How much do you know about self-care and what it means for your mental health? The term “self-care” is self-explanatory and it’s a practice that can do wonders for the mind, body and soul.

Too often we get caught up with the frustrations of work and life in general and we become easily irritated when things don’t go our way. We are easily stressed out and feel as if we are at our wit’s end.

The truth is we become so caught up with “work” that we forget to live. We forget about what is really important in life; we get so caught up in trying to make as much money as we can to buy as many material things as we can, while neglecting what is really important—spiritual connections, a feeling of peace, contentment and tranquility. We forget that the life we live is a borrowed one and that we should be valuing family much more than we do, and that we should show more kindness to our fellow man. Have you ever heard the saying, “Smile and the world smiles with you?” Well, it means that you get what you give… if you find balance in your life and you are at peace with yourself, the world will be at peace with you.

We sometimes have this misconception that taking care of our own needs makes us selfish. To the contrary, we must take good care of ourselves first to be able to put out our best forward and to be good with those around us.

So how do we go about mastering the art of self-care? We start by reminding ourselves that it’s okay to not feel okay and that we have to take time for ourselves and do things that make us feel better. Here are some tips for taking better care of yourself:

●             Staying in tune with your spiritual side: This

                can mean finding peace and solace in your

                religion or whatever gives you peace of mind.

                Activities like yoga, meditation or simply

                observing nature’s beauty can also be

                extremely therapeutic and relaxing to the body

                and mind.

●             Treat yourself: It’s not every day that you buy

                nice clothes, visit the spa or go on that much

                needed vacation. Self-reward is good. Working

                hard means that you should be able to reap the

                fruits of your labour.

●             Learn a new language: Not everyone has the

                money to travel the world and that’s fine. But

                learning a new language is a different and

                exciting way to learn about a new culture.

                When you learn a new language, you’re also

                improving brain function. Apart from it being

                cool to speak another language, it also widens

                your professional prospects, so… ¡A empezar!

●             Enjoy fine cuisine and throw in a glass of red

                wine: While there’s nothing wrong with a

                home cooked meal, it’s sometimes nice not to

                have to do the cooking. Whether you choose to

                dine solo is entirely up to you but a nice meal

                with a couple of glasses of red wine will not

                only make your tummy happy but will bring

                your senses to life. Wine doesn’t only make for

                a good food companion, it’s also good for the

                heart!

●             Music and Dance: Apart from it being a good

                physical activity to help you break a sweat,

                dancing to good music releases happy

                hormones that give us that natural, feel good

                sensation. By the time you’re done dancing,

                you will forget about whatever was bothering

                you.

●             Get a new hobby: We become so used to

                routine that we end up feeling “bored.” Having

                a new hobby means having something different

                and exciting to do. Whether it’s art classes or

                reading more books, your brain will thank you

                for it.

When life seems to get hard, it’s completely okay to take a time out to refresh and recharge. Taking time to care for yourself is a key to peace, tranquility, happiness and ultimately to maintaining healthy relations with those around you.

Alicia Roopnaraine is a Psychologist at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation’s Psychiatric Department and also sees patients privately. You can send questions, comments or schedule a private consultation at aliciaroopnaraine@gmail.com

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