Like putting on a seatbelt, taking care of your mental health should eventually become second nature. A great place to start is just being aware. Ask yourself: What’s affecting me mentally? What brings me joy? What causes stress? Awareness of these influences can make a big difference.
From there, lay a foundation for your mental wellness by prioritizing these four things: enough sleep, proper nutrition, regular exercise, and social connections.
Next, pursue something that brightens your day. Pick up a new hobby. Practice gratitude. Try meditation through an app like Headspace. Reach out to an old friend. Or spend a Saturday morning doing something you love.
Self-care can also include reaching out for help when needed — for example, by identifying a therapist or attending a support group. The best way to help ourselves is being honest about what we need.
One key aspect to self-care is relieving the stress in your life. Jogging, meditation, and breathing exercises are all great ways to do that. But it’s just as important to address the root causes of that stress as well. Professional or family responsibilities, finances, and social media can all be stressors at times.
As you make a plan for addressing these stressors, think about your strengths as a person. Are you super creative? Are you the one friends turn to for advice on health, money, or travel? Do they rely on you for your humor, your judgment, or your leadership?
As you focus on self-care, identifying the areas in which you excel can boost your self-confidence, reinforce your sense of purpose, and create opportunities for you to apply your strengths.
Do you acknowledge and successfully manage your feelings? Expanding your vocabulary to more accurately name your emotions is a helpful starting point.
Do you feel connected with and supported by the people around you? Whether by sending a text, making a call, or mailing a card, initiate connections with friends and family.
Are you curious and open to new experiences and adventures? Try something new. Take an online cooking or yoga class, or safely explore a new park in town.
Do you find opportunities to move throughout the day? Take a 10-minute walk. Stand up and stretch every hour. Park farther away at the store.
What are your core values? How would you define your purpose? Identify the values that are most important to you. Think about the mark you want to leave on the world.
Do you find it easy to balance your career with other interests and goals? Be intentional about setting aside time for life outside work.
Reduce tension in your body and mind by visualizing a place where you feel at peace.
Before games, what I do is I meditate. … Take a couple minutes to breathe, close my eyes and I think of good thoughts … and now I just know to go out there and have fun.
- Angel McCoughtry
Las Vegas Aces
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