The 10 best self care tips backed by scientific research
The 10 best self care tips backed by scientific research
1. Eat well
Although what you put in your body isn’t usually associated with your mental health, it can have a big impact on it. There are a few major components of the connection between what you digest and what you feel, these are; getting rid of the bad things such as added sugar, excessive alcohol and processed food e.g. junk food and eating a balanced diet, If you would like to learn more about any of these in further detail click here.
With so much conflicting evidence, knowing what you should be eating for a healthy life can be a very tiresome task and that’s where the standard balanced diet can become a very enticing way of life as it easy to follow. If you would like to learn more about a balanced diet, you can do with thanks to the NHS website.
2. Get the right amount of sleep
It’s said that over 30% of the population suffer with sleep disorders, which is getting rid of the valuable time our body uses to “recharge our batteries”. Through not sleeping you can experience severe low mood and other problems such as inability to concentrate. As sleep is kind of like a charger, if you don’t get enough of it you are working on low energy throughout the day, which can result in many ailments such as a weak immune system.
The recommended amount of time that you should be sleeping if you are an adult is between 7 to 9 hours which is dependent on multiple factors such as gender, age and genetics, although this is very important, your sleep quality also needs to be accommodated for, this is also known as sleep hygiene – changing your behaviors and environment to help aid in a better night’s sleep. There are many different components of sleep even to the point where research is looking for the healthiest position to sleep in.
3. Practice meditation
In the recent past and even some views of today, meditation has been seen as a thing that only hippie’s do to look like a more conscious human being, which has brought with it some negative contentions. Thankfully, due to lots of scientific research into meditation, we can see some great benefits of practicing it, this has allowed it to become more of an accepted thing to do in western culture. Some benefits of meditation have been seen in the battle against depression, research has found that meditating can change regions of the brain which are specifically associated with stress and anxiety which are both triggers for depression.
Meditation is a way of training your mind and being able to control your emotions, just like physical exercise is a way of strengthening your body for optimal performance. Just like any exercise, meditation needs to be practiced many times before you can become a master at it, this can be off putting as you may feel that it is to hard to start. If you would like to start training your brain to become more focused, happy and mindful but, you don’t know where to start, I would advise you to read our Beginners guide to meditating.
4. Start Journaling
Journaling has long been a form of self-assessment for many people yet, there hasn’t always been the science based evidence to back up the claims that these people were experiencing. Fortunately, studies like this one from 2002 have allowed us to understand the reasons why people have seen positive effects from Journaling, the study explains that people who journal about any traumatic or stressful events which they go through, find growth from writing about them, it also emphasize the importance of writing down your emotions. By Journaling you allow yourself to notice patterns in your life which could be affecting your mental health.
There are many journals out there but, this one is our favorite. Not only does this journal have a place to write down your emotions so that you can look for patterns where you might be slipping up on your self care, it’s got sections to write down the things that you are grateful for (which is also linked with improved mood) and much more.
5. Engage in your hobbies
Obviously, taking the time out of your day to engage in something that you enjoy, whether it’s playing a team sport or making your own music is going to be fun and increase positive emotions, but research has found that whatever your hobbies are, mental or physical, with people or without people, they are great for improving your mental health. By clicking on this link you will find the benefits of taking part in the things you love such as, lowering, depression, stress and blood pressure.
Before I started this company, I was in a very dark place mentally but, I believe that having something to put all of my effort into everyday, distracted me from what was going on in my head and by dedicating all of my time to it, it gave me a purpose that is now bigger than myself. If you have a passion, you’re going to go through some hard times with it but, if you stay consistent and keep pushing forward, there is nothing that can stop you. Remember, your only limit is you!
6. Try something new
As Kids we was constantly taught to try new things to help us in the real world when we get older, eat some brussel sprouts and try going down the slide on your own are two of the common ones, but, as we’ve grown up, we’ve stopped trying new things when the opportunities arise, do you want to hold a snake? “I think I will pass” shall we try a new restaurant? “but what if I don’t like it”. It was thought that we were born with a brain and the only chance we got to develop it was through childhood but, thanks to neural plasticity – the brains ability to “reshape” and adapt to new challenges, you can keep expanding your mind throughout your life. One study by Rich Walker found that people who engage in new experiences are happier.
By trying something new you have the opportunity to meet new people, gain new skills and learn new things, if you would like to start learning something new, you can learn from the best by listening to their audiobooks. Audio books are a great way to learn new things without having to make the mistakes that you would usually. Would you like to start educating yourself? Would you like to learn from the very best at any time, anywhere? If so, click here for your 30 day free trial for audible who are the leading producers of audiobooks. There’s many other things you can try so we’ve created a list of them down below.
- Go to a town or city that you haven’t been to before.
- Learn to play a new instrument.
- Go to a café for breakfast.
- Try playing a new sport like a disability sport
- Listen to one of your friends favorite genres of music.
- Go to an exotic restaurant.
- Speak to a stranger or someone that you haven’t spoken to in awhile.
- Go for a bike ride.
- Invite the family over for a kick back BBQ.
- Volunteer at an animal sanctuary.
- Go for a walk without knowing where you’re heading to.
- Paint a picture.
- Gaze at the night sky.
- Go to a silent disco.
- Get involved with the community.
7. Talk to a friend or a family member
Opening up to your friends and family can be a very hard task at times and if you do, it can leave you feeling very vulnerable at times but, when you allow people in to your life and more importantly into your head, it allows you to de-stress and share your problems with someone who might be able to help. Even if you aren’t feeling that down, having a supportive group of friends and family around you has been seen to be very beneficial to your health. One of the key elements of the blue zones (hotspots of longevity) is being a part of a close community.
Sometimes it can often feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to and you have no friends at all, although I’m sure that you do have at least one person to talk to, we have written a blog post on a technique which helps you to create long lasting relationships in life, if you would like to learn more about this method click here.
8. Do some exercises
You’re eating right, you’re sleeping right but, something still isn’t quite adding up. We often see exercise as a way of improving our physical health, which is correct, however, seems to be a huge contributing factor towards better mental health. Exercise has been seen to lower feelings of depression and anxiety and improve self-esteem and cognitive function. One study explains that the reason exercise may produce these positive benefits is due to better blood flow to the brain.
Not only is taking part in exercise really good for you, it can actually be a very fun thing to do as there are so many different ways to get active. You might like long runs up the mountains on your own or you might prefer getting down and dirty for the Sunday league team with the lads or ladets, whatever the case may be, getting involved in some physical activity is going to help release all of them endorphins in your head!
9. Take a break
Have a break, have a KitKat, well maybe not the KitKat part but, you should definitely be taking time out of your day to recharge your batteries. One of the biggest contributors of stress is your work so, it is important for you to find the right work/life balance that suits you best. The main cause of workplace stress is the workload, with this study finding that 42% of people workplace stress is due to this.
If your workload is one of the key elements for your stress, it is vital that you manage your time better so that you don’t overwork yourself. There are many time management techniques out there but, the most popular is Pomodoro technique.
10. Talk to a therapist
If you start to implement all of the tips listed above, you should start to see some improvements in your life and you should slowly start to climb up the scale which we showed you earlier, however, we are all different and you may be suffering from something more serious like depression or anxiety and as I have explained before, I am not a therapist or a specialist in any field so, if you feel like you are experiencing any form of mental illness, it is best to speak to a professional.
Thankfully, during my time as a self improvement business owner, I have had the opportunity of connecting with some amazing people along the way, one of these people goes by the name of Fraser Smith who is a psychologist and the owner of getpsyched which I would advise you to check out.