Why is self-care important for mental health?

BY: Dr. Sagnik Mukherjee (MBBS; MD; MIPS; MIAPP)

Mental Health

All of us are familiar with the adage “self-help is the best help”, but did you know that this applies a lot to mental health? Self-care means looking after yourself. This does not mean just caring for physical health but also mental and emotional health.

Most people think of self-care activities as spending time on exercise, hydration, meditation, diet control, etc. There is more to self-care practice than all this. A complete self-care routine comprises both physical and mental self-care. Let us try to learn how to practice self-care for maintaining good mental health.

Self-care activities that you can adopt for your mental health 

Mental health is more important than mere physical well-being as the former can affect the latter in the long run.

Here is a list of self-care techniques you can follow in your daily life to reduce stress levels and improve your quality of life.

  • Take up a new hobby or passion.
  • Form a good social circle to interact regularly.
  • Frequently talk to friends.
  • Participate in social and community events.
  • Practise meditation and breathing exercises.
  • Follow a balanced diet with regular exercise and physical activity.
  • Get enough hours of sleep.
  • Identify negative impacts and stress.

Reasons why self-care is a must for mental health

Emotional self-care is essential for maintaining physical self-care. The Journal of Counseling Psychology emphasises the importance of emotional self-care on physical health.

Positive Health outcomes

Caring for your emotional and mental well-being has a positive impact on your physical health. It is like attending a religious service at the church where one experiences a soothing effect due to the ambience. Nurturing positive thoughts and calming the mind is the first step in mental self-care that has a relaxing effect on the body.

Improves energy levels

Your mind can control your body, motivate it, and even cure it. Mental health practitioners feel that by caring for our mental state and keeping it in a peaceful or balanced state, we can boost the energy levels of the body.

A mind at unrest causes the body to lose energy through anger or frustration. A perturbed mind can increase the level of stress and cause the body to exhibit agitated movements. Calming the mind through self-care techniques can help you conserve energy.

Care for anxiety

Self-care training goes a long way in reducing stress and anxiety by activating the immune system to improve the mood. To combat anxiety in adolescents, we must start by teaching them self-care strategies to reduce stress.

Mental health conversations as a part of work culture

Talking about mental health has become a must at both home and office. It is very much a part of the work culture and is included in employee assistance programs too. Professional relationships improve better with anxiety treatment programs that help in reducing stress and increasing employee retention.

Reducing levels of burnout

Chronic stress can cause symptoms of burnout even in great achievers. Go-getters at the workplace suffer from high levels of stress and often suffer burnout.  Professional psychologists recommend self-care training programs to reduce the risk of burnout.

Adequate sleep

Clinical psychologists state that ample sleep is a must to maintain a good quality of life. To sleep well, you need peace of mind and for this, a self-care plan is a must.

Clinical training programs teach you several mind-relaxing techniques to improve sleep. Taking deep breaths, meditating, and emptying your mind of thoughts help you sleep well and lessen the risk of mental illnesses.

Reduce the risk of cardiovascular events

Stress is an integral part of life and that can lead to high-risk cardiovascular events that might even cause death. All of us must know how to take preventative measures to defeat stress. Just like going on a leisure-time physical activity to relax our body, we must take therapy sessions to relax our mind. These sessions are part of a self-care plan that must be done regularly to promote mental peace.

Combat mental illnesses

The state of mind plays a huge role in mental illnesses. The Bipolar Support Alliance suggests self-care training to help us care for our minds regularly. These are healthy practices that prevent negative thoughts from creeping into our minds.

Mental health practitioners focus on mental self-care as the right way to reduce stress levels and promote physical self-care. Self-care for the mind is the right preventative measure to combat chronic stress.

Professional organisations provide mental health first aid through self-care training programs for mentally-ill patients.

Consult professional psychologists or professional organisations and adopt a self-care plan to gain positive health outcomes. Mental Health Research Centre is one of the top psychiatry clinics in Kolkata. Connect with us for assistance with self-care and mental health issues.