Many people know that prioritizing mental wellness is important, and most people realize that they would benefit from more intentional practices surrounding mental wellness and self-care. It is difficult to find a starting point to better your mental health. There are many habits we fall into that directly influence how mentally well we feel. Whether you find it difficult to take breaks during your workday when you become overwhelmed, you have trouble saying “no” when you know you don’t have room left for commitment, or you can’t seem to slow your brain down after a long day.
Self-care is a conscious action that a person takes to improve their mental, physical, and emotional health. Self-care can seem somewhat overrated and cliché. If you are tired of being told to practice self-care, you’re not alone. The media portrays a false reality around self-care. The actions you take to care for yourself don’t have to look like the movies, magazines, and social media posts. For instance, sitting on a beach while reading a book and taking a spa day are not types of self-care that are maintainable and are unrealistic for most of us.
I encourage you to think about the little things you are already doing to bring you joy every day, every other day, or maybe even once a week. You are likely already practicing self-care without realizing it. For example, I naturally find myself looking out the window that is behind my desk at work when I need a brain break. I don’t intentionally stop what I’m doing and tell myself I need to look outside, but I have realized that it’s something that allows me to debrief for even just a few seconds.
The true challenge with self-care is to be more intentional about whatever it is that you are already doing subconsciously to take care of your wellness. For me, I can intentionally get up from my desk and take a short walk around the building or outside for a few minutes when I find myself taking that brain break to look out the window. For you, that probably looks completely different. It could be spending a few extra minutes in the morning doing something that makes you happy before you get ready for your day, having a conversation with a friend, or listening to your favorite song on your commute.
Self-care is an important part of dealing with the stressors of everyday life. Many of us realize that we need to make a positive change for our mental health but don’t know where to start. The next time you have the urge to do something that brings you joy, be intentional with your actions, even just for a few seconds.
Sidney Howard, Outreach Coordinator
Sidney Howard is an Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Midland University, where she was an Event Coordinator for four years. Sidney has previous experience in behavioral health, working with youth and adults in direct care settings. Sidney is passionate about raising awareness around mental health and providing support and resources. She joined the foundation in January of 2023 and currently focuses on outreach through presentations, events, and relations.