Tips for Self-Care

Tips for Self-Care

Your physical and mental health go hand-in-hand, and both can be improved through self-care. Even small actions of taking care of yourself can have a big impact on your wellbeing. 

There are many ways to practice self care. It is important to find what strategies work best for you and your needs. The following list consists of self-care tips to help get you started.

Get Enough Sleep

Make getting enough sleep a priority. The CDC recommends that adults aged 18 to 60 get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. By sticking to a sleeping schedule, many find it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Try to keep up with your sleep schedule even during your off days. 


By incorporating physical activity into your routine, you can improve your physical and mental health. Try to find forms of activity that you enjoy so that you will have an easier time finding the motivation to exercise. It is important to note that every bit of exercise counts, and even in small amounts it can be very beneficial. 



Meditation can help clear one’s mind and create a sense of balance. There are various methods of meditation, many of which may take some practice before their true benefit can be realized. Like all self-care, it is important to note that everyone has their own preference on what type of meditation they find most beneficial. 

Discover a New Hobby

Many individuals find having a hobby to be a great way to destress and focus on what they enjoy. Some may find it hard to find a hobby that they like. For those looking to find a new hobby, consider trying local classes or doing a simple Google search of hobbies that may align with your interests.

Make time for Relaxation

It is important to make time in your day to unwind and relax. By relaxing, you can give your mind and body time to rest. There are things that you might find relaxing, including reading, taking a bath, listening to music, and more. However you like to relax, it is important to make time for it to help you recharge and let your mind find peace.

Connect With Others

Connecting with friends and/or family can serve as a form of self care. When dealing with the stressors of life, some may find themselves feeling distant from others. Reach out to those you love for connection and support.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you are experiencing severe symptoms that last for more than two weeks, it is suggested that you seek further professional help. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Inability to perform daily activities or keep up with responsibilities
  • Difficulties concentrating 
  • Loss of interest in things or activities you typically find enjoyable
  • Struggling to get out of bed in the morning
  • Appetite changes resulting in unwanted weight loss or gain


International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is recognized this year on November 19th. The day honors those we have lost to suicide, and supports those who are suffering from the loss of a friend or family member. Events and resources provided on the day aim to help survivors of suicide loss find understanding, hope, and connection with others. 

AFSP Events for International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day 

There are many events this year for International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. At these events, survivors of suicide loss have the chance to come together to connection, share hope, and find understanding through their shared experience.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has provided a list of registered upcoming events. See the links below for the schedule of events and to learn more.

Resources for Survivors of Suicide Loss

Books for Suicide Loss Survivors, a list offered by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:


Documentaries for Suicide Loss Survivors, a list offered by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:


NAMI, “Suicide Survivors: The Ties That Bind Us”:

  • In this article, a personal story is shared of one who lost their soulmate to suicide. The story aims to combat the stigma around talking about suicide, and show how beneficial connecting with others can be while grieving. 


NAMI, “A Plea From A Survivor Of Suicide Loss”:

  • In this NAMI personal story, the author writes about the pain of mourning after losing a loved one to suicide. She notes of the importance of suicide prevention resources, but also resources dedicated to helping those experiencing loss due to suicide.

Suicide Prevention Resources

Suicide & Crisis Lifeline:

For those wishing to speak on the phone, call 988.


  • If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States.


The Trevor Project:

  • The Trevor Project offers a 24/7 call and text line for those who are struggling and need to speak with a counselor right away. In addition, they also offer many informational articles and resources related to LGBTQIA+ mental health.


Veterans Crisis Line:

For those wishing to speak on the phone, call 988 and press 1.

  • If you’re a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, call to reach caring, qualified VA responders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

  • NAMI offers information and resources on a variety of mental health topics, including suicide. 


National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):

  • NIMH provides individuals with information on mental illnesses as well as suicide prevention.


Further Help & Learn More

To learn more about coping with the loss of a loved one to suicide, we recommend speaking with your healthcare provider.

For those seeking more suicide prevention resources, we recommend contacting your healthcare provider.

If you or a loved one is feeling suicidal, please get help right away. Call 911 or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (available 24/7) at 988.

Ways to Spread Kindness

Ways to Spread Kindness

There are many ways to spread kindness towards others. Even the smallest acts of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s day. By spreading kindness, you can improve your own mental health as well. According to Mental Health UK, being kind to others can help improve your self-esteem, confidence, and overall happiness. 

The following list consists of fifteen ways to spread kindness towards others.

Volunteer at a local organization.

Offer your skills to mentor others.

Give a compliment to a stranger.

Call a friend or family member.

Pick up trash or litter from a public space.

Help someone with their groceries or bags.

Donate to those in need of help.

Write an inspiration note to someone.

Show your appreciation and gratitude.

Give a stranger a compliment.

Offer to run errands or help a busy friend.

Help an elderly neighbor with their chores.

Bring a treat to share with your coworkers.

Offer to take a photo for a couple or family.

Write a thank you note for someone.



Learn More

To learn more ways to spread kindness, as well as the benefits, we recommend the following resources.

Mental Health UK:

Mayo Clinic:

Staying Active this Spring

Tips for Staying Active This Spring

For some, staying active this Spring may be a challenge. With the Pacific Northwest’s unpredictable weather it can be difficult to maintain a physical activity routine. However, there are plenty of ways to get active indoors and outside. 

Physical activity is essential to self-care, and it benefits both physical and mental health. Various symptoms of many common mental health disorders can improve with exercise. In addition, being active can help prevent future illness or disease.

The following list consists of tips for staying active this Spring, whether rain or shine.

Take a Hike

Spring can be one of the most beautiful times of the year. For this reason, hiking in Spring can be especially rewarding.

There are hiking trails for all skill levels, making this activity very flexible in difficulty. When planning your hike, be sure to check the length and incline of your trail. This will help you ensure that you have chosen a hike that is suited to your needs.

Hiking is not only for sunny days. However, when hiking in the rain or in cold weather, be sure to dress and pack accordingly.

Practice Yoga

Yoga can be done both inside or outside, and requires only a small amount of space. For these reasons, many find that it is a great way to increase physical activity.

Bring the Gym Home

On rainy days it can be nice to stay in the comfort of our own home. There are many exercises that you can do from home. While the possibilities are endless, workouts that can easily be done from home include:

  • Jump rope
  • Push-ups, sit-ups, and other body weight exercises
  • Lifting with dumbbells or kettlebell
  • Walk/run stairs

Spend More Time Standing

You can increase your physical activity by replacing sitting with standing. During periods where you would normally find yourself sedentary, try to mix up your routine by standing. For those with desk jobs, standing desks can offer a great way to get more time on your feet during the day.

Take Walks

On nice days, a casual walk can offer a great way to get active as well as enjoy nature. For cloudy days, a rain coat can offer protection or you can try to get your steps indoors. Simple activities, such as walking through a mall, can actually create a great opportunity to get physical activity, even on a rainy day.

Do What Makes You happy

There are an endless number of possibilities for those looking to increase their physical activity this Spring. The important part is discovering what is right for you. By finding activities that you enjoy, you are much more likely to stay consistent with your physical activity.

Heart and Mind Health

Heart and Mind Health

There is a direct relationship between heart and mind health. Although the relationship is sometimes overlooked, understanding the connection can help improve your overall wellness.

The following information is inspired by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and their Hearts + Minds program.

Mental Health is Physical Health

The health of one’s body and mind are connected. By improving one aspect of your health, you are contributing to your overall wellness. Self-care is vital in the prevention and treatment of disease. In addition, you will likely see improvements to your mental health when taking care of your body.

Listen to your Body

Our bodies are constantly sending information to our brains. Whether it may be anything from feelings of pain to fatigue, these feelings are our bodies’ way of communicating. By learning to listen to your body, you are taking an important step towards preventative health. In addition, by listening to your body you will gain a better understanding of yourself, which can be helpful when explaining your symptoms to your healthcare provider.

Get Physical

Physical activity benefits both heart and mind health. Many healthcare providers actually view exercise as a form of treatment, given how effective it can be in improving one’s health. 

Exercise has clear health benefits for one’s weight, heart, and risk of disease. It also has been found to improve mental health for many.

It is important to find a form of physical activity that is right for you. Choose an activity that you are capable of and also enjoy.

Improve Your Nutrition

Every meal and snack you eat provides an opportunity for you to improve your nutrition. You can view food as a tool for health. Even seemingly small changes to your diet or lifestyle can benefit your physical and mental health.

We encourage you to speak to your healthcare provider for tips on how to improve your personal nutrition. 

Find Support

Look for support in your journey towards heart and mind health through friends and family. Also, we recommend reaching out to your health care professional for more help and guidance. 

Read More

To read more about heart and mind health, we recommend viewing NAMI’s Heart + Minds program via the following link:


Honoring Black History Month

Honoring Black History Month

This February we are honoring Black History Month by highlighting black pioneers in physical and mental healthcare. The history and contributions of many Black Americans has been long overlooked. The following list consists of individuals who broke barriers and went on to improve the way we think about physical and/or mental health.

Black History Month

Herman George Canady, Ph.D.

Herman George Canady was a notable Black clinical and social psychologist. He is most known for being the first psychologist to study how the race of a test proctor may create a bias in IQ testing. His studies paved the way for adequate and fair testing environments today.

Black History Month

James McCune Smith, MD

James McCune Smith was the first Black American to receive a medical degree. He obtained his degree at the University of Glasgow Medical School in Scotland, as U.S. admission systems turned him away due to his race. He went on to be the first Black individual to own and operate a pharmacy in the United States. He was also a published author.

Honoring Black History Month

E. Kitch Childs, Ph.D.

Ellen Kitch Childs was an American clinical psychologist and a LGBTQ+ activist. She is known for her vital role in the women’s liberation movement in the U.S., as well as being an advocate for minority women and LGBTQ+ individuals.

Honoring Black History Month

Charles Richard Drew, MD

Charles Richard Drew was a medical researcher and surgeon. He is best known for developing improved techniques for blood storage, as well as developing large-scale blood banks early in World War II.

Honoring Black History Month

M. Joycelyn Elders, M.D.

Joycelyn Elders was the fifteenth Surgeon General of the United States. She was the first African American and second woman to head the U.S. Public Health Service. 

Black History Month

Francis Cecil Sumner, Ph.D.

Francis Sumner was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. degree in psychology, and is often referred to as “Father of Black Psychology.” He was also a strong advocate for educational justice.


Learn More



Self-Care Tips for Heart Health

Self-Care Tips for Heart Health

February is American Heart Month, which brings an opportunity for you to learn self-care tips for heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but there are steps you can take to better prevent it. Taking time for even seemingly small acts of self-care can do wonders for your overall health. It also can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure as well as reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.

The following list consists of self-care tips that can help you keep your heart healthy.

Speak With Your Doctor

A great first step towards heart health is to speak with your health care provider. They can run labs, assess your risk, and help you create a plan for a healthy heart. 


Exercise is very beneficial for your heart and overall health, even if in small amounts. Daily, or almost daily, physical activity is recommended for most to help ensure heart health.

Reduce Intake of Sodium and Unhealthy Fats

Try to eat meals that are low in sodium and do not contain unhealthy fats. Having a diet that consists of high levels of sodium and unhealthy fats can increase your risk of heart disease, so it is best to limit or avoid these foods when possible.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is vital to maintaining a healthy body. The CDC recommends adults get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.


Manage Your Stress

By managing your stress, you can help work towards a healthy heart. According to, “negative psychological health / mental health is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.” Try implementing activities in your life that help reduce your stress levels. This may include reading a book, meditating, taking a bath, or anything else that might calm you.


Learn More and Resources

There are many ways that you can help maintain the health of your heart. We recommend speaking with your health care provider to learn more. To read more about self-care tips for heart health, the following resources are suggested:

Overview of Insomnia

Overview of Insomnia

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that prevents individuals from being able to get enough sleep to function efficiently during the daytime. Insomnia can make it hard for one to fall asleep, stay asleep, or may cause them to wake up too early. It is often a symptom of another illness, but can also be a result of one’s work schedule, lifestyle, or other factors.


The symptoms of insomnia may vary but often include:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Waking up throughout the night
  • Waking up earlier than desired
  • Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
  • Feeling tired throughout the day
  • Irritability
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Trouble sustaining focus


There is no one cause to insomnia, but contributing factors can include:

  • Stress from work, school, or more can often make sleeping difficult. Stressful life events can also lead to insomnia.
  • Work schedules such as varying shift times can lead to insomnia.
  • Habits that include irregular bedtimes can make it harder to sleep. Activities such as eating before bed, using your phone in bed, and more, can also be contributing factors.
  • Age plays a role as insomnia becomes more likely with age.
  • Mental health disorders commonly cause troubles with insomnia.


 When treating insomnia, it is important to consider any underlying conditions that may create or worsen insomnia symptoms. Many find creating good sleep habits to be a great first step. In addition to creating better habits, there are treatment options available. Treatment plans vary but commonly include:

  • Creating healthy sleeping habits is a great way to start. This includes sticking to a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine or energizing activities during the evening, and creating a comfortable sleep environment.
  • Exercise during the day can help you sleep better at night. We suggest speaking with your health care provider to see what type of exercise might be right for you.
  • Practicing relaxation techniques can help you calm down and feel ready to sleep.
  • Herbal remedies including melatonin and valerian root are available “over-the-counter” and have been found to be beneficial to many. The effectiveness of these treatments has not been proven, however, and neither treatment has been approved by the FDA.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)is often used to treat insomnia. It helps teach individuals how to control negative thoughts or worries that might be keeping them awake. 
  • Medication may be used in the treatment of an individual’s insomnia, but only some medications are recommended by healthcare professionals for long-term use.


Health Equity

Health Equity

To have health equity means every person has the opportunity attain their highest level of health, with no disadvantages due to socially determined circumstances. The inequalities in health are reflected through differences in quality of life, rates of disease, access to treatment, and more. Every year, millions of Americans face barriers when trying to access essential health services. 

Over the weekend, the country recognized Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day). Advocates gather on UHC Day to help promote health equality for all, regardless of any hardship. The fight doesn’t end there, however. As long as there are health disparities, we will continue to spread awareness and show support in favor of health for all.

By The Numbers

The health inequalities we face as a society are reflected by various studies. The following list includes facts about equity in health.

  • Research showed that those with a higher household income live longer when comparing the life expectancy of males in the U.S. by the bottom 5% and top 5% of household income. It was found that in 2014, the average male life expectancy for those in the bottom 5% was about 77 years old, and for those in the top 5% it was about 89 years old. (Journal of American Medical Association)
  • People living with more inequalities were found to have a lower life expectancy than others. This was found by comparing the Gini coefficients (a measure of the distribution of income across a population) by life expectancy in individual states. (Journal of American Medical Association and CDC)
  • Cancer deaths are much more common in poorer countries. This inequality didn’t used to be as present, but the gap has grown since the 1970s. (American Cancer Society)
  •  It was found that women in the U.S. have lower rates of obesity as their income rises. Factors such as available food and recreational facilities have been determined as the main factors leading to this inequality. (CDC)
  • Smoking rates vary widely by income, about 12.1% of those who live in households with an annual income of over $100,000 smoke, whereas 32.2% of those who live in households with an annual income of under $20,000 smoke. (CDC)
  • Many older lower-wage workers have more physically demanding jobs. The bottom 20% of income was found to have about 54.8% working physically demanding jobs, while the top 20% only has 16.2% working physically demanding jobs. (Center for Economic and Policy Research)


Learn More and JOin the Fight

We encourage you to join us in working towards health equity. Everyone deserves access to quality health services, and together we can make it happen.

To learn more, the following resources are suggested.

UHC Day:

CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report:

CDC Health Equity:


Listening to Your Body

LIStening to Your Body

Listening to your body can help provide you vital information about what your body needs. Both physical and emotional signals can offer insight as to how to keep our bodies healthy. These signals may not always seem clear, but with practice you can learn how to better listen to your body.


Emotional and Physical Signals

It is important to begin to recognize the signals your body gives you and what they indicate in terms of your health.

Signs can be emotional, meaning you may be feeling “sluggish” or fatigued. These signals could be your body telling you that you aren’t getting enough rest or nutrients. They also could be warning signs of a mental health issue. 

Signs can also be physical, such as pain. Pain may be an indicator that your muscles are strained or that it is time to seek medical assistance for a more serious problem. Physical symptoms can also include you feeling tense and like your heart is beating fast, which could possibly point to you experiencing stress or anxiety.


Taking Action

Recognizing these signs will allow you to think about what may cause them and how to create the necessary change. Learning to better recognize and manage symptoms can be beneficial, but it is also important to speak with your healthcare provider about distressing emotional or physical symptoms you may be experiencing. Consider making a list of what your body is feeling, and what it might be a reaction to, and share these things with your provider.


Resources and Finding Treatment