5 Quick Tips for Mental Self-Care

mental self-care self-care tips
A woman talking to her counselor.

We are in the last month of our school schedule. We have just a few weeks to finish up lesson plans and projects and to squeeze in a couple field trips before our brains go on summer vacation. It’s crunch time! 

As this year winds down, I am already evaluating learning goals and planning out lessons for next year. We are only a few weeks away from a graduation celebration, there is a family road trip to plan and household projects to prepare for.

These are all really good things and I am grateful that they are all on my "to do" list this year. I can remember so many summers when the sources of my overwhelm and stress were not so positive and the good stuff had to be set aside.

Still, having so many things happening all at once, with so many details to keep track of, I am feeling a little chaotic these days. When I feel this way, I know that I need to stop, relax, and organize my thoughts and my tasks. It is so tempting to skip this step because organization takes time. However, I have learned that if I don't I will most likely make a mistake that will cost me much more later on.

Over the years, I have learned some simple relaxation techniques, organizational strategies and home management systems that help me to break through the overwhelm, reduce stress and nurture my mental health.


READ MORE: The 10 Paracords of Self-Care



Under The Parachute Project™ there are five strands in the Mental Paracord, they are:





Below, are 5 quick tips for mental self-care that will nurture your MENTAL well-being:


Quick Mental Self-Care Tip #1 – Stress Management:

Whether sudden or ongoing, stress often manifests itself in the muscles of the body. It is a natural reaction as the body protects itself, in response to threat. Prolonged muscle tension can then spread, causing symptoms in other parts of the body such as headache.

An effective way to alleviate these symptoms is to practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation. PMR involves tensing a group of muscles as you breath in, and relaxing them as you breath out. You then work through the muscle groups, in a certain order, until all groups have been targeted. Learn more about the correct way to practice progressive muscle relaxation HERE.

The benefits of this stress management technique goes beyond alleviating tense muscles. The more you practice PMR, the easier it will be to experience its benefits on your overall stress level. This technique can also help to calm the body and mind for sleep, adding to your overall wellness.


Quick Mental Self-Care Tip #2 - Build Routines  

Life is full of decisions. So many decisions to be made, every single day. Some of them even carry life long, high stakes consequences. The more energy we spend on the small decisions, the less we have left for the big ones. Decision fatigue is a real burden on our mental well-being.  


Routines can be a powerful tool in helping us to eliminate some of these everyday considerations. By creating routines for those consistent daily demands, we can be proactive, as we move through our days, and spend less time and energy reacting. 


Think about those times in your schedule that are relative the same, day after day, such as morning and bedtime or after school or work. Create a routine for that period of time, that allows you to make those actions and decisions automatic.    



Quick Mental Self-Care Tip #3 - Avoid Too Much Media


There are more resources available, to keep up with what's going on in the world than ever before. There are also a lot more voices adding their commentary to every issue under the sun than ever before.  When the world is literally at our fingertips, it is difficult not to be drawn into the noise. 


While it is important to stay informed, it is also important not to allow ourselves to get caught up in the distractions and conflicts that only add to our stress and damage our mental health. 


Limit the amount if time you spend consuming media during the day, and turn off your screens at least an hour before bedtime.  Avoid getting lost in the time suck of social media. Instead redirect your attention to something that provides real escape from the stress of current events.  



Quick Mental Self-Care Tip #4 – Create a Retreat at Home:

What do you do to relax? Consider creating a space inside your home that is set up to facilitate easy access to whatever your chosen activity might be.

For example, if you enjoy listening to music, set up a spot in your home that allows you to stop and listen to your favorite tunes, every day. Your space might include mood lighting, a charger for your phone, some head phones, etc.

If you like to read, set up a chair in a quiet corner, away from your main living area. Make sure it is well lit and keep a stack of books, from your preferred reading list, nearby so that they are easily accessible. Now, when you have a few minutes, you can sit down and read a few pages and take a mental break from your daily tasks.

When a space is set up ahead of time, it serves as a reminder to stop in the middle of our everyday responsibilities and grab the spare moments we have. Even just a few minutes spent on an activity that we enjoy can do wonders for our well-being.


Quick Mental Self-Care Tip #5 – Just Say No:

A lot of us really struggle with sharing the responsibilities on our heaping plate. However, one of the best ways to lessen your load doesn’t actually require asking for help in the first place. It does however require fighting the urge to take on more.

As a parent, it is common to feel that you have a responsibility to sign up for that school event or volunteer for that community fundraiser, etc. Yet, you know that you will regret it later when you feel overwhelmed and over extended. Before you give into the temptation to commit, ask yourself, “Will taking on this task really help, when you are already spread so thin?”.

In this season in life, it is perfectly fine to allow others, who have the resources, to take on those outside projects. In effect, you are allowing them to help you focus in on the needs of your child so that you can avoid feeling pulled in all directions. Your community also benefits by having those who are in the best position to serve take on those commitments, with better results. 


For more resources to help you nurture your mental health and well-being, follow my “Mental Self-Care” board on Pinterest!


As always, do not try to apply all of these quick tips for mental self-care at once. It is always better to focus your attention on just one self-care action at a time. In this way, you increase the likelihood that you will stay consistent, be successful and enjoy the benefits of your efforts long-term.



Self-Care Action Discussed in This Post:

Consider the 5 quick tips for mental self-care discussed above. Write down those that resonate with you. Which mental self-care actions have you taken in the past that have worked for you? Use your answers to these questions to be help you be more mindful of the benefits of mental self-care and recognize opportunities, when they arise.



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100 Self-Care Activities for Caregivers

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