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Imagine coming from an extended school day, and you light a candle and go to the bathroom. You fill the bathroom with rose-scented bath salts and pour your bubble bath into the tub. You go inside, listen to your favorite music, and feel your muscles and mind relaxed. This is a way of helping your mental health. Many people think that you are wasting time by doing things to help your mental health. But instead, it is called self-care.

Self-care is the process of taking care of oneself with behaviors promoting health and active management of illness. Everyone’s idea of self-care is different from one another. Some people enjoy going to the gym, while others like journaling. Whatever it is, here are some ideas that you can implement in your life to help you manage your daily stresses.

First, you must understand why self-care is essential for your mental health. It helps you manage your stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. Who wouldn’t want that?

So how can we start?

Here are some steps that you can do to help your mental health…

Value yourself

If you do not treat yourself with kindness and respect, you are already starting on the wrong path. Make sure you make time for your hobbies and favorite projects. That can either be painting or taking dance lessons. Or even learning how to play a new instrument. Whatever it is, do what you love.

Take Care of Your Body

Taking care of yourself physically helps you mentally. First, eat nutritious meals. No one is stopping you from eating a bag of chips or some cookies, but eating healthy meals gives you the proper nutrients to boost your energy. Another thing you can do is stop smoking and vaping. When you rely on chemicals such as nicotine, it worsens anxiety symptoms and amplifies feelings of depression. I know in the moment it feels good but think about it long term. Do you really want to rely on something so bad for your health for the rest of your life? The third and fourth thing you can do is drink plenty of water and exercise. Exercise is known to help decrease depression and anxiety while improving your mood. So take the chance to go on that thirty-minute walk. Go to that dance class. When you exercise, you produce endorphins that help relieve pain and reduce stress. Finally, get enough sleep. Researchers have even stated that the lack of sleep contributes to higher depression levels in college students.

Learn how to deal with stress

We all need to learn how to do this. But the reality is that stress will always be in our life. So practice some good coping skills. Nature walks, journaling, and even playing with a pet helps reduce stress.

Calm the mind down

The reality is that our thoughts drive our actions and mood. So we should exercise our minds to be calm, even in stressful times. Try mindfulness exercises or even praying if you are religious. There are many videos on youtube and on the internet that you can try to be more mindful.

Set Realistic goals

Especially if you are a high school and college student, putting too much on yourself causes you to have unnecessary stress that you do not need. You do not always need to get a 100% or join every club. Especially in the South Asian community, colleges are not looking for a robot but rather someone with a true story. So Aim high, but be realistic and do not overschedule to the point where you lose sleep. Trust me; as a high school student, I know it is not worth it.

Get help when you need it

SEEKING PROFESSIONAL HELP IS NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS BUT A SIGN OF STRENGTH. By understanding that you need help, you learn a crucial characteristic in life called acceptance. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illnesses and addiction to live fulfilling lives.

To do all of these takes a lot of work. Even now, I still struggle to get 8 hours of sleep each night. But if you slowly give yourself five minutes a day to do at least one of these mental health boosters, it will help you in the long run.

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