The reason why self-care is more important to our mental health than ever

By jtilton on October 28, 2020

As many Utahns begin to prepare for a potential surge of increased flu and COVID-19 cases, self-care has taken a backseat.

The recent COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions have affected everyone differently. One thing we do know though is that our mental health has depreciated since the pandemic started.

A recent online study analyzed how the COVID stay-at-home orders have made an impact on our mental and physical health. Researches found that many households reported weight gain, lack of sleep, and increased stress levels and anxiety.

While we can’t exactly pinpoint when the restrictions might end, we can help combat their effects by creating self-care routines.

The importance of self-care

A lot of people might feel that they don’t have the time to build a self-care routine. With all of our day-to-day responsibilities, it might be hard to even find the time. According to the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), only 6.6% of adults 25 years old and older participated in self-care activities per day.

But researchers are beginning to fully understand how self-care can have lasting benefits if maintained on a daily basis. By understanding the basic core principles of self-care, we can easily find the time to just give ourselves to focus on our own health and improve our mental health.

The ISF (International Self-Care Foundation) recognizes seven main concepts that can help promote self-care.

  • Knowledge and health literacy
  • Mental well-being
  • Physical activity
  • Healthy eating
  • Risk avoidance or mitigation
  • Good hygiene
  • Rational & responsible use of self-care products and services

Ideas for practicing different types of self-care

Get outside: Utah is home to some of the best natural landmarks and beautiful landscapes. No matter where you live, you’re also never too far from an amazing hike. If you’ve been feeling a little coupled up lately, maybe getting outside might be the perfect idea for self-care.

Take a vacation: Even though traveling has become harder during the pandemic, many are still finding ways to get out. Whether it’s taking time off to see more of the state, flying internationally, or just staying in to catch up on your favorite tv shows, being able to take time off and to relax is so important for promoting positive mental health.

Read a book: Reading a book can be very therapeutic for not only avid readers but for all of us. Being able to get sucked into an amazing to take our minds off the stressors that surround us can have a huge impact on how we manage stress and anxiety.

Set screen-time limits: As social media addicting continues to climb, maybe it’s time to cut back on our phones in general. Apps like RescueTime help track how much time we spend on our phone. Data from the app shows that users spend over three hours on their phones. Spending more time being mindful is one of the easiest ways for us to focus on what’s important at the moment — which can be a huge benefit to our mental health.

Work on breathing exercises: Along with being mindful, breathing exercises can help us focus on right now. Studies have shown that diaphragmatic breathing can help relieve stress and anxiety and even promote relaxation. Being able to hone out any negative thoughts and improve our mental well-being is a staple for self-care.

Listen to the podcast to learn more about self-care

For more information on opioid prevention or if you or someone you know is struggling, you can find more information on Facebook, KSL TV, or from Use Only as Directed. To hear more from Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley, you can listen below or subscribe to the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get major podcasts.