BY DR. JACQUELIN DARBY
In this fast paced day and age, it is important that individuals engage in self-care practices to help maintain quality of life. While there are many ideas about what self-care can be, the most basic definition is just tending to one's needs so that they may function in their daily lives. Think of self-care as way to honor yourself for the work that you do. Below are five ways that we can incorporate self-care in our daily routine:
1. Attending to your physical needs: This is the most basic way to attend engage in self-care is to make sure your physical needs are being met. Taking care of your physical need will give you the foundation needed to tackle the day. Some examples of physical needs are eating (go ahead and take that lunch break), getting adequate sleep (6-8 hours a night) and exercise (as simple as taking a 10-minute walk around the office). These simple steps are great ways to get in a bit of self-care into your day. Neglecting these activities can be a sign that you are under strain because these are the first needs to go when under high levels of distress.
2. Tending to your social needs: Human beings are social beings. We need to be around others to survive. Studies have shown that social isolation can lead to a decline in mental health. Interacting with others can help relieve anxiety and releases hormones in your brain. Simple ways to meet your social need includes going out for a cup of coffee, phone conversations or simply sending memes back and forth.
3. Increase Your Mindfulness. By engaging in mindfulness, it allows us to check-in with ourselves and our surroundings and place our minds in the present moment. The easiest way to engage in mindfulness practice is to focus on your breath. Diaphragmatic breathing lowers anxiety. To engage in diaphragmatic breathing image you are smelling a flower (breathe in) and then you are blowing out a candle (breathe out).
4. Practicing your faith: Research has shown that religious practices can be a protective factor against depression and suicide. Engaging in faith helps promote hope and connection with others.
5. Talking it out: The easiest element of self-care is reaching out for help. By simply saying "I need help," you are already taking the first step in gaining the power over your mental health.
Engaging in self-care practices is one step that can be done to gain back our mental health. Here are some resources that can be used to find help:
Therapy for Black Girls: An online database for African American therapist
Psychology Today: an online database for therapist in area. You can search by insurance, symptoms or other needs