphold. When you eat healthily and exercise every day, you become someone who values health. When you set healthy boundaries in your relationships and take the time, with daily self-care, to acknowledge your own needs, you become a person who has the utmost self-respect.
Sadly, many of us overlook the small, daily self-care actions that can have life-changing results when repeated consistently. The good news is that it’s never too late to pick up new habits! In this article we explores some basic but often-overlooked self-care practices to protect and improve your mental health.
Make Healthy Choices Every Day
Living a healthy lifestyle has a direct result on your mental health. For example, making healthy food choices promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which positively affects the production of feel-good brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. As a result, you’ll experience fewer mood fluctuations and a clearer mind.
Keep an eye out for opportunities to make healthy choices every day. When you need a snack, reach for fruit, nuts, or smoothies instead of grabbing a bag of chips or sipping a soda. Not only will healthier snacks support your mental wellbeing, but they’ll keep you energized through that afternoon slump! These are daily self care choices that make a big difference.
Work Towards Reducing Financial Stress
Financial stress can take a real toll on your mental health. If you find yourself worrying about finances often, try to take daily actions to relieve your financial concerns. This might mean tracking your spending, avoiding impulse buying, sticking to your grocery list, or putting a portion of your pay check towards an emergency fund.
Talk About Your Mental Health
If you’re struggling with your mental health, consider talking to a professional. Healthline explains that talking with a therapist about issues that cause distress can help you better understand how and why these issues are impacting your life. Your therapist will work with you to develop coping strategies to help you manage your thoughts and feelings so you can get back to the life you want.
Keep in mind that online therapy is available for anyone who feels more comfortable talking to someone from the comfort of home. You can easily connect with online therapists through telehealth platforms. Many of these platforms accept insurance and maintain manageable out-of-pocket costs to ensure therapy is affordable and accessible to everyone. Remember, your daily self-care checklist needs to include your mental health!
Set Boundaries in Your Relationships
Setting boundaries is another important way to protect your mental health. Without boundaries, it’s hard to have respect for ourselves and our needs. Maintaining weak boundaries can mean losing your sense of self and individuality. Try to get in the habit of setting boundaries in your day-to-day relationships.
One way to do this is to command respect from people you communicate with. Speak up for yourself, put your foot down, and don’t let people take advantage of you. This can feel very uncomfortable at first, but keep at it and people will start paying attention! If you’re a people pleaser, try saying “no” once in a while.
Setting boundaries also means carving out time for yourself and your interests. This is especially important for parents and others who hold caregiving roles. Allowing for “me time” will help you stay connected to your true self and engage in activities that make you feel your best. As a result, you’ll feel happier, fulfilled, and more sure of yourself.
Choose the Harder Route
Often, choosing the harder path now will make life easier in the future. This is because doing something difficult often means breaking from routine and leaving your comfort zone, making room for growth. Doing what’s convenient isn’t always what’s best for you! Instead of chasing instant gratification, choose a daily self care path that you know will nourish your mental wellbeing and reward you with a greater sense of fulfilment.
Get in the habit of choosing the harder route when you face daily decisions. For example, choose to pick up a book if you really want to scroll on your phone. Choose to call a loved one instead of texting them. Choose to cook dinner at home instead of ordering takeout. Choose to bike to work instead of driving. Embrace discomfort!
Make Sleep a Priority
Sleep plays a very important role in our sense of well-being. Getting enough high-quality sleep every night can make it easier to cope with stress, manage difficult emotions, and maintain cognitive skills like memory, attention, and learning. Poor sleep quality will only worsen your symptoms if you suffer from anxiety or depression.
Despite this, many of us outright sabotage our sleep quality by procrastinating our bedtime, binge-watching shows late into the night, sleeping in on the weekends, and neglecting exercise. If there’s one thing you should add to your daily self-care to improve your life, make sleep a priority! Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to avoid shifting your circadian clock and fighting against the hormones that regulate sleep and wakefulness. If you’re still struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, 20 to 30 minutes of daily exercise can do wonders!
You don’t have to overhaul your lifestyle to produce positive changes in your mental health. Simple daily habits can stack up to create some significant improvements in how you feel! Get in the habit of making healthy choices, even if this means choosing the harder path and embracing discomfort. Whether it means budgeting to reduce financial stress, talking to a therapist, or going to bed earlier, the difficult choices you make today will pay off in the future!
A bit about the Author:
“Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts.”
You can find Julie on her website: Julie Morris – Life and Career Coach