Bipolar Disorder

The Ultimate Guide to Self Care in 2019

January 31, 2019

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A whole new year for a whole new you - or at least that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s easy to want to embark on a journey of self love. Figuring out where to begin, however, is the hard part.

In this article we will cover:

  • Understanding the mind-body connection
  • Tips for improving mental health in 2019
  • Knowing when to seek professional mental health help

The Mind-Body Connection

Years of research have shown the mind to have a high correlation between that of the body. This is known as the mind-body connection, something that is essentially saying what happens in the mind reflects on the body, and what happens to the body reflects on the mind.  This is why it’s important to remember to take care of you brain just as often as you would any other organ.

15 Tips to improving your mental health


1. Keeping a bullet journal

To some, bullet journals may seem intimidating and time-consuming. However, the best way to prioritize your mental health is to set time aside for an activity for yourself. That time is not wasteful. It is beneficial, and using time to create something for yourself is rarely a bad idea.

Bullet journaling is something everyone can try. You don’t have to be super artistic or organized to give it a shot. These skills are something that will be developed over time, no matter your starting point. Journaling is supposed to be fun, creative, and inclusive. Each bullet journal is unique and can help organize important aspects of your life such as finances, mood tracking, and forming habits.

Another good idea is to keep track of things that you are grateful for. Studies show that making a daily note of what you’re grateful for increases determination, attention, enthusiasm, and energy. Maintaining a daily journal also influences behaviors, with increases in exercise, better sleep and lowered levels of anxiety and depression. Mood tracking helps to determine what affects how you feel and therefore demonstrates which behaviors and triggers to avoid in the future. Tracking your finances helps with eliminate stress, being consciously aware of your balances, and help save for emergency situations.

2. Setting boundaries

It’s incredibly important to set boundaries for yourself. Your relationships with others are important, but the relationship with yourself is something of even more value. By not having personal boundaries you prioritize other people’s needs before your own. It’s important to learn to say no. This involves a lot of self-awareness and knowing yourself well enough to determine when you’ve reached your limit and stopping before your limit is reached.

It’s also important to look at negative influences in your life and try to cut them out. This can be especially challenging, but it is worth it in the end.  

Setting boundaries involves a major balancing act. It’s important to set lines so that people don’t walk all over your and ignore your own needs, but it’s also key to remember that boundaries are not the same as walls.

3. Focusing on one thing at a time

Eliminate distractions. Think of your attention as a spotlight, so you can see everything clearly. Another tip to help your focus is to practice mindfulness, something that will heighten your ability to stay on task longer, switch between tasks less frequently, and perform the work more efficiently than trying to multitask.

4. Knowing when to take a break

It’s easy to let those you care about in and even easier to let their behaviors impact your life. This is why it so crucial to know your limits. However, you do not discover your limits by pushing yourself over the edge, but instead by sensing when you get to that point and stopping before it gets too late.

5. Noticing your self-talk

Notice the way you talk to yourself on a daily basis. The little voice inside your head can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It’s important to remember that you should be on your own side, rooting for yourself from your own corner. Be mindful of how tearing yourself down actually benefits you (hint: it really doesn’t.)

6. Seeing a therapist

While it’s good to be able to reach out to loved ones, it’s important to remember that they have their own baggage, too. Seeing a therapist also helps because it provides contact and communication with someone without bias.

7. Meditate

Meditation creates an overall increase in general well-being and happiness. People who meditate generally are better rested, less anxious, and exhibit more control in regards to emotional reactions. It also demonstrates changes in physical well-being as well. There’s evidence of lowered blood pressure, and strengthening of one’s immune system.

8. Unplug from social media

It’s easy enough to get caught up scrolling through your cell phone and browsing social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat often take up way more of people’s time than they probably realize. A lot of times, we are often so distracted by the online world that we forget what it’s like to be in the present. Time gets away from us, and we often finding ourselves feeling rushed or dazed by what we missed.

9. Getting plenty of sleep

Sleep sharpens attention, increases memory, fatigue, driving while sleep deprived can be just as bad/worse than driving while intoxicated. Tracking your sleep patterns can lead to positive changes because you can see where/what the problems are.

Tips to help sleep schedule:

  • Follow a regular bedtime and wake up time (because your body craves the consistency)
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine close to bedtime,
  • Exercise during the day
  • Regular exposure to natural light.
  • Meditation.
  • Use the bedroom only for sleep (not for work or using electronics, so that your brain doesn’t associate your bed as a place of busy activity)

10. Declutter the clutter

Decluttering promotes relaxation. Sharpens your mind. Relieves anxiety because you know where everything is/it doesn’t look a mess. Makes you feel like your life is at least somewhat put together. Gives you a sense of accomplishment/getting you life together.

Tips:

  • Surface purge
  • Donate.
  • Deep purge.
  • Donate. If you haven’t used it in the past six months, you can do without it. Get more totes/boxes, not to put NEW stuff in but to hold the stuff you’re not getting rid of. (Storage space is the best space)

11. Take time for yourself

Life can often get in the way of what’s important, and sometimes, that involves taking time for yourself. It’s all too easy to take a look at all the information laid out in your new year planner and get overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Set a specific time every day where you just get to relax and be by yourself.

Some self-care methods:

  • Baths
  • Journaling
  • Reading a book
  • Crossword puzzles

12. Surround yourself with positive energy

Look around at who you spend your time with and notice how you feel when you’re with them, when you’re planning to see them, and after you leave. If you dread making plans with them, anxiously await being able to go home, or feel drained after spending time with someone, you’re probably hanging out with the wrong type of energy. The people you surround yourself with should be those who make you happy.

13. Love your body enough to WANT to take care of it

Society today places a big emphasis on diet and exercise and general well-being. However, the emphasis is usually focused mainly your physical health, and stresses a diet culture of restricting and punishing yourself when certain goals are not met or when you go over a caloric limit. It’s important to realize that taking care of yourself is a need, but it should also be something that you want. If you don’t want to take care of your body, then who is? Your body is a temple, but most importantly, so is your mind.

14. Exercise because you want to, not because you have to.

Exercise has been shown to relieve tension and stress, boost physical and mental energy, and enhance well-being through the release of endorphins. It can also lead to having a sharper memory and improve critical thinking skills. Endorphins are feel-good chemicals, so they heighten mood as well as self-esteem and energy levels. Exercising because you want to is an all-around improvement because there’s no risk of punishment. You’re doing it because you want to, not because you have to.

Set goals that are manageable and realistic and take breaks when you need them. Try to stay away from the rewards/punishment system that society stresses.

15. Love thyself: the ultimate revolution

These days it is all too easy to look in the mirror and not like what you see, let alone feel anything close to love. In a society that takes perfect to a whole new level, self-love is the ultimate revolution. Instead of embarking on a journey of negativity and shame, embark on a journey of self-love and acceptance.

Now go and love

Over time, the way you view your mind will change the way your mind works. By learning to accept the way you are, you choose a path of enlightenment that surpasses any diet that you could ever try.


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