Why self-care is good for the soul!

In light of World Mental Health Day on October 10th, there has never been a better time to look after yourself and your mental health. I find colour and regular walks by the sea are great examples of a grin and tonic!

I realise how important self-care is and why we need to make it a priority in our life. Self-care is vital for our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. It aides to help to maintain a healthy balance with yourself and helps to boost confidence, morale, and self-esteem. Self-care also promotes positive feelings, and can aid awareness of self, others, and the environment.

What is mental health?

‘Mental health is defined not just in terms of the absence of mental disorder, but is a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community’ (WHO 2014).

Who is affected by mental health?

In many ways, mental health is just like physical health: everybody has it and we need to take care of it. Mental health problems affect around one in four people in any given year. They range from common problems, such as OCD, depression, anxiety, loss, and trauma, to rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

What are the early warning signs?

They are not prescriptive or come in any particular order, however, changes in mood and attitude can provide the first signs that all is not well. Mood swings and social withdrawal from family and friends may indicate some degree of emotional distress. Any of the following might provide an indication that something is not right for the individual and they could be experiencing some degree of mental health difficulty. It is important to view this list in terms of a collection of signs rather than as a diagnostic tool.

  • low mood-energy
  • erratic or unpredictable behaviour
  • agitation or overt anxiety
  • social withdrawal/avoidance of social interactions or contact
  • reduced attendance work/school/college
  • sleep or appetite disturbance
  • poor concentration and or motivation
  • unexplained prolonged crying
  • cancellation of events/appointments planned activities
  • self-neglecting appearance
  • lack of motivation to exercise 

So how can I look after my mental health and improve my self-care?

Self-care is vital for building resilience toward those stressors in life that you can't eliminate. When you've taken steps to care for your mind and body, you'll be better equipped to live your best life. Unfortunately, however, many people view self-care as a luxury, rather than a priority. Consequently, they're left feeling overwhelmed, tired, and ill-equipped to handle life's inevitable challenges. It's important to assess how you're caring for yourself in several different domains, so you can ensure you're caring for your mind, body, and spirit; in short, looking after the whole person.

The way you think and the things that you're filling your mind with greatly influence your psychological well-being.

Nine suggestions for better mental health

  • keeping active
  • eating well
  • drinking sensibly
  • keeping in touch
  • asking for help
  • getting plenty of sleep
  • doing something you are good at
  • accepting who you are
  • caring for others

The way you think and the things that you're filling your mind with will greatly influence your psychological well-being, which will in turn positively impact on your self-care.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Nicky Bates (MBACP) Director of The TLC Counselling Hub

A qualified nurse,trainer and assessor for 20 + years. Counselling was the next career step and certainly the best decision I ever made. I Founded the TLC Counselling Hub in July 2019 and it has gone from strength to strength. The Hub is involved in many charity events in and around Andover I'm excited to be working with companies within the town.… Read more

Written by Nicky Bates (MBACP) Director of The TLC Counselling Hub

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