Tending to your emotional health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. If you’re struggling to balance your emotional health, it can lead to physical issues such as chest pains, ulcers, and high blood sugar, as well as emotional issues like stress and depression. It’s essential to find ways to improve emotional health to deal with life’s ups and downs in a healthy way.
It seems like each year life brings with it a new set of pressures. From the stress of studying for exams in college, to deciding what to do when you enter “the real world”, to relationships, jobs and family, life can get overwhelming, to say the least. That’s why I’ve been learning how to take better care of myself, especially when I feel anxious and stressed.
Why Self Care is Important
I’ve found that taking care of myself helps me cope when life gets overwhelming. It can be a viscous circle if you’re not careful: If you don’t take care of yourself, you’re less likely to be able to cope with life’s hardships, which in turns creates even more stress and less self-care. What a mouthful!
Emotional health is so important because it impacts how you feel about yourself. It also enhances the quality of your relationships, and effects how you deal with your feelings and handle difficulties. I’ve come to realize that being emotionally healthy doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time, it means you’re aware of your emotions and can better deal with them, whether they’re good or bad.
Self-care is key to emotional health because it helps you manage stress and handle things (positive or negative) in a healthy way. When you care for yourself you’re putting yourself first, which many people fail to do. Between work, family, friends, and other priorities, self-care comes in last place for many of us. But if you want to be emotionally healthy, it needs to come first.
How to Maintain Emotional Health
Now that we’ve seen why self-care is so important, how do we maintain it? When it comes to taking care of you, there are a number of strategies you can implement.
1. Maintain Proper Nutrition
Nutrition plays a major role in your emotional health. What you eat affects you physically and mentally, and bad eating habits can lead to more stress. The busier we are, the less time we feel we have to make our own meals, and that’s when fast food starts becoming the norm.
You can handle a lot more stress when your body is filled with nutritious foods. If you know you’re going to be pressed for time during the week, try meal prepping on Sunday to ensure you have healthy meals and snacks day after day. You can batch cook large meals and heat them up as you need. And it doesn’t have to be extravagant! Keep it simple with protein, vegetables, fruits and good fats!
2. Support Circle
A good group of friends is extremely important for your emotional health. Friends pick you up when you’re down, offer advice, and are always there when you need them most. They can make a stressful situation much less taxing and provide insight you may not have thought about. Just make sure to return the favour when they need it too!
3. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Without proper sleep, you’re more likely to feel stressed out throughout the day. Young adults and adults should be getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night in order to function properly and perform at peak productivity. Healthy sleep habits benefit you all around and are key to a healthy lifestyle.
If you have trouble getting to sleep at night, there are a number of things you can try including meditation, reading, staying away from screens before bed, exercising and having a relaxing bedtime ritual.
4. Take Up a Hobby
Whether it’s crochet, DIY projects, cooking, or gardening, finding a hobby you love helps you become more in tune with yourself and lead a happier, healthier lifestyle. A hobby provides great emotional release and can help you cope with stressful situations in life and work. Hobbies encourage you to take a break, and in a world that’s always go-go-go, this is incredibly important.
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Hobbies also offer a positive challenge and urge you to continue to learn new things, while also reminding you to stay present and connect you with others who have the same interest.
5. Find Balance
Finding balance is extremely important when it comes to your emotional health. Strive for balance between work and play, activity and rest, alone time and social time. Teetering to one side can throw your stress levels and emotions out of whack. It seems like it’s becoming harder and harder to find balance these days. Work takes over many people’s lives and relaxing feels like it’s not an option most of the time. But you have to make sure you’re getting a healthy balance in order to flourish psychologically.
6. Take Up Meditation or Yoga
Whether it’s 20 minute self-meditation or an hour long yoga class, these activities are some of the best to help manage stress. Mediation and yoga incorporate techniques that encourage deep breathing, muscle relaxation and tranquility throughout your entire mind and body. If you feel like your mind is always racing at a million miles an hour, meditation and/or yoga will help you relax not only when you’re doing it, but outside of your practice as well.
20 Self-Care Activities to Improve Emotional Health
- Read 20-30 Minutes a Day
- Exercise 4-5 Times a Week
- Invest in an adult coloring book
- Go for a Haircut
- Get a Manicure and Pedicure
- Go for a Facial
- Have Dinner with Friends
- Start a gratitude journal
- Play Your Favorite Music
- Plan and Go for a Weekend Getaway
- Go for a Walk
- Schedule “Me Time” in Your Agenda or Calendar
- Learn to Play an Instrument
- Take Up a New Hobby
- Make a Meal for Yourself
- Take a Vacation with Loved Ones
- Travel Solo
- Take a Yoga Class
- Create a Vision Board
- Treat Yourself to Something Nice You’ve Wanted for a While
When life gets stressful, it takes a major toll on your emotional health. Make sure to practice self-care to balance your emotional health, stress, and overwhelm.