Self-care means taking care of your basic needs every single day.
When we start to feel down, stressed or burnt out, we often stop taking care of ourselves (not necessarily on purpose).
For instance you might start staying up really late watching YouTube, skipping meals or eating things you normally wouldn’t, avoiding exercise or withdrawing from friends.
When you’re unemployed, self-care becomes even more important because looking after yourself can have a big effect on your physical and mental health.
Nutrients form the fuel for our brain and body and the only way humans can get nutrients is from food.
Eating regular meals, and trying to make the best healthy choices you can is important. Our digestive system doesn’t just deal with food – it plays a big role in our overall health and mental health.
Here are some examples:
- You have a ‘second brain’ (your enteric nervous system) in your stomach that communicates directly with the brain in your head (central nervous system). This is why you can feel emotions in your stomach (e.g. butterflies when you’re nervous)
- 90% of serotonin is made in your gut. Serotonin is an important brain chemical for your mood and plays a role in depression
- What you eat, when you eat and how much can directly affect your hormones – and your hormones can have a big effect on your mood and mental health
- Most of your immune system starts off in your digestive system. Some theories on why people get depression involve inflammation in your body (an immune response)
Exercise | 60 minutes of vigorous exercise a day
Exercise has a lot of benefits for our body and brain.
There are benefits from moving our body, as well as from incidental factors, like socialising with others, being outside in nature, or getting more sunlight/vitamin D.
Exercise releases ‘feel good’ brain chemicals which can lift your mood. In fact, exercise is very effective as a treatment for anxiety and depression.
Spending time with people you care about plays an important role in your brain chemicals:
- Oxytocin gives us feelings of love and bonding
- Dopamine helps us feel good
- Mirror neurons help us empathise and connect
Our brain is designed to be stimulated. Of course, it’s about finding balance – because it’s possible to be overstimulated (stressed) or under stimulated (bored or feeling down).
Want more tips? Check out these related articles!