I originally wrote this for a guest post on another blog, but I thought today would be a perfect time to share it with The Bipolar Writer blog. I have to admit, this summer has started a lot faster than I though and I haven’t much time to write blogs. I am hoping this weekend to write a few posts and one or two guest blog posts— those who I promised, I have not forgotten.
Why Self-Care is Important to your Mental Health
We live in a fast-paced, always moving forward world where the instant gratification can often be outweighed by what is good for the long-run in our mental health. I am not just talking about those of us suffering from mental health issues, self-care concerns about mental health is a human issue, at the same time those that struggle with a mental illness have to be aware of the importance of taking care of your mental health.
You can call it what you want— self-care, self-love, or just mental health care, the bottom line is without it you can quickly go off the deep end. I have lived in that realm for a good portion of my life, and it only makes recovery harder in the end. We sometimes as humans forget about what is hurting us in the now, especially when we are happy. To be satisfied in this life is the ultimate goal, but it is not the only goal. There is hope! When you focus on self-care you can be the best version you with a mental illness. I have found things to be useful in my own life, and I implore you to see what works in your life. Here are some tips for better mental health you.
This one area that I struggle with in my self-care. I always joke that there are not enough hours in the day to sleep and do the “to do list” in my daily life. The truth is sleep is the best thing that you can do for your mental health. This can be a gray area because what works for one person might now be healthy for another. The doctors will tell you eight hours of good sleep is paramount to mental health. I have done “OK” on 4-6 hours of sleep (I am working on getting better sleep, and I am seeing a sleep doctor for my insomnia.) Find what works for you.
Taking a shower/bath daily
This may seem trivial. “Doesn’t everyone bathe daily?” The truth is when depression hits it is very easy to forgo taking a shower because it feels like a chore. This is depression talking. The key to self-care and good mental health is feeling good. A shower can do wonders for a mood. I know when my depression is bad when I go a day or two without a shower.
This seems an easy one, but it really is worth thinking about when it comes to your mental health. The healthier that you are, the better you feel. I am not saying to go out and enjoy a nice steak dinner. I am more worried about what depression does to your eating habits. In my experience when I am depressed, I don’t eat. It’s a bad habit and very bad for your mental health. Eating regular meals is so important because it’s a routine. Which leads me to the next tip.
Mental health routines
Having a routine is something that is so important to self-care and mental health. It does not mean you have to spend every moment with a plan (the perfectionist in me just shuddered) but a routine can help keep you centered. Simple things. Waking up, making your bed, brushing, your teeth, taking a shower, and eating breakfast. Boom! There is a morning routine. There will be days when you get off track but the things I listed in the last sentence you can do on any given Sunday.
Hanging out in the “Real World” & “People”
My social anxiety side just shuddered this time. Take it from me, isolation is the worst possible thing for your mental health. I have developed severe social anxiety that I barely understand these days. The Cure? Hanging out in the real world. Surround yourself with people that love you and appreciate your illness, and you will be well on your way to good mental health. Even better, cut out the negative people in your life.
Do things you love
Read a book. Go out in nature. If you’re a Cali-guy like me go to the beach. Create and write a blog because it is therapeutic. Write your story down even if it is just for you. Do what you love, and your mental health will be happy with you. When you grind it down happiness is you doing what makes you— well you. It can do wonders for your self-care mental health. Do the things you love because this life is too short to let mental illness rule your existence.
It doesn’t matter the excuse mental illness gives you— exercise is an essential part of self-care. When you take care of your body, it can mean a better understanding of your mind. This is another area where I say do as much exercise that is right for you.
Self-care, self-love and mental health is about making it easier for you. At the end of the day, if you let mental illness win, it can run your life. It is never easy. There will be times where you fail to do any of these things— that’s okay. The greatest thing you can do for you self-care is to give yourself a break. Life is what you make it, and your self-care is the same. Find what works for you!
As always— Keep fighting.
Please Help me Publish my Memoir
I am almost done editing my memoir “The Bipolar Writer,” and I have decided to go down the self-publishing route. If you can donate anything towards my goal, it would mean the world to me. I am still working towards enough to pay an artist for a good cover. Those that donate will get a special mention in my memoir on a page dedicated to those that made my memoir possible. Thank you in advance!