Life can get hectic sometimes, and it’s easy to get caught up in the everyday hustle without taking the wonderful, full care of yourself that you deserve. I call mental wellness habits “anchors” because of their ability to keep me grounded and stable. Consider incorporating these six anchors into your daily or weekly routine!
1. Drink Water, Eat Well, and Exercise Regularly
Eating well can boost energy and affect mood-related body chemicals. Make sure you are eating throughout the day as you are hungry, and eating mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Drinking enough water also helps to combat fatigue and keep your body healthy and hydrated.
2. Sleep Well
Sleep is so important in both healthy brain function & emotional well-being as well as physical health. When you get enough sleep (which, for teenagers, is eight-ten hours, and for adults is seven-nine hours), your neural function is higher. Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, has been linked to depression, stress, and risk-taking behaviors.
Also consider going to bed earlier, and waking up earlier (hard as it might be!) One 2014 study found that people who stay up later tend to have higher rates of negative, cyclical thoughts. Also, in the winter especially, it’s nice to soak in every hour of sunlight!
Both the short-term and long-term effects of meditation have been shown to decrease anxiety and depression, increase wellbeing, and support mood regulation! If you’re feeling intimidated by the idea of meditation, maybe start with a guided meditation.
I have a friend who meditates for however long he feels is necessary each morning. He has told me that meditation has increased his quality of life and helped significantly in quieting his mind and anxious thoughts.
I personally have difficulty in seated meditation, and do much better with walking meditations; I try to go on walks every day, without music or my phone. I find that I get pulled into the present moment, breathe deeper, feel rejuvenated, and also quiet my thoughts. You could also do art meditations — whatever works best for you!
4. Try Art
Whether you’re drawing, painting, collaging, writing, singing, or dancing — art is a wonderful outlet and has been shown to decrease stress and increase dopamine production. If you need a little inspiration, check out these ideas!
5. Get Social
When I’m not feeling good, I tend to hermit away from my friends. I come up with all sorts of narratives: “I should be able to do this alone! I don’t want to be a burden to my friends!”But my friend Rose described this cycle perfectly: “I always talk myself out of reaching out to my friends, but the moment I do reach out, I feel immediately better.”
Social connection is linked to lower rates of anxiety and depression, and higher rates of self-esteem, empathy, trust, and cooperation. Social connection can be achieved in myriad ways — call or be with your friends and/or family, sign up to volunteer with a group, anything!
6. Read Books That Nourish You
There are so many books that are nourishing, exciting, and inspiring. I personally have been reading Succulent Wild Woman by SARK lately, and have found great amounts of comfort and joy in reading (especially, and preferably, in the bathtub with chocolate).
It might be hard to maintain all of these practices — and you should not beat yourself up if you can’t exercise one day, or if you don’t sleep very well one night (or many)! The important part is becoming aware of these different, exciting ways you can practice self-care and implementing them into your life in ways that feel good for you.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.