6 Powerful Ways to Improve Your Mental Health & Practice Self-Love
The journey to self love is rarely easy, but taking the steps to build a more powerful you will help unlock your full potential. Your self-love journey can start at any point in your life—mine started after a really tough break up. I gave everything within myself to someone who ended up betraying me, leaving me heartbroken, miserable, and ultimately feeling worthless. I remember my dad telling me one night, “its okay, tenes que ser fuerte. Todo pasa por algo.” You have to be strong. Everything happens for a reason. This became the beginning of my self-love journey, which ultimately helped me improve my mental health.
Struggling with chronic anxiety & depression, it was important for me to begin a routine and be cautious of how I was both feeding and spending my energy every day. After 2 years of establishing this routine, I feel the best I’ve ever felt. Don’t get me wrong, the journey is forever evolving—there is no final destination. I find beauty in that realization; there’s always work to do, and an opportunity to feel even stronger, happier, more fulfilled. It's about lifting yourself up when you’re feeling down and knowing what you deserve (because you always deserve to feel good AF). Here are the six most important things I implemented during my journey:
Meditation. Our minds are so much more powerful than we often give them credit for, and harnessing that power is a tough, yet hugely rewarding practice. A great way to begin your practice is by 5-10 minute morning meditations. I use Insight Timer but Headspace is also great! I also recommend Spotify for daily affirmations. If you struggle with panic attacks or anxiety like me, I highly recommend envisioning yourself in the future and speaking to your oldest self.
Be Cautious of Your Energy & Cut Out the Fat. I’m a big self-reflector. Start to reflect on who and what makes you feel good and who & what doesn’t. Establish healthy boundaries & take into consideration everything you feel, and the roots of those feelings. If you feel drained after hanging out with someone, it could be that their energy isn’t matching up with yours. Take some space or limit the hangout time—this is the time to be a little selfish and take care of you first.
Physical Activity. When you’re feeling down, sad or lost, it’s easy to want to lay in bed and avoid everything (I sometimes still have these moments). It can be difficult, but make a conscious effort to get up and go on a walk—even if it's around the block. Getting outside and distracting yourself with a fun physical activity can help get your mind off things; take initiative and sign up for a soccer league or go play pickleball with friends. Studies show physical activities actually stimulate various brain chemicals that can leave you feeling happier, more relaxed, & less anxious.* I found morning pilates really energized me, so I created a routine around it. I now take classes three times a week. Finding things that excite you can motivate you to continue participating in them, helping keep you from falling into that dark hole.
Self-Care! Something that really helps me feel better about myself is having a good skin & body care routine. Taking care of myself physically, spending time moisturizing and giving myself spa-level moments helps me slow down and appreciate the little things. I have acne-prone skin so I stick to the basics - Neutrogena face acne cleanser, SPF in the morning, and a hydrating moisturizer at night. My body care routine is always my fave Único Body Oil Spray followed by Único Hand + Body Lotion.
Journal - My anxiety often shows up the worst at night, when I’ve got no distractions, and am trying to wind down and go to sleep. I’ve found writing down my thoughts to be the most calming—it helps put everything in perspective and make any anxiousness feel less significant. Highly recommend going shopping and treating yourself to a cute new journal!
Be Open With Your Support System - This one can be incredibly difficult, especially if you're used to keeping your emotions to yourself, like myself. But reaching out to your loved ones and asking for help can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your mental health. It can be a weight off your shoulders to share your struggles with someone who cares about you, and they may be able to offer you support and guidance that you didn't even know you needed. Remember, it's okay to accept help from others, and it doesn't make you weak to ask for it. In many cultures, pushing down your emotions and putting on a brave face is a norm and sometimes expected, but what I've learned is that in this new generation, showing emotion is okay. It took me a while to realize that keeping everything inside was only hurting me more. When I finally opened up to my support system, it was a liberating experience. I discovered that expressing my vulnerabilities didn't make me weak; instead, it allowed me to connect on a deeper level with my loved ones. They were there for me, ready to listen and provide the support I desperately needed. It's important to recognize that we don't have to face our struggles alone. Embracing the idea that it's acceptable to ask for help and share our emotions is a crucial step in our journey to self-love and improved mental health.
Through it all, I've learned that self-love is an ongoing journey without a final destination. It's about constantly lifting myself up, recognizing my worth, and embracing the support of others. I encourage you to embark on your own journey to self-love, knowing that you deserve to feel amazing. Together, let's embrace our emotions, ask for help when needed, and unlock our full potential for a happier, fulfilled life. And as always, we're always here if you need us.