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Tales from Utah Valley: Don’t forget to self-care

By Laura Giles - Special to the Daily Herald | May 25, 2024

Jeremy Hall

Laura Giles

As we are nearing the end of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, we can’t forget about caring for ourselves, which is an important aspect of being mentally healthy. It’s easy to get caught up in caring for others; providing service can help us to be mentally healthy. However, caring for ourselves is necessary.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health website (nimh.nih.gov), self-care means taking time to do things that will improve both physical health and mental health. “When it comes to your mental health, self-care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness and increase your energy. Even small acts of self-care in your daily life can have a big impact,” it states.

So, how can we practice self-care? If you need some great ideas or inspiration or even a little nudging to actually do it, look no further than the PG Cares Facebook and Instagram pages. Sundays are “Self-Care Sundays” on these pages, with posts that can help us to help ourselves.

“Spending time outside is also really, really good for your brain. Exposure to nature has been proven to lead to better cognitive function in a number of studies. It’s also been shown to decrease stress and boost happiness, both of which are crucial for maintaining good mental health and fighting depression and anxiety,” states a post from May 5.

“The end of the school year can be an exhausting time for everyone, especially for kids, parents, teachers and mental health professionals. They can often feel burnt out while trying to figure out how to navigate through this transitional time. We all know one thing – June is the time for a much-needed break for everyone,” states another post dated May 19. Each post is accompanied by facts, research, quotes and great ideas.

The National Institutes of Health offers a short list of effective ways to practice self-care. Doing even one of these each day can boost our physical and mental health. Doing more than one per day? Even better!

Get regular exercise, even if it’s just a 10-minute walk each day. Eat healthy, regular meals and stay hydrated. Make sleep a priority, which may mean sticking to a schedule and limiting screen time close to bedtime. Try relaxing activities, such as meditation. Set goals and priorities, both short-term and long-term. Practice gratitude, reminding ourselves daily about the good things in our lives. Focus on positivity. Last, but definitely not least, is to stay connected. Reach out to friends or family members often.

What one person does to practice self-care may be different than what another person does. That’s OK. It’s simply important for all of us to care for ourselves daily.


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