Self Care - Photo via Unsplash

Mental health is a very important part of everyone’s life, but unfortunately it can often be pushed aside and forgotten about. It’s important to make sure you are paying attention and taking care of our mental health because it can drastically affect our lives. So, if you haven’t been paying enough attention to your mental health, here are 20 ways to practice self-love and self-care:

Take a hot shower or bath

Taking a hot shower or bath can be a nice way to relax, and it gives you a bit to just be alone with your thoughts and without your phone. It also is one of the most basic forms of self-care, which can often be forgotten when your mental health isn’t doing too well.

Eat food that will nourish your body

Although it may be easier to bury your head in a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, when your mental health is at stake, it’s even more important than normal to eat something that will actually nourish your body. Eating some fruits and veggies could be really good for you, and still enjoyable.

Drink plenty of water

This is another basic form of self-care, but unfortunately it’s one people easily neglect when their mental health isn’t doing the best. Being dehydrated can severely affect many things; not only with your mental health, but your physical health as well. Just drinking a couple of bottles a day can make a big impact.

Exercise, even if it’s just a short walk

As much as you just want to lay in bed all day when you’re not doing well mentally, according to Healthline, exercise releases the chemical dopamine in your brain (aka happiness). Even just a walk around the block can make you feel a lot better.

Get a full night’s sleep

While it might seem easy to some, a lot of people who struggle with mental health can also struggle with insomnia along with it. Sleep is necessary to function properly in any way, but it’s especially a necessity when it comes to mental health. Not getting enough sleep can severely affect your thoughts, which is the last thing you need when your mental health is in decline.

Tidy up your living space

Everyone likes the space they’re living in much more when it’s clean. Now, it definitely can be too much sometimes to tackle your entire depression room, but something as simple as taking out your trash, folding clothes or even making your bed can make you feel more comfortable in the space you’re living.

Spend time outdoors

Again, as much as you might want to stay in bed all day, getting out in the sun is good for you when you’re mentally drained. Whether that be going for a walk, reading a book outside or even just sitting outside in the sun, feeling the sun on your skin is a definite mood booster, as well as a great way to relax.

Create a routine and stick to it

Creating a routine for yourself can be very helpful when you’re struggling with mental health. It gives you the feeling of control over your day, and it can get all of the things you’re stressed about in order. You’ll worry less about missing something or being late to something, which can definitely take some stress away.

Try doing daily affirmations

Telling yourself positive thoughts is an incredible way to practice self-love. The more you say something, the more you start to believe it. The more you positively reaffirm yourself, the more you will start to believe they are true (which they are).

Start saying no to people/things

A lot of people run into an issue of filling up their schedule with things and commitments that they actually don’t really want to do, because they don’t know how to say no. Saying no to things you don’t want to do or don’t have the energy for will free up much time to focus on yourself, and do things that you actually like.

Write in a journal

Writing in a journal is a very positive way to practice self-care. While its easy to make and post a private thought on Twitter or Instagram and regretting it later, in a journal, you don’t have to worry about that. In a journal, you can freely write anything you’re feeling and get it all out, without having to feel bad about it later.

Take some time away from your phone

Taking some time away from your phone can be incredibly beneficial to your mental health. Disconnecting from the social world can give you clarity, and make you more in touch with the real world and your emotions. Our phones, especially when you're on social media, can lead us to comparison, self-criticism and distort our image of what the real world looks like. And taking a step back from that and disconnecting can be a very positive thing for your mental health.

Purge your social media

This kind of ties in together with the last tip, but purge your social media. If the accounts you’re following on social media are making you feel bad about yourself, or making you compare your life to someone else’s, unfollow them, even if it’s just for a little bit. Make the accounts you follow positive ones that make you happy, and it can drastically change your self image and mental health.

Get rid of the negative people in your life

Again, this ties in with the last tip. Getting rid of negativity isn’t just reserved for social media. If there are people in your life that don’t make you feel good about yourself and don’t uplift you, cut them off. It’s easier said than done, but when your mental health isn’t doing the best, the last thing you need is to be surrounded by negative people. Instead, surround yourself with positive people who uplift you, and your mental health will thank you.

Spend the night by yourself to recharge

Sometimes, it’s good to just spend some time alone. Spending time alone can help you get to know yourself better, and find things that you can enjoy by yourself. You can spend the night exploring interests, relaxing and recharging. Social interaction can sometimes be draining, especially when your mental health isn’t doing well. Taking a night for yourself can help alleviate a lot of the stress that comes with that.

Treat yourself (whether that be to a spa day, a special dessert, shopping or just anything you normally wouldn’t do)

Sometimes, when you’re feeling down, it can be good to indulge in things that you wouldn’t normally do for yourself. It differs from person to person, but basically just doing something you wouldn’t normally do that makes you happy, can positively affect your mental health, and is a great way to practice self-care, and self-love.

Reflect on things you’re thankful for

When your mental health is in decline, it can start to feel like there is nothing good in your life. When you’re feeling like this, it’s important to step back and realize that there are so many things to be thankful for, and that it’s not all bad. It can be as far as ‘I have great friends I love,’ or as simple as, ‘I have a roof over my head,’ and ‘I’m alive.’ Reminding yourself that there are good things can help improve your mood very quickly.

Treat yourself like your best friend

This is the best piece of advice I have ever gotten when it comes to self-care and self-love. When your mental health isn’t good, think of how you'd treat your best friend. If your best friend was sad, and hadn't eaten all day, what would you do? You’d go and make them a nice meal, because they deserve to eat and have their body nourished. If they called themselves ugly or worthless, what would you say? You would tell them that is absolutely not true. You’d tell them that they are beautiful and worthy. And that's what you have to do with yourselves. We’re harder on ourselves than anyone else, so when it’s really bad, we have to take the extra step to treat ourselves the way we deserve to be treated.

Talk to someone, whether that be a therapist, a close friend or any trusted individual

Talking to someone about your problems, or just how you’re feeling in general, can benefit your mental health for many reasons. Even if you’re just ranting to a listening friend, it can help to get bottled up feelings off your chest. Carrying around all of your problems on your own is hard, and it can weigh on you. By talking to someone, you can have that weight lifted off your shoulders and feel much lighter and happier, even if a solution isn’t found. Sometimes, we just need to talk things out, instead of letting them run around in our heads all day.

Remember that everything will be okay

While it might seem cliche, remembering that everything will be okay is a very positive way to improve your mental health, and practice self-love. Telling yourself that you will be okay, and you will get through this can be very empowering. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Understand that no matter what you’re going through, you are not alone. You are loved and worthy, and it will pass.

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