Making Self-Care a Habit Can Promote Better Mental Health

Dr. Brett HowardMental Health

by guest blogger, Brad Krause

You may already know the importance of self-care, but are you taking time to really put that knowledge to use? Self-care is a necessary tool in maintaining your mental health and can help you stay strong during difficult times, such as recovering from addiction. Want to know more? Here are five meaningful methods to incorporate self-care into your routine and take control of your mental health.

Don’t Skimp on Sleep

There’s been a lot of buzz in the media about the importance of sleep, and that’s for good reason. You may think of insomnia as a symptom of mental health, but studies show that insomnia can actually lead to mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression. Many addictions are connected to these unchecked mental health issues, and in turn, improper sleep patterns. Struggling to get to sleep at night? Dedicate some time to building a bedtime routine to help you doze off. Keeping your bedroom cool and investing in cozy sheets and blankets can also help you get to bed with fewer problems.

Pursue Some New Pastimes

Hobbies can be much more than a source of fun. You can improve your mental health by spending downtime doing things that bring you joy. Hobbies can help ward off anxiety and boredom, two of the most common triggers for relapses in addictions. Wondering what activities may be right for you? Try brushing up on your drawing skills or dedicating some time to building a yoga practice. You can even benefit from growing a garden or cooking meals for family and friends. Don’t be afraid to try something new! You never know what will fuel your passions and help keep your mental health sharp.

Find Ways to Decompress From Stress

Stress can be so damaging to mental health, so it’s important to invest in practices that will relieve the stress of everyday life. You can start by making meditation a part of your everyday practices. So many positive public figures swear by meditation practices to fend off the harmful effects of out-of-control stress. Having a hard time getting started? You’re not alone. It can be difficult to quiet your mind and really get into mindful meditation. Start with short, guided practices and build your routine up from there. If you think meditation isn’t for you, you can try other ways to relieve stress, like journaling, exercising, or even petting your dog or cat.

Take Time to Do Nothing

With the responsibilities of work, family, and our everyday routines, it can be hard to get a minute to ourselves. While it’s important to stay active and achieve goals, it’s equally important to take time to do, well, nothing. Run a warm bath and soak in the tub for a while or enjoy some quiet time outside. Try to clear your mind and just enjoy the sensations around you, to sink into a truly relaxed state. Spending a few minutes each day in quiet and calm can help reset your mind and maintain focus on your life goals, like staying healthy and staying sober.

Know When to Say “No”

To avoid undue stress and anxiety, it’s really important to avoid overloading yourself with tasks and commitments. Whether it’s working extra hours, helping a friend, or even attending a family function, sometimes you need to say “no,” and focus on taking care of yourself. You can’t do everything, and it really is okay to look out for yourself. Try to keep your “no” answers simple, stay strong with your body language, and remember that you are rejecting the extra responsibility, not the person offering. Mastering this skill is a great way to improve your self-esteem and boost your overall mental health.

Working self-care habits into your everyday routine is a great way to look out for your mental and overall health. From setting aside hours for sleep to avoiding overcommitment, you can take advantage of the soothing effects of self-care and give yourself a boost in self-confidence and happiness throughout life.


Brad Krause graduated from college in 2010 and went straight to the corporate world at the headquarters of a popular retail company. But what started as a dream job soured quickly. After four years of working 15-hour days and neglecting his health, he decided enough was enough. Through aiding a friend during a tough time, Brad discovered his real calling–helping people implement self-care practices that improve their overall wellbeing. He created to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he finds on his self-care journey.

*** This helpful article was published with permission of the author.