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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Improve mental and physical health with self-care routine

By Chloe Morales | Staff Writer

Harvard Health

  “Engaging in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, reduce stress, improve concentration, minimize frustration and anger, increase happiness, improve energy, and more, ” according to Southern New Hampshire University. 

   Self-care is a term often used to describe the action of taking steps to better one’s physical and mental health. It can take place in many different forms. Eating healthy, getting some sun at the park, hanging out with pets, and eliminating screen time are a few of the things one can do to take care of themselves. 

   Take nutrition, for example. It can be found that those who eat processed foods from fast-food chains or foods high in sugar, fat, and sodium are at higher risk of mental illnesses such as depression. As reported by Psychiatric Times, “individuals who closely adhere to a Mediterranean diet, as well as traditional diets in Norway, Japan, and China, which are rich in vegetables and fish, have a 30% lower risk for depressed mood.”

   Exercise is a great activity to take up because it can improve mood and overall mental health. When someone works out, chemical reactions within their body work to release hormones. “Endorphins, Serotonin, Dopamine, and Testosterone are all released during and after physical activity and all improve mood, enhance self-esteem and increase pleasure,” according to Therapeutic Solutions.

   If possible, try to go outside for physical activity to receive sunlight. Often overlooked, sunlight is essential for our survival and overall happiness. Not only do people need vitamin D to live, but when someone lacks sunlight they are at greater risk for depression.

   According to Healthline, “Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin.” Serotonin is otherwise known as one of the “happiness hormones” and improves mood as well as sleep. 

   Spirituality is another way people can practice self-care. Regardless of what religion someone practices, spiritual practices give people a sense of purpose, as they are less likely to suffer from existential crises. An existential crisis is when people start to question their purpose and the greater meaning of life. 

   For many, their purpose is found in serving their god or gods and living meaningful, selfless lives. Those who are Buddhist practice meditation, a time for people to remain still, close their eyes, and clear their mind of daily stresses. 

   On top of these self-care practices, one can simply spend time focusing on their favorite hobby. 

   Different art forms such as painting, crocheting, or sculpting can all be considered self-care. Art therapy is a popular and effective way for those to express themselves in a creative setting. It can bring healing to those who have experienced trauma, or mental health issues. 

   According to Verywellmind, “Art, either creating it or viewing others’ art, is used to help people explore emotions, develop self-awareness, cope with stress, boost self-esteem, and work on social skills.”

   Listening to, or practicing music is proven to reduce stress. The University of Nevada, Reno points to how different music has different therapeutic effects. Fast music can increase productivity while slower music can relax muscles while reducing stress.

   Whichever practice one chooses, it is important to remember that taking time out of the day solely dedicated to self-care is crucial for overall well-being. Simply stepping outside for some fresh air and sunlight, making a cup of tea, or listening to a good song can take less than a few minutes to do. Investing in oneself is necessary for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. 

   Everyone is worthy of care, and that care can come directly from themselves.

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Improve mental and physical health with self-care routine