A key way to maintain good behavioral health hygiene is to build resiliency into your daily life. Resilience is your ability to handle adversity – when life gives you lemons, are you face down on the floor or already looking up recipes for lemon-meringue pie? In the former case, a lack of resiliency represents no protection from negative stress or threats, whereas in the latter case it is precisely those resilient qualities in an individual which empower her to acknowledge the setback, moderate its negative effects, and begin adapting it into something more positive.
So how do you build resiliency into your life in the first place? The short answer is: self-care. Taking care of yourself consistently in a variety of ways and not neglecting your own well-being creates space in your life to absorb, process, and transform negative experiences – if not into positive ones, this sort of resilience at least mitigates the negative effects of stress and trauma. Here are some ways to build self-care into your daily routine.
Sleep – don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s rest. Getting the right amount of sleep (7-8 hours a night for most adults) on a regular basis builds emotional and mental resilience and benefits physical health, too!
Nature – spending time engaging with nature helps reduce stress and improve well-being. Whether you’re taking care of a plant in your home or staring at the tree canopy on a hike, “eco-therapy” makes a difference. (Check out this blog post for a deeper dive.)
Say “No” – learn to say no sometimes to friends and relatives when you’ve already got too much on your plate. It’s okay to prioritize yourself every now and again.
Schedule your self-care – it’s important to be clear about your self-care time. Try to build in time for any of the above or other relaxing activities and stick with what you plan.
Physical health – if it’s not obvious already, your physical and behavioral health are inextricably linked. In order to maximize either, you need to take care of both. Don’t neglect regular preventative healthcare like annual physicals and flu shots. You can also take an online screening to check-up on your behavioral health.
Be active and mindful of your self-care. Tell yourself that you’re doing these activities explicitly for you – because that’s just what you’re doing: taking good care of yourself now to make it easier to cope later when life gives you lemons.