Taking good care of ourselves is important for mental health. When we are mentally healthy, we are better able to appreciate life and we are ready to cope up with the challenges thrown at us. On the other end, having poor mental health can lead us to make unwise decisions that can affect different aspects of our lives, such as socializing with peers as well as handling our finances.

Here are some tips and suggestions in caring for your mental health.

1. Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is important because this draws the line between what is acceptable and unacceptable for you. It’s a way to give importance to your own thoughts and feelings while letting people know what exactly to expect. A common Filipino trope that serves as a classic example of setting boundaries is when a friend casually mentions “Matutulungan kita sa lahat, huwag lang sa pera.” (I’ll be here to help with anything, except with money.) Ask yourself: Have you ever gotten mad with someone for saying this? Most likely, your answer is “No.”

2. Get enough sleep

Sleep and mental health are connected. Lack of sleep can leave you feeling tired that can negatively affect how you cope with your daily chores, causing you to worry or get stressed that might contribute to further lack of sleep. It’s a vicious cycle. Meanwhile, having enough sleep is closely linked to productivity (and better skin!) that naturally gives a mood boost.

3. Disconnect with toxic people

The Konmari hype went beyond tidying things, to the point that it touched on removing negative people because we all truly need this. You owe it to yourself to ignore, avoid, or unfollow those who make you feel bad. But if the person is someone you must inevitably deal with (like a housemate or a colleague you closely work with), setting boundaries will help.

4. Avoid impulse purchases

I know that some people relate self-care with making themselves feel instantly good, hence a lot of retail therapies. Know though that self-indulgence is different from self-care. The first one can result in a lot of reckless purchases that might make you end up with unpaid bills and loans.

Rethink money as a tool to help you reach your goals and sustain a comfortable life. Money and self-care do come together, especially that well-handled finances can give you peace of mind and afford you what you need while making sure all the bills are paid.

5. Practice self-compassion

Kristin Neff, a psychology professor at the University of Texas advocates self-compassion. In her words, "It means treating yourself with the same kind of kindness, care, compassion, as you would treat those you care about — your good friends, your loved ones." It's about giving yourself the same understanding even when you make mistakes.

6. Recognize that it’s okay to back down at times

We constantly feel that we have to keep things under control, but sometimes, the right thing to do is to let go and just pour our emotions out. There are times that it’s alright to throw the towel in so that people will know that you need help. Don’t be afraid to speak up about what you’re going through. What you might consider as embarrassing can be a motivational story for others.

Mental health is important at every stage of your life and there are a lot of ways to address it. But the most vital is the presence of supportive people around you. It takes a village not just to raise a child, but to nurture human beings who look after each other.

Ceetee Punzalan Ceetee Punzalan

Kim Zafra

Kim is your typical corporate junkie who wishes to savor work-life balance. She's part of The Brighter Life Team and takes this chance to figure out her own financial maze. Life is a tender unfolding according to her, thus she named her blog from this perspective. She likes the word harmony and wishes to attain it, one restful sleep at a time — or one sleeping kid at a time, whichever works first.