Loading

Self-Care For Mind And Body Wellness

Exercise, sleep and healthy eating have long been considered the building blocks of good health. But we may need to add more elements to this triad.

Traditionally, any interest in the body beyond that as a functioning machine has been considered nonconformist. When it breaks down, they mend it up with plasters, elixirs and capsules, send it on its way. The focus on mental and emotional health is relatively recent; however, the approach remains the same, prescribing pills to replenish neurotransmitters, or numb an excess of nerves. Of course, we should be treated with medications if we are ill and require them. But emotional health exists on a spectrum — perhaps it's not major depression but a sickness of spirit, an ennui, or loneliness. Left unchecked, it can spiral into something deeper. Just as we can ameliorate the risk of high blood pressure or diabetes with conscious eating and physical activity, we may be able to prevent depression by cultivating interests and creating human connections.

Modern life can be an endless drudgery, drawing away as much productivity as possible, belittling, expecting perfection — leaving one hollow and burnt out. We forget what brings us joy, and the things that invigorate have fallen by the way side. But the body doesn't exist as a distinct entity from the mind. And as the consciousness ruminates on the lack of substance, it creates a spiral of mental and physical descent.

But the body doesn't exist as a distinct entity from the mind. And as the consciousness ruminates on the lack of substance, it creates a spiral of mental and physical descent.

Isolation, drudgery and boredom have to be identified and cast out. We are social creatures, so we are sensitive to those around us. We are creative creatures, and are sensitive to beauty. The vis vitae seeks safe spaces with positive experiences and if deprived, it slinks into a dark place. Not everyone is lucky enough to have an exciting, inspiring environment at the work place or at home. So we must seek it outside, perhaps in other people, or activity, or music, or words, or color.

Pull away from that which drain you and find your ritualistic pleasure.

This type of self-care has also newly been added to community health programs in the United Kingdom and Canada as 'Social Prescribing'. The NHS England website states — 'Social prescribing is a way for local agencies to refer people to a link worker. Link workers give people time, focusing on ‘what matters to me’ and taking a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing. They connect people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support.' This can be anything from gym-based activities, to visits to the museum, to knitting clubs. It is an effort to prioritize the individual as a person, as opposed to a patient, and providing them with the tools for self-care with the added benefit of creating a supportive framework around the individual.

We do not have such a program in the US, so we must make our own support structure. Some introspection is in order. Pull away from that which drains you and find your ritualistic pleasure. Perhaps you are a great scholar, and love learning new things. Perhaps you thrive on human (or animal?) companionship. Or perhaps, like me, you love skincare regimens.

Skincare and mental health are, for me, intricately connected. It is a reaffirmation that I am valuable and deserving of my own time and attention, even if it is perceived as vanity. It is a necessary ritual. I attempt to cultivate the beauty of my skin, and remind myself to cultivate the beauty in each day for my mind and spirit.

Skincare and mental health are, for me, intricately connected. It is a reaffirmation that I am valuable and deserving of my own time and attention, even if it is perceived as vanity.

'That old song I listened to on my phone? Reminded me of happiness. The cup of coffee I had? Warmed my chest. The fellow commuter who smiled at me? Made me feel seen. The autumn breeze feels cool on my face and gives me lightness. I will go home exhausted because I am burned out, but I will read a page of that book I bought so long ago.'

And for a while I will be transported and inspired.

What would you add to the building blocks of good health? Friendships? Creative escapes? Knowledge acquirement? Find what nourishes your spirit, and share your inspirations with us.

Created By
Avery Wraith
Appreciate

Credits:

Created with images by picturegarden - "very loud dried flower blossoms" • grandfailure - "woman with magic glowing headphones on dark background,illustration painting" • Elena Helade - "Top view of black fluffy cat lays on the bed in the bedroom near the laptop screen. Portrait of a beautiful black kitten on a pink bed. Copyspace. Domestic, technology and pet concept." • Belight - "Pink carnation flowers in cup on grey background." • kolyadzinskaya - "painting texture oil painting still life, a cup of coffee drink" • Rawpixel.com - "Artist drawing a forest" • LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS - "attractive young woman applying serum on face with pipette"