There are so many things going on in the world, our daily personal lives, faced-paced working environment and social media, that it can become overwhelming. It is necessary to stop amid all this and just ask yourself, “How am I doing?”. If you are stressed, distracted, sad or cannot focus on work, maybe it is time you take a break, drink a big glass of water, take a walk or breathe for a moment. Taking offs when you feel unmotivated is a luxury not many of us have, but it definitely isn’t poor ethics. It is a basic human need that all of us have and need to function adequately. And that is where self-care comes in. We must take a few hours from our daily schedule and focus on taking time off to care for our mental health. So, if you are looking for some tips to practise self-care, you have come to the right place. We got in touch with a Delhi-based clinical psychologist, Dr Samriddhi Khatri, and she shared tips on practising self-care to improve our mental health.
Explaining why we need self-care, Dr Samriddhi said, “Mental health includes all aspects of one’s life – physical, emotional or psychological wellness and social well being. And self-care can play a vital role in enhancing our well being and maintaining our mental health.” Here are a few self-care tips that you can follow in your daily life. (Also Read: How to avoid losing sense of identity in relationship? Psychologist shares tips)
Dr Samriddhi explained, “30 to 40 minutes of physical exercise each day can help reduce the stress hormones and improve our health. Of course, you don’t have to stick to this time limit. You can start with shorter periods and increase gradually. Even taking a walk in the park or doing less intense activities is a great place to begin.”
According to Dr Samriddhi, “‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ – holds true in our lives. Because we are so busy all the time, often we don’t have time to enjoy. Most importantly, many don’t consider it essential. This ultimately leads to a lack of motivation and burnout. So, take some time out of your day to do any activity you like. It can be going on a vacation, having dinner with loved ones, going to the spa, shopping or more. Basically, do something that keeps you alive and is fun.”
Setting Small Goals
Dr Samriddhi said, “Set small achievable goals for yourself throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be a huge task and could be based on your priority for that particular time. So that once you achieve them, you can give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate. It will help you stay motivated and less stressed.”
Learn To Say No
“Say no to things that do not fit your idea of life. Because every time you do something to please others or because people are doing it, ultimately, you will not have gained any contentment from doing that task. It does not mean you have to make reckless choices. You can make your own calculated decisions based on what fits and doesn’t into your scheme of life,” Dr Samriddhi expressed.
Dr Samriddhi said, “Getting an adequate amount of sleep and good quality of sleep is essential for our mind and body because it is during sleep that our brain processes the information that we have received throughout the day. So, sleep about 6-8 hours each night. Practising good sleep hygiene can also help, like maintaining a proper sleep schedule or avoiding screen time before going to bed. These steps can enhance your sleep quality.”
Maintaining Proper Food Habits
“Whenever we talk about emotional and mental health disorders, the first three things we focus on are our sleep, mood and appetite. If we can manage these three aspects of our life, we automatically feel a lot better. So, maintaining good food habits and having proper meals on time is essential. Eating on time, taking care of your appetite and having a balanced diet by removing fatty foods and adding fruits and veggies can improve one’s health. Additionally, staying hydrated improves energy and reduces stress, Dr Samriddhi said.
According to Dr Samriddhi, “Practising gratitude by maintaining a gratitude journal and counting the smallest of your blessings, helps brings positive emotions in your life. It also helps to go back to your journal and read what you have written when you feel hopeless.”
Dr Samriddhi said, “Practising mindfulness is also an important self-care step. You can start by doing any small daily activity you enjoy or that helps you relax, like eating or drinking water. Many times we don’t even remember what we had for breakfast in our fast-paced lives. So, next time when you are having a meal, feel the texture of the food, enjoy the taste, smell it, and see the colours. This will allow you to enjoy the dish and eat as much as is required.”
Dr Samriddhi explained, “Adding a few minutes of relaxation or breaks in your day is vital. You can start with five minutes twice or thrice a day and gradually increase the duration as per your requirements and comfort. You can do basic deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing exercises in these moments. You can also try advanced breathing exercises, but it is advisable to consult a professional before going forward to understand the dos and dont’s in a better way.
“It is necessary to have a social support group around you during difficult times – it can be your friends, family or relatives. We need meaningful connections in our lives – people who can listen to our problems and joys or a group of people to fall back on in difficult times,” Dr Samriddhi said.
In the end, Dr Samriddhi added that the key to practising all these self-care tips is “consistency”. If one wants to maintain their emotional well-being and mental health, then they have to be consistent to see the results.