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Make Self-Care
a High Priority

Self-care is like food and water for your mental health.

If you stopped eating and drinking, then soon you would not be able to enjoy your daily life.

Our emotional wellbeing and personal relationships often suffer when we’re not giving ourselves the care we need. Our physical health can suffer, too – in ways we might not see for a long time.

You deserve rest, exercise, sleep, joy, nourishment, and connection.

Getting these things can help you feel calmer, happier, less irritable, and more prepared to do your work, help others, and show up the way you want to in your relationships.

So many things get in the way.

Trying to live up to the expectations of others. Wanting to escape painful feelings. Focusing on other people’s needs. Procrastinating – then blaming ourselves. Fear of judgment or rejection….These are just a few barriers to good self-care.

There are ways to get past the barriers.

Every person is different. What works for one person might not work for another. Here are 3 strategies that have worked for lots of people…

Take small steps, not big leaps.

Maybe take 3 minutes every hour to move, get a drink, and stretch. Give yourself a few minutes to read if it brings you joy. Commit to spending just a little time with nature – notice clouds, listen to birds, relax by a tree.

Notice what nurtures you.

Pay attention to your habits and behaviors. Notice how you feel while you’re doing them – and after you’re done. Make mindful choices about how to spend your time and energy.

Get support.

Self-care is often easier and more fun with others. Find fun activities to do with family or friends. If you feel stuck, turn to a trusted friend. Look for a mentor, life coach, or counselor.

Our article about choosing a therapist has helped thousands – and might be helpful for you. It’s one of many Fullpower leadership, safety, and protection resources.

For more, visit our Mental Health resources page.

Check out the strategies below for more ways to take charge of your mental health!

Focus on what you CAN do

Constantly thinking and worrying about big problems outside your control can make you stressed, anxious, and distracted – without making anything better.

Focus instead on small, positive steps that you have the power to take.

Even one small, positive action can help replace isolation and despair with connection and hope.


Develop & choose positive beliefs

Beliefs are thoughts we have over and over until we become convinced they are true.

Some are empowering. Some are limiting. All are changeable. Just deciding to change a negative belief probably won’t work at first because it won’t feel true.

For example, going from “I hate my body” to “I love my body” doesn’t happen just because we decide we want a new belief about our body.

Instead of trying to make a big leap that doesn’t feel true, you can use a strategy to change a negative belief in smaller steps, gradually, over time.


Protect your feelings

Have you ever felt miserable because of something cruel that someone said or did to you? Has this experience made you miserable over and over again every time you remember it?

You have the power to protect your feelings so that you can stay safe emotionally.

Here’s how.


Create safe and strong relationships

Developing safe and strong relationships helps us to reduce isolation, protect our mental health, and add joy and purpose to our lives.

Even one strong connection with a caring person can help to replace despair with hope.

Times of transition often lead to the loss of ongoing close relationships. Even if you don’t have someone you can talk with on a personal level right now, brief, positive exchanges with strangers and acquaintances can brighten our whole day. A smile, a wave, or a short chat about the weather can help us to feel more connected and less alone.

Here are some ways to meet new people and improve your relationships.


Set & respect boundaries

Do you ever feel misunderstood, taken for granted, or disrespected?

By speaking up clearly, respectfully, and powerfully, for what you DO and DO NOT want, you can reduce stress, improve communication, and prevent and solve problems.

Setting boundaries can help you to protect your time, your feelings, your body, your safety, and your mental and physical wellbeing.


Support others

Have you ever seen a friend or family member struggling emotionally? Maybe they were depressed or anxious or very sad because of a loss?

Many of us really want to help, and we aren’t always sure how. We might feel that whatever we do just isn’t enough, or we’re worried about doing the wrong thing and making someone feel worse.

The simple things can make a big difference.

Helping someone in need can improve your mood, your sense of wellbeing, and your sense of connection.

Here are some ideas of how to help others while still taking care of yourself.


Recognize and ask for what you want

One of the most important keys to good mental health is being able to do things that give you joy, satisfaction, and success in your life.

In order to do this, you first have to determine your own values, goals, and priorities.

Next, you have to look at what your options are and figure out some specific next steps for taking action.

And then, you need to be prepared to advocate for yourself persistently, respectfully and powerfully.

Here are some ways to recognize and ask for what you want.


Get help

Do you hate asking for help? Do you want to solve problems yourself instead of leaning on other people? Have you had bad experiences where the help you got made things worse?

Unfortunately, many cultures view asking for help as a weakness or as being selfish.

Some families see getting professional help such as counseling or therapy as being a personal failure, and associate mental healthcare with being ‘crazy.’

Getting help when you need it takes courage and strength.

Here are some ideas for how to overcome obstacles to getting the right kind of help for YOU.


Protect your personal safety

Too much misery, suffering, and trauma are caused by abuse, bullying, and assault.

The good news is that you have the power to protect yourself most of the time.

Here are some ways that you can develop the confidence and skill to take charge of your personal safety at home, at work, online, and in public.