Mental Self Care involves challenging yourself and your mind in some way outside of your regular work, as well as nourishing your mind. Great ways to do this can include learning, crossword puzzles, reading, and going to therapy.
Our mind’s health is our best investment in this world (besides our body). Material things and money is nice, but it doesn’t guarantee us security. The stock market or financial world could crash and burn tomorrow - where would that leave you mentally? Feeling stable and secure as well as peace within ourselves despite what is happening around us in the external world is truly priceless.
Self care has kind of gotten a reputation for being all about bubble baths, naps and vegging out watching Netflix. The reality is, a lot of it is “adulting” and doing things we don’t necessarily want to do. Isn’t it ironic how all of the “healthy” choices in life are often the more “difficult” choices? Ice cream or veggies … sleep in or go work out … watch TV or read a book … binge out on social media or spend time meditating ... you get my point. All of these “harder” choices can help us feel more mentally secure and stable, and ultimately prevent us from hitting “rock bottom”.
- Eating Healthy vs Conveniently (mental, physical, emotional)
Everyone already knows how much our mood and mental state is impacted by what we eat. I’m not here to tell you anything different, besides my own experience in how true that is. And the way I’ve realized how true it is was by eliminating most carbs, sugar, dairy, and processed “fake” foods from my diet. It’s pretty terrifying when you think about how much of our typical food consumption comes from bags and is processed, unnatural and full of toxins. That’s why I personally choose organic whenever possible, grass fed meat (when I eat meat), and a variety of whole, natural foods. I try to stay away from the “middle” aisles at the grocery store and stick with the foods that aren’t made in a factory to keep those toxins from building up in your brain.
Do I still crave chocolate when I’m on my period? YES. Do I let myself have things I crave? YES, but just in moderation. AND I’ll find the healthiest “real” option, such as dipping dark chocolate into some almond butter or organic peanut butter for my own version of Reese’s peanut butter cups. Yum!
- Reading vs Mindlessness (mental)
For mental stimulation, reading and learning is one of the best ways to nourish ourselves mentally. This is something I’m still struggling with incorporating into my daily routine, but it’s getting better. I feel much happier when I’m regularly reading a book or two vs. when I’m not.
- Crosswords and Puzzles vs Netflix (mental)
Playing games and solving problems that challenge you is a great way to spend free time and keep us sharp. It is even said to help prevent dementia and alzheimers. Lumosity is a great resource for these kinds of mental simulations!
They say that crossword puzzles and games are really great for your mind’s stimulation. However, it’s like shoveling dirt to dig a well, whereas activities like vigorous exercise is like using a bulldozer to move that dirt.
- Yoga & Exercise vs Netflix (emotional, mental, physical, spiritual)
Yoga promotes mindfulness (being present in the moment), which is one of the best things for your brain. It’s difficult to find moments in our life when we are truly present, but for me and many others, yoga enables that experience. Don’t get me wrong, some days I really really really don’t want to go to yoga -- mostly because it’s difficult to do everything that yoga asks. But the days when I resist are the days I know I need it the most.
- Deep Breathing vs stressing or being anxious (mental, emotional)
Need I say more? Practicing deep breathing on a regular basis (especially when we are upset) ensures that our brain is getting the oxygen it needs to function properly and calm down. There are a lot of great apps for breathing, such as Breathe+ or Prana Breath.
- Meditation vs sleeping in or watching TV (mental, emotional, spiritual)
This is something I’ve always known was the key to optimal mental and emotional health, not to mention spiritual nourishment. I’ve practiced it on and off my whole life, and get my biggest doses in through yoga; but it was something I struggled putting into my normal everyday routine.
This year I made the resolution to meditate each day. I’ve been using the Headspace app as part of my daily routine where I meditate first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee. I’m only at 10 minute sessions right now, but getting meditation in every day versus only a few times a week has greatly improved my mental well being.
- Regular Therapy vs not going to therapy (emotional, mental)
I absolutely LOVE my therapist, and view being in therapy as the best self care and personal development tool for mental health. Therapy has helped me heal from my complex trauma history, and has been incredibly helpful with reducing my depression, anxiety, stress levels, and improve my thinking patterns towards love and abundance - which is a big win for mental care!
To create the life--mind--and inner peace we want is an inside-out job. It starts with working on our self and keeping our mind “in check” in order to fully love and accept who we are. Then, and only then, can we spread light and love to others.
- Couples Therapy vs not going to therapy (emotional, mental)
Gosh, is it relieving to know that not only do I have my couples therapist available to me to keep my mind (and relationship) in check, but to know that I have a partner who is open and willing to take responsibility for himself and work on his own “stuff”. If you don’t have that in your relationship, I hope you get to feel that sense of reassurance, confidence and stability someday, because it is amazing.
Is couples therapy difficult? YES. But is it worth it to put in the maintenance and preventative work in a relationship? 1000000% YES. Therapy and couples therapy keeps me sane and feel at ease. Is it also nice to have a therapist call your partner out on his/her shit? Haha...yes! But you have to be prepared to be called out on your own shit too, and own up to it.
Probably biggest thing I’ve learned in life is we truly need to be a friend to ourselves, and we can do this by our thoughts and beliefs. We can either be our best friend or our worst enemy. So being kind to ourselves and having compassion and a love based mindset for ourselves is key.
Case in point, this post. :) Anything to get your thoughts out in a creative way is mental self care in my book! Express yourself and open up your throat chakra on a regular basis, or else your creativity (and jaw) can feel stifled.
Now I would love to hear from you.
What does mental self care look like for you? Is there anything you’d like to try to add in to your mental self care routine? Let us know in the comments below.
Thank you in advance for reading, commenting and sharing with love, compassion and kindness. You help make our cozy corner of the world wide web an awesome place!
Sending love, healing, and self care,