Stress and addiction are closely linked together. In fact, stress is one of the key factors(1) of addiction initiation, maintenance, relapse and treatment failure, according to Psychology Today. It is important to differentiate between chronic stress and normal stress. Normal stress can be healthy and even seen as pleasant. However, chronic stress can have harmful effects on your physical and mental health.(2) One of the biggest sources of chronic stress is in the workplace. As a result, chronic stress can cause employees to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drugs and alcohol.(3) Luckily, self-care can help you cope with this stress in a healthy way.
Mental Benefits of Self-Care
Self-care has a number of key health benefits. In its most basic form, self-care is simply taking care of yourself. Exercising, for example, can prevent several diseases and disorders including heart disease.(4) However, self-care also has a number of mental benefits as well.
Taking time away to take care of yourself provides you with a way to recharge your batteries. After a long, hard day at work, coming home and taking a relaxing bath can be akin to hitting the reset button. This makes you able to withstand everyday stressors better and enables you to stay focused and more productive when you are working.
But, now that you know the benefits of self-care, how can you actually implement it in your everyday life?
Sleep is important for our mental and physical health, but it is very often overlooked. According to ResMed, sleep helps you heal damaged cells, boost your immune system, and recharge your heart and cardiovascular system for the next day.(5) On top of these physical benefits though, getting the correct amount of sleep also has tons of mental health benefits. No one feels 100 percent when they haven’t had enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation can prevent you from focusing, make your irritable, and cause you to crave unhealthy foods. It is hard to deal with even basic, everyday stress when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep. To help you get the sleep you need, it is important to have a set sleep routine and schedule. While it might seem like you can get more work done if you stay up, it is generally a much better idea to get the sleep you need and come back to your work later.
Take a Break
Taking a break can be helpful when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. No one can concentrate on one task for long, especially if it isn’t a task that is fun or exhilarating. So, instead of trying to focus on a task for longer than you could do accurately, take regular breaks. This can help you stay focused while you do work and decrease the amount of stress you’re under, especially at work. We recommend taking at least one break an hour and possibly even more if the task you’re doing is particularly difficult.
Eating healthy can improve your physical and mental health. Healthy food helps to boost your mood and can keep you from being stressed. Keeping healthy snacks close at hand and having regular meals can greatly enhance your overall mood and your mental stability.
Self-care can do wonders for your mental health and can prevent relapse. By preparing your body to handle stress well, you can keep your outlook positive and handle whatever the world throws at you.
Henry Moore is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both.