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Sometimes it is best to have a mindful moment and take some time to relax. Breathe in, breathe out, and try not to think about all your responsibilities for a bit.”

Artwork by Christina Norris, VOX Teen Staff

Stressed Out? Here’s Five Ways to Practice Self-Care With Your Mental Health

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The concept of self-care has become increasingly popular in recent years. When most people think about self-care, they look at the physical aspects of it which often causes it to be commercialized. We are seeing more and more advertisements for face masks, vitamins, and teas that are marketed to help us better our skin, hair, and nails.

However, I would like to take a look at self-care through a different perspective. The mental health aspect. What can we do to care for ourselves mentally? Here are five practices that you can take to care for your mental health just as much as your physical health. 

Know What Triggers You

A “trigger” is something that can make a person feel like they are experiencing a traumatic event all over again. While surviving a trauma can help make a person stronger, and more resilient, it is not good for said person to relive their trauma repeatedly. If you ever get triggered by something, it is best for you to know what triggered you, and to avoid that trigger until you are comfortable with that thing again. For example, someone who was involved in a car crash might be triggered by scenes in movies with car crashes. If that is the case, then it would be the best thing for that person to not watch said movie scenes. Also, there is no time limit to healing from your trauma. You may heal quickly, or you may take years upon years to heal. The most important thing is for you to have a comfortable healing process. 

Practice Mindful Media Consumption

There is a blessing in disguise in figuring out what triggers you. The sooner you find out what triggers you, the sooner you can avoid said triggers. This can lead you to practice mindful media consumption. There are countless pieces of media that have been created, and that will be created in the future. Some of these pieces may contain things that can trigger people. A good thing that has been happening on social media is that people have started giving Trigger Warnings to their content in order to avoid triggering people. However, most movies and TV shows do not have trigger warnings attached to them. Fortunately, there are websites like Does The Dog Die and Unconsenting Media where you can check to see if a triggering event is in a movie or TV show before watching it. These warnings and websites can be extremely helpful in preventing you from watching something that might trigger you or cause you to relive your trauma.

Get Some Exercise

I know that this one may seem contradictory because exercise is mostly seen as a physical activity. However, there are quite a few mental benefits to being physically active. Have you ever worked out and then felt pumped and refreshed after? This is because exercise improves self-esteem and cognitive function, which reduces anxiety, depression, and negative moods. Also, there is no one set way to exercise. Exercise can include jogging, swimming and cycling, or walking, gardening, and dancing. All you need to do is find out what works best for you in terms of being physically active. 

Take Mental Health Breaks

Have you ever had a lot of work to do and ended up feeling frazzled because of it? That’s a familiar occurrence that happens to a lot of people. Sometimes it is best to have a mindful moment and take some time to relax. Breathe in, breathe out, and try not to think about all your responsibilities for a bit. When you are finished with your mindful moment, hopefully you will be feeling more refreshed and ready to accomplish all of your tasks. We all get tired and worn out from time to time, so when your body is telling you that you need a break, listen to it.

Communicate With Others

While we all have our own unique mental health experiences and struggles, we are certainly not alone in dealing with those experiences. It’s best for you to find someone that you are comfortable to talk about your mental health with and talk about it with that person if they are comfortable with it as well. It is healthier for humans to communicate in general, so communication is the key to let people know what is best for you mentally, and also learn what is best for them mentally.

I hope that these actions help you take more care of yourself mentally! Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and I wanted to bring some light to practicing mental self-care. No human being is perfect and we all need to do certain things to take care of ourselves. The first step to doing so is to know how to take care of ourselves, so we can adequately take care of other people and be the best version of ourselves there is.


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