Depression and anxiety are one of the most widespread mental health issues throughout the whole world. When these mental health issues become severe it can have real consequences for your daily routines and day-to-day life.
Even something as simple as brushing your teeth or your hair can become an overwhelming task for people with severe or chronic depression and anxiety.
How can you make your own self-care toolkit for your mental health?
Designing your very own self-care toolkit for depression, anxiety, and stress can help you maintain energy and focus in your day-to-day life. Self-care management is an amazing way to treat your mental health and give yourself a boost.
Self-care is many things. I started implementing self-care routines in the morning and evening and when I shower as well. There are hundreds of ways to use self-care, and I will definitely go through a few on this blog.
Start from where you are
How are you feeling today? Personally, I have good days and I have bad days. If I have a good day, I feel way more energized than on a bad day. Self-care on a good day is different than self-care on a bad day. On a good day, I may go for a long walk or go to the pool for a swim. But if I have a seriously bad day and all I want to do is stay in bed, then that’s what I will do.
There is no point in forcing yourself to do something, you don’t want to do. Self-care is many things. It can be a face mask in your bathtub or a long walk by the beach. It is what you want it to be.
It can be tricky planning your day by your energy, but if you keep it simple you are not setting yourself up for failure. In the morning, plan two or three things you want to do for yourself that day. It can be something as simple as going for a walk or cooking a healthy meal that day.
By planning small things to do during the day, you will have a feeling of accomplishment and victory. The feeling of victory is a very important feeling when you are depressed and at a low level of energy.
Creating a good daily rhythm
Being depressed it can be hard to do something as simple as brushing your teeth or your hair. It can be incredibly hard to keep up a normal daily rhythm and try to get everything done.
Developing and creating a soundproof structure to your day can ensure that you get something done during the day. Creating a daily rhythm and structure also gives you back a sense of control. Being depressed can make you feel out of control and structuring your day can help ensure you get some of that control back.
Creating a good daily rhythm starts in the morning. A few years back I slept until the last minute, but in recent years, I have managed to get in a healthier morning routine instead of waking up at the absolute last minute.
What do you do in the afternoons when you get home from work or school? Do you work out, spend time with friends or read? Find out what keeps you from going back into your black hole of depression. What will keep you out of it?
Creating a daily routine is very important to me, as I found myself getting sucked deeper into depression when I didn’t have one.
Ensuring you get enough sleep
If you are anxious, stressed or depressed it tends to take a toll on your sleep. Back in January, I had a period with high-stress levels and I didn’t sleep for more than 3 or 4 hours at night.
Have you ever felt that your energy level during the day is very low? You may not have realized that lack of sleep is really the issue here.
Small levels of sleep deprivation over time might can result in you becoming less enthusiastic about life and work, you become more irritable or you may even feel sad or empty.
People with insomnia experience greater levels of depression and anxiety. However, there are ways to ensure that you get enough sleep, even if you are depressed, anxious or stressed:
Limit caffeine and alcohol
Avoid drinking either after 5 pm. The truth is, that the caffeine in your drink takes 3-4 hours from you drink it till it has an effect on your body and mind. This means, that if you normally drink a coffee around 7 am, the caffeine will affect your body 4 hours later, around 11 am. Did you know this?
Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule
Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
Do some form of exercise every day
When you are mentally exhausted, your brain might be tired, but your body isn’t. Doing some form of physical activity every day ensures that your body is also tired when you go to sleep at night.
Avoid afternoon naps
Napping during the afternoon might mean that you can’t fall asleep at night or you can wake up multiple times during the night. It is better if you go to sleep earlier, rather than taking a nap during the afternoon.
Don’t take your worries to bed
If you tend to start thinking about tomorrow when you go to sleep, make a to-do list instead. This way you have everything written down and you can stop worrying about it in bed.
Use meditation as a relaxation tool
Meditation is good for many health-related benefits. Studies have shown that meditation can relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
To learn more about meditation and different types of meditation, click here.
Eating healthy meals
There is no specific diet that has been proven to reduce depression symptoms. However, there are specific foods that can reduce depression symptoms. These foods include:
- Whole grains
Click here to learn more about why eating a healthy diet is important to your mental health.
What is your self-care toolkit then?
To sum everything up:
- Start from where you are
- Create a good daily rhythm
- Ensure you get enough sleep
- Use meditation as a relaxation tool
- Eat healthy meals
There is plenty more that you can do regarding self-care, but this is a good start if you want to live a happier life.
As mentioned, self-care is many things. It can even be something as simple as going for a walk. Self-care is something that everyone should use. However, it is an especially great idea for people with some form of mental health issue.
What is experience with mental health issues and self-care? I would love to hear from you…