With September being National Self-Care Awareness Month, it’s important that we all spend a little extra time prioritizing our well-being. Especially as we continue to live in this period of uncertainty, it’s critical that we remember to take a step back from the world and focus on what truly matters— improving our mental health. How we choose to take care of our bodies on the inside and on the outside can play a huge role in our ability to persevere through these challenges and maintain inner peace from within.
Although September is coming to an end, there is no reason you have to let your wellness goals fall wayside in the following months ahead!
To help you stay on track, here are three tips to improve your mental health:
1.Take Good Care of Your Skin
Whether you believe it or not, your skin can reveal a great deal about your mental health. Dark circles, hormonal acne, and skin conditions like eczema, are just a few examples of how your skin can react to high stress levels. If you’ve noticed your complexion has experienced any of the following stress-related skin symptoms, don’t worry!
Luckily, these concerns can all be avoided by staying consistent with a daily skincare regimen and using the proper treatment products for your particular issue.
Taking good care of your skin is a simple way to maintain your personal hygiene while practicing self-care. The rituals you follow morning and night not only work to your skin’s advantage, but they also work to improve your mental health as these techniques are usually very nourishing, relaxing, and all-around beneficial to the mind and body.
Our skincare routine provides us with a sense of structure, something that many of us may be lacking right now as we continue to spend ample time in our homes amid COVID-19. One study published in 2018 even found that a lack of structure and consistent routines can lead to serious health problems such as mood problems, bipolar disorder, lack of happiness, loneliness, and more.
That being said, if you’re unsure of what approach you should be taking, it may be worthwhile to speak with a skincare expert to get some guidance. They’ll help set you up with an efficient routine and find skincare treatments compatible with your skin.
2. Regulate Your Sleep Schedule
Did you know that those with poor mental health are more likely to suffer from insomnia or sleep disorders? This is because sleep deprivation is closely connected with our mental health, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
From the ways it contributes to our anxiety levels and motivation throughout the day, to the influence it has on our overall mood, not getting enough sleep has proven to be linked to a number of different aspects that affect our well-being. This is why the majority of healthcare professionals recommend people get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night, depending on factors such as their age and gender.
For this reason, regulating your sleep schedule is an essential first step to taking better care of yourself and improving your mental health. There’s a variety of techniques you can use to help get your circadian rhythm, or your biological clock, back on schedule.
Start by determining what time you’d like to wake up in the morning and what time you’d like to go to bed. Once you’ve established this, the rest is quite simple, set the times and stay consistent— even on the weekends! Proceed to monitor the quality of sleep you’re getting by using an app like Sleep Cycle, which is designed to analyze your sleeping patterns and provide you with further assistance so that you can effortlessly catch some Z’s!
Easier said than done, of course, but the more diligent you are about improving your sleep schedule, the quicker you’ll be able to regulate it. In turn, this will allow you to foster better mental and emotional resilience throughout the day.
3. Practice Mindfulness
No matter how chaotic or busy of a day you’re having, you should always be making a point to schedule in some downtime just for you.
While it may seem silly, having that “me time” every day is vital for maintaining your mental health and keeping stress at bay as it allows you the chance to solely focus on yourself and unwind in your own company.
Regardless of how you choose to spend this alone time is entirely up to you, but for the sake of improving your mental health, you may reap the most benefits from practicing mindfulness activities such as meditation or yoga.
By now, you’ve likely heard the term “mindfulness” before, but what exactly does it mean to practice it? Mindfulness exercises follow an integrative mind-body approach that works to help people manage their feelings, thoughts, and of course, their mental health.
Similar to the calmness most people get when performing their skincare routine, practicing other mindfulness techniques can provide you with the same soothing benefits and ultimately improve your mental state. As reported by the Mental Health Foundation, “practicing mindfulness can give more insight into emotions, boost attention and concentration, and improve relationships.”
While self-care may not always be at the forefront of your mind, prioritize mental health checks so you can end September off right and kick off October looking and feeling your absolute best!