We all deserve to care for ourselves. Sometimes, however, life can seem heavy, even during periods of emotional recovery. Fortunately, there are several ways to uplift our lives and engage in self-care. Here’s what you need to know.
Have Realistic Goals
There's no getting around the impact of depression. For many, it can make the basic acts of self-care all the more daunting. With this in mind, try to set small goals that allow you to celebrate your successes and see progress. To start, write down your self-care priorities and what you can do to invest in them on a regular basis. For instance, if you haven't been sleeping well, make it a goal to improve your nights, which might include going to bed at a specific time or avoiding tech (smartphones, tablets, etc.) after a certain hour. While those changes might seem minor, their impact can turn into something big. By setting goals and hitting them, you can build on your achievements without becoming overwhelmed.
Without treatment, depression can worsen and coincide with suicidal thoughts. So, if you aren't already getting therapy or talking to a counselor, find out what is available in your area. Of course, it's not simply a matter of choosing a therapist, as you want someone you feel comfortable talking to. Given this, it's essential that you find someone who offers a reassuring environment and a plan of action that fits your needs. If you are getting treatment, it's important to keep your appointments. Even if you feel like you are getting better, not going to sessions — or stopping abruptly — can set you back to square one.
Support Your Gut
The more the gut is studied by researchers, the more we learn about how important it is to our overall health. Not only does the state of our digestive tract keep us in good shape, but a healthy gut also reduces our risk of cancer. Yet, what might be most surprising is bacteria is the reason for those benefits. These strains, particularly bifidobacterium, lactobacillus, and akkermansia, not only aid in digestion, but they also keep our bodies young and free from disease. By paying attention to how your stomach responds to food and probiotics, you can decide what best aids your digestion, be that supplements or an elimination diet. Yes, it may take a little work to find what suits you, but it’s worth the emotional and physical boost.
Create Reasons to Smile
Over time, relaxation can fall by the wayside; in particular, you may not enjoy the things you used to or find it difficult to unwind. If that's the case, then exploring your creativity could be a means to not only relax, but it could also reduce stress and manage depression. Still, you don’t need to strive to be the next Picasso, as something as simple as your smartphone can offer opportunities for creative photography. Even when you're not feeling motivated, you can always look toward the sky and appreciate a gorgeous sunset. After all, cherishing the small things can at least inject our days with something beautiful.
Be Accepting of Yourself
One of the best acts of self-care you can practice is recognizing your current situation. Through self-acceptance, you can take steps toward a healthier future. Indeed, by being more understanding of yourself, you create much-needed love, and you may feel more able to open up to others. Likewise, if you find yourself saying “yes” to just about everything, you're doing yourself a disservice. By constantly saying “yes,” you may become emotionally exhausted and worsen your mental health. With that in mind, allow yourself to “say no” without guilt; instead, give yourself a break for whatever reason, and then focus on you.
You’re not alone on this journey to recovery. You may have setbacks, and some days will probably be harder than others, but keep working towards your goals. Regardless of whether you feel it right now, you’re most certainly worth the effort.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
- Melissa Howard
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